The anti-mass immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party may be threatened with expulsion from its European Parliament group after its leader said border guards should be able to use firearms against migrants as a last resort.
Frauke Petry, national leader of the insurgent party, said in a newspaper interview last month that any border officer “must stop illegal border crossings, and also make use of his firearm if necessary.” She continued that “no policeman wants to fire on a refugee and I don’t want that either. But the last resort includes the use of armed force.”
The comments generated a storm of outrage among Germany’s political class, but were supported by MEP Beatrix von Storch, who posted on Facebook that people who travel to Germany from Austria are not refugees and should have no right of asylum as Austria is a safe country.
She added that anyone who tries to enter Germany illegally is therefore an invader, and Germans had a right to protect themselves from such people.
Her comments caused further outrage, leading to her posting an update clarifying that she did not support the use of firearms against women and children, and that it was “highly unlikely” a situation would arise where a border guard had to open fire in any case.
However, Der Spiegel reports that efforts are now under way to expel it from the European Conservatives and Reforms (ECR) group in the European Parliament, a group founded and backed by the UK Conservative Party.
A spokesman told the magazine: “The ECR leadership has discussed the most recent comments and the subsequent clarifications. The group leadership has made it clear that shooting migrants is not acceptable.”
“The leadership will meet with Mrs von Storch to discuss the content and intention of her comments and then report to the group,” the spokesman added.
The spokesman refused to confirm or deny the party faced expulsion.
Despite winning seven seats at the last European Parliament elections, AfD currently only has two MEPs after five broke away to join the Alliance for Progress and Renewal (ALFA), founded by disaffected former AfD leader Bernd Lucke. The MEPs who joined ALFA are still members of the ECR group.
Breitbart London reported last week how the original comments by Frauke Petry led to Germany’s Vice-Chancellor calling for AfD to be put under state surveillance.
Sigmar Gabriel called the party “extremist” and said he wanted it to be monitored by the same group that tracks people deemed a threat to national security.
“There is massive doubt that [AfD] stand by the free democratic order of the republic,” he claimed.
The party has been climbing in the polls recently, reaching a record high of 13 points, a figure that could give it up to 70 seats in the German parliament.