AfD Applause

German Populists See Chance in Brexit

ARCHIV - Beatrix von Storch, stellvertretende Sprecherin des AfD-Bundesvorstandes, spricht am 29.11.2015 beim 4. Bundesparteitag der Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in der Niedersachsenhalle vom HCC in Hannover (Niedersachsen). Foto: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa (Zu dpa "Torten-Attacke auf AfD-Politikerin von Storch") +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Beatrix von Storch, deputy leader of the AfD, wept for joy when she heard the Brexit news.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The German populist party was formed at the height of the euro crisis. Now it is celebrating the first E.U. member state to make an exit.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch said she wept for joy when she heard the Brexit result.
    • AfD leader Frauke Petry warned that other E.U. countries could now also vote to leave.
    • The AfD was formed in  2013 by euroskeptics opposing the E.U. bail outs.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

The British decision to leave the European Union has been welcomed by Germany’s right-wing euroskeptic party, the Alternative for Germany.  “I wept for joy,” deputy leader of the AfD, Beatrix von Storch, told the Phoenix television station on Friday morning.

She said that June 23 was a historical day, and that the president of the E.U. Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, “would now have to take responsibility and resign, because their project has failed,” according to Ms. von Storch.

The AfD party leader Frauke Petry, who had herself studied in the UK, also welcomed the Brexit vote.  She released a statement saying that the vote was a “signal to the Brussels Politburo and its bureaucratic appendages.”

Ms. Petry predicted that other exits could follow. “If the E.U. does not finally leave the false path and the quasi-socialist experiment of deeper political integration, then other European peoples will follow the British path and take back their sovereignty. Further E.U. exits will follow.”

The British voted on Thursday on whether to stay in the European Union or leave it after 43 years of membership. On Friday, after all votes had been counted, the supporters of Brexit had won with just under 52 percent of the vote, according to an official statement by the authorities.  The results triggered massive falls in share prices and the value of the pound sterling.

“If the E.U. does not finally leave the false path and the quasi-socialist experiment of deeper political integration, then other European peoples will follow the British path.”

Frauke Petry, AfD leader

Björn Höcke, the AfD parliamentary leader in the state parliament of Thüringen in eastern Germany, called for an E.U. referendum to be held in Germany. “Now it’s time for the German people to choose freedom too.  I call for a referendum to be held to decide on whether Germany remains in the European Union,” said Mr. Höcke, a leading member of the right of the party, and added: “I know that the majority of German people want to escape from E.U. slavery.” Mr. Höcke interpreted the British vote as a “red card for the cartel of old parties trying to do away with Germany.”  What he called the “pseudo-élite in Berlin, which permanently betrays German and European interests, has to be completely replaced.”

Georg Pazderski, head of the AfD in Berlin, praised British Prime Minister David Cameron, who “showed class” by resigning.  “It would be good to see German politicians with such class,” said Mr. Pazderski. Like Mr. Höcke he also called for the German people to be allowed to decide if Germany should remain in the European Union.  “The Alternative for Germany is the only party clearly expressing this view.”

 

petry-getty pictures
Frauke Petry, leader of the AfD, welcomed Brexit. Source: Getty Images

 

The euroskeptic Alliance for Progress and Renaissance (Alfa), headed by the founder and former leader of the AfD, Bernd Lucke, also called for consequences.

The British vote was a “slap in the face for the hubris of eurocrats smug in the mistaken belief that they can run Europe in line with their own interests, bypassing the people who live there,” said the new national chairwoman of Alfa and Member of the European Parliament, Ulrike Trebesius.

These policies were inseparably linked with Mr. Juncker and Mr. Schulz. “They should both have the decency of British Prime Minister David Cameron and resign immediately,” said Ms. Trebesius. “They are substantially responsible for the biggest crisis in the history of the European Union.”

Dietmar Neuerer is a politics correspondent for Handelsblatt, based in Berlin. Siobhán Dowling contributed to this article. To contact him: neuerer@handelsblatt.com

 

 

 

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