Leading members of the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have expressed envy at Britain’s upcoming European Union (EU) referendum, confirming they want “every Member State” to have one.
AfD Deputy Chairman Beatrix von Storch MEP was one of the leading figures in the recent state elections that rocked the German establishment with substantial advances for the young party. She told the Sunday Express:
“I want every member state to decide what is better for them, and the only way we can really do that is to have a referendum, like the UK.
“Schengen has collapsed already. Under Schengen Europe’s borders are supposed to be protected. They’re not.
“A referendum is the only way German people can truly express if they want to stay in the EU, if they want to stay in the Euro, if they want to reform border controls to deal with the migrant crisis. They should be given a voice. They must be asked what they want.”
In last Sunday’s elections the AfD won 61 seats across three of Germany’s regional parliaments, coming second on 24 per cent in Saxony-Anhalt and scoring 15 percent to overtake Chancellor Merkel’s coalition ally — the Social Democratic Party of Germany — in Baden-Wuertemberg. Ms. von Storch called it “a huge success”. She added:
“Our success shows that the people are no longer supporting the politics of our Chancellor and all the other parties who back her.
“We are the only ones arguing that the only way for Germany to fight the refugee and migrant crisis is to close our borders.”
Despite the furore over comments Ms. von Storch published on Facebook regarding an armed response to illegal border crossings, she insists that labelling the party “far right” is incorrect. In reality, she said, AfD members are “social conservatives and fiscal liberals”.
“Our political rivals have tried to damage us by linking us to PEGIDA,” she said, “it’s the easiest way to damage a political party, especially here in Germany. But the people saw through this.
“The truth is that the ruling [Christian Democratic Union] is so left-wing that anyone who holds a position to its right is actually still in the centre. And that’s were we are, right of centre.
“We want to help people, of course, but we can’t have them all in Germany.
“When it comes to economic migration from within the EU, we think the free movement of labour is okay as long as people are working. We don’t think they should be allowed to come to Germany just to take advantage of our generous benefits system.”
Ms. von Storch suggested Turkish accession to the EU, which has now been tied to the ongoing migrant crisis, was something of a red-line issue for German voters.
“Ultimately, we must protect our borders. We must distinguish between migrants from refugees outside the EU and those form within.
“The EU sees Turkey as the answer to our immigration problems. Well, President Erdogan knows how to play the game, and he will try to accelerate the accession process.
“This can only garner more support for us as we are likely to be the only party to oppose this.”
Looking forward to the national elections in the autumn of 2017, Ms. von Storch predicted the AfD would still be rocking the boat by then, saying:
“I’m pretty sure the problems we are facing now will have only increased, and we will gain even more support as people realise that we are the only party with answers to the real problems affecting Germans.”