The Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party which recently surged in local elections in Germany has announced its Vice Chairman’s formal departure from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament. Beatrix Von Storch MEP has officially joined with the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group chaired by UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.
“I am delighted to join the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group (EFDD). By making this transition I am sending a signal, all the more clear in the run-up to the British referendum on their EU membership. The AfD and the EFDD (centered around Nigel Farage’s UKIP) are united in their demand for the introduction of national referenda as means of deciding on important issues. German people, just like the British, should be allowed the opportunity to decide on the EU and Eurozone membership in a referendum. The majority of the people should decide. This, after all, is democracy.”
The ECR was set up by David Cameron’s Conservative Party in 2009 following their departure from the heavily pro-EU European People’s Party group. But recent tensions with AfD’s hard line on mass migration has caused consternation and led to a suspension of the AfD from the ECR group. Today, the AfD said it was leaving.
“In light of the ECR leadership’s deliberately damaging behavior towards the AfD in the run up to the regional elections held in Germany on March 13th I no longer wish to continue our cooperation.
Ms. Von Storch added: “Following the order of Tory-leadership, the ECR Press Office issued an untruthful statement claiming the exclusion of the AfD Delegation from the group. ECR leader Syed Kamall has in the meantime begun to dispute my committee memberships. I was to give up one of my committees until this Friday. By leaving the ECR group I have anticipated the withdrawal of my committee memberships by the ECR. These events have irrevocably damaged what used to be a trustful cooperation with the group’s leadership. However, I would like to thank my many esteemed ECR colleagues for the friendship, trust, and collegiality. Our cooperation has always been good and constructive.”
“In the EFDD I have found a political environment best suited for my political work. We are united in our common fight for a liberal economic policy, civil rights, for direct democracy and sovereign Member States. Similarly, we reject restrictions on free trade through economic sanctions against Russia, and we oppose the creation of new blocks as a consequence of TTIP. Further, the EFDD, in contrast to the ECR, clearly rejects the acceptance of Turkey as a EU Member State.”
“It is with pleasure that I look forward to a fruitful cooperation with my new colleagues.”
Nigel Farage MEP told Breitbart London that he is delighted to welcome Ms. Von Storch to the EFDD, noting that it is the European group’s first German member.