31 Jul 2023, 13:23
Julian Wettengel

Far-right AfD lead candidate for EU election rejects Green Deal

Dlf / Clean Energy Wire / dpa

The European Union’s focus on climate in all policy fields is unnecessary and the Green Deal should be abolished, Maximilian Krah, the German populist far-right Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) lead candidate for the 2024 EU elections, told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk (Dlf) in an interview. The European Union’s leaders had made climate policy a cross-sectional task, which had led to the creation of a lot of bureaucracy, the politician said. “We don’t need this dominance because it harms us,” he said, arguing that the Green Deal would lead to the deindustrialisation of Europe. “We fundamentally reject this climate policy with its priorities.” The controversial politician is a member of the European Parliament and was elected lead candidate at a party conference over the weekend (29 July).

The AfD has long rejected the science on human-made climate change, going against overwhelming empirical evidence. It says climate action only leads to high energy prices and a loss of industry, jobs and prosperity. In a draft for its 2024 election programme, the party even stipulates a conspiracy, saying that high energy prices are only the first signal of “green world rescue.” The draft says: “The deliberately brought about energy shortage is intended to produce a citizen helplessly at the mercy of the Brussels central state and dependent on monetary benefits.” The draft is subject to change, and the party’s final EU election programme could be decided at another meeting this week, or later this year. As citizens increasingly feel that the changes needed to avert the worst effects of climate change influence their day-to-day lives, climate policy has become more politicised and is set to play a major role in the campaigns across the EU for the elections on 6-9 June 2024.

The AfD – which the domestic intelligence agency Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) categorises as a “suspicious entity” – has surged in recent national polls in Germany to an all-time high of about 20 percent. BfV president Thomas Haldenwang told news agency dpa that while not all AfD candidates for the EU elections have been chosen yet, it was already clear that “people who have attracted attention in the past with positions that are not compatible with our free democratic basic order will be part of the AfD delegation in the upcoming European Parliament.” The draft proposal for the party’s EU election programme had called for the abolition of the European Union, but the party later said this was an “editorial mistake.” Krah said his party aimed for “a Europe of fatherlands” or “a federation of European nations.” Delegates at the party conference over the weekend voted in favour of the AfD officially joining the far-right Identity & Democracy (ID), an alliance that includes right-wing populist parties from several EU member states. Several AfD members of the European Parliament have been part of the ID group for some time.

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