Germany’s main opposition leader Friedrich Merz said on August 27 that any form of cooperation with the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is ruled out, in contrast to his previous comments.
“We don’t work with the AfD,” said Merz, who leads the Christian Democrats (CDU), in an interview with German broadcaster ARD. “There are majorities without the AfD.”
“We have a clear position in the CDU. We don’t work with the AfD. Not in the parliaments, not in the local councils.”
When asked if that also applied at the municipal level, he added: “A no is a no. Also at the municipal level.
“We have to look for ways and we will find these ways,” he said.
On social media, AfD reacted strongly, asking what parties the CDU does want to cooperate with.
“As long as he refuses to work with the AfD for irrational reasons, he is inevitably dependent on the Greens as a partner, who have the majority of the media and public broadcasters behind them,” the official AfD account posted on X, formerly Twitter.
The AfD pointed out that the CDU is in favour of moving away from nuclear energy and blames the party for the high energy prices in Germany. “It’s nothing but hot air when Merz suggests that a CDU government would turn away from green politics,” it said.
“For decades, the CDU has failed in the task of emancipating itself from the red-green zeitgeist – now Germany is paying the price. Only AfD participation in the government will bring an end to the green [politics].”
Widersprüchlicher und unglaubwürdiger geht es nicht: In einem aktuellen Interview tönt CDU-Chef Merz, dass eine CDU-Regierung „alle stillgelegten #Kernkraftwerke wieder ans Netz nehmen würde“ – dabei war es die… pic.twitter.com/rXpdpwu9wY
— AfD (@AfD) August 28, 2023
The AfD is a nationalist and anti-immigrant party founded 10 years ago but is achieving record highs in the polls. Other parties refuse to work with it, as they deem the AfD a dangerous, far-right party.
But in his first summer interview in July, Merz had given the impression that he was questioning the party congress resolution to absolutely not cooperate with the AfD. He stated that in municipalities, working with AfD might be possible. That sparked a storm of outrage across the ranks of the party. Over the next few days, Merz had to engage in damage limitation.
Merz now says he felt he was deliberately misunderstood. He mentioned that his remark hadn’t solely referred to the CDU. The current strength of the AfD posed a challenge for all parties, he stated.
“The EU costs Germans a fortune, robs us of our national democracy, and is pushing us towards military involvement in foreign wars,” AfD MEP @BuchheitMarkus told Brussels Signal. https://t.co/npcNVpkZI9
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) June 21, 2023
Merz does seem to be moving somewhat to the Right as he has aligned himself with the demand from CSU leader Markus Söder to reintroduce border controls at all German external borders. “If we don’t achieve that, this society will implode,” he said.
„Deutschland ist ein aufnahmebereites Land. Aber es gibt Grenzen, wenn die illegale #Migration nach Deutschland so sehr zunimmt. Das individuelle #Asylrecht wird sehr stark missbräuchlich in Anspruch genommen, die Anerkennungsquoten liegen zum Teil nur bei wenigen Prozent.“ ™
— Friedrich Merz (@_FriedrichMerz) August 27, 2023