Alternative for Germany party (AfD) board member Maximilian Krah will lead their European list. EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN


Alternative für Deutschland lead candidate calls for abolition of 80 per cent of EU ‘structures’


German right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has chosen Maximilian Krah as its “Spitzenkandidat”, or lead candidate, for the European Union elections next year.

Krah is a staunch Euro-critic and his nomination is causing concern within the German establishment.

On German radio, Krah said that the EU was a bureaucratic “monster” and 80 per cent of its structures and personnel could be removed. The AfD wants more self-government by nation-states. European cooperation would occur when added value is obvious, he said, such as when guarding EU borders and handling refugees.

In his eyes, the European Commission is too large and has too many subdivisions. Krah called for the abolition of the institutions dealing with environmental issues.

The AfD chose Krah to lead their EU candidate list at a party meeting in Magdeburg, in the Eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. He took 65 per cent of the vote.

Krah said on Twitter: “In response to climate, gender, immigration, and war, we will answer with prosperity, family, nation, and peace – and thus win this election!”

In a speech focusing on the “forgotten men and women” of Germany, Krah said: “We are now the most exciting right-wing party in all of Europe.” He emphasised the need for economic and cultural “change”.

Responding to questions on his views regarding the EU, he said cooperation was important. During the Magdeburg meeting, delegates voted in favour of the AfD officially becoming a part of the Eurosceptic group Identity & Democracy (ID) in the European Parliament.

Although some individual AfD MEPs, including Krah, are already members of the ID, the decision for the entire party to join may lead to added influence and funding.

Krah stated that joining ID was a “justified and rational move”. He emphasised his desire for the group to become powerful enough in the next legislative period to prevent any possibility of forming a “cordon sanitaire” – a policy of exclusion – against them.

In the European Parliament, Krah is a controversial figure. The ID suspended him for three months at the beginning of the year in relation to allegations that he manipulated the awarding of a PR contract for the faction.

He had also previously been suspended for several months in 2022. During that time, he was accused of publicly supporting the party of Éric Zemmour in the French presidential elections instead of Marine Le Pen from the ID-member party Rassemblement National.

Krah, a lawyer who has been an MEP since 2019, refers to these accusations as an “anonymous smear campaign”. Before joining the AfD, he was a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

All the EU candidates who head the AfD lists are associated with the most right-wing side of the party. The speeches at the Magdeburg meeting struck anti-EU tones. Head of the AfD meeting in the Thuringia region of Germany Björn Höcke stated on China’s Phoenix TV that “this EU must die for the true Europe to live”.

Christian Social Union leader Markus Söder has accused the AfD of becoming increasingly radical.

Thomas Haldenwang, the head of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, stated that the assembly in Magdeburg once again confirmed his agency’s assessment that there are strong anti-constitutional currents within the increasingly popular AfD. Representatives from the more moderate faction hardly played any role in Magdeburg, he told German press agency dpa.

Haldenwang cited the narrative of the so-called “Great Replacement” of Europe’s population as an example of right-wing extremist conspiracy myths he said were being propagated in Magdeburg.

The AfD is consistently hitting around 20 per cent in the polls, making it the second-most popular party in Germany overall, with only the Conservative Christian Democrats ahead of them. AfD is the most popular in the East of the country.