Correspondent in Berlin
The anti-European and anti-foreign party Alternative for Germany (AfD), currently the first opposition parliamentary group in the Bundestag by its number of deputies, will soon be under surveillance of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s internal intelligence service, according to the head of this body, Thomas Haldenwang. The weekly “Der Spiegel” anticipates that, due to the growing influence it is gaining within the political party the most extreme wing, led by Björn Höcke, and after a two-year follow-up, the institution plans to monitor political training as a whole and the decision could be made in January.
The matter was discussed at the Interior Ministers’ conference held on Thursday, in which Haldenwang reported on the increase in weight in the party of his most extreme faction, whose influence would have increased dangerously. Some evidence of this increased influence would have been gathered at the recent party congress in Kalkar, North Rhine-Westphalia, where Höcke won nearly half the delegates. In just a few weeks, the match is likely to be declared as a possible far-right case. Currently, according to the internal intelligence report, about 20% of all party members belong to the most radical wing, which openly flirts with neo-Nazi slogans and that defends political principles of an ethnic nature. The confidential report states that “the party as a whole could be elevated to observation as a suspicious case,” so that intelligence agents could monitor the public and private activity of its members.
Relationship with Russia
This is leaked in the same week that the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has received in Moscow an AfD delegation, before which he argued that relations between Russia and Germany should be “rethought” and “reinitiated.” In a meeting with three AfD representatives, including its co-president Tino Chrupalla, the Russian minister stated that “not a few serious problems have accumulated, which continue to multiply” and also said that “we greatly appreciate your contribution to maintaining our relationship, that it must be rethought and reinitiated, as they say now, “according to the statement after the meeting and issued by the Kremlim.
«I admit that it has caused us no little surprise Berlin’s attempts to prevent his trip to Russia, attempts to raise obstacles and cause technical and protocol difficulties. Especially, of course, we have been surprised by the hysterical internal debate that this visit has provoked, “Lavrov told Chrupalla, who in turn shared the” concern about to German-Russian relations»And underscored AfD’s support for the lifting of European sanctions against Russia. “I am aware of how important relations with Russia have always been for us and this is especially noticeable after the sanctions against Russia and the countersanctions introduced by the Moscow government, which are causing great damage to our country,” said the co-president of AfD, which also referred to US sanctions against the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will supply Russian gas to Germany through the Baltic Sea. He told Lavrov that Russia is “a reliable administrator” and “this work must be completed, in the interests of the German economy and the country’s energy policy.”
It should be remembered that the German Police already placed under surveillance for the first time a regional federation of the populist party, because of its radicalism, last June. All AfD structures in Brandenburg, the federal state surrounding Berlin, were declared «a suspicious case Y surveillance object»From the intelligence services, as reported by the regional Interior Ministry. In this federated state, AfD came in second place in the 2019 regional elections, with 23.5% of the votes, and was subjected since the summer to the same surveillance as small groups or organizations considered as a threat to democracy or the Rule of law. Also last March, authorities placed the party’s most radical branch, “El Ala,” under surveillance on suspicion of extremism, leading to its dissolution.
Since then it has emerged that the intelligence services wanted to monitor AfD more closely, especially in the state of Saxony. According to information published by Sächsische Zeitung, the preliminary report justifying this measure has been completed and its results are already available to the Ministry of the Interior. To be declared of the extreme right, statements by its members or connections with neo-Nazi groups are necessary to prove it and three of the regional deputies would be in that case, including Jens Maier.
By the time surveillance is authorized, contacts between party members could be subjected to wiretaps, a procedure that has already been requested since, in September 2018, local members of AfD participated in riots in Chemnitz and “hunts abroad” called through social networks. The security forces then complained about the lack of means to prevent events like that.
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