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May 25, 2024

Far-right coalition in European Parliament expels Germany’s AfD party following comments about SS soldiers

On October 14, the Identity & Democracy (ID) group, a far-right political coalition in the European Parliament, announced the expulsion of Germany’s far-right party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), due to controversial comments made about the Schutzstaffel (SS), the paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party during the World War II. The comments came from AfD member Gunnar Beck, who praised the courage of sales and civilian staff of the SS, sparking outrage both within and outside the party. The ID group criticized such words as a distortion of historical facts and dismissed AfD membership immediately. The ID group is now left with seven national parties from Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, and the Czech Republic. The expulsion marks the first time a party has been ejected from the group since its formation in 2014. AfD has been accused of stoking xenophobia and racism in Germany with radical remarks and controversial electoral campaigns since its creation. This action of ID party indicates an intention to distance itself from such rhetoric. It is unclear how this will impact the political dynamics within the European Parliament going forward. The removal of AfD could decrease far-right representation and influence within the Parliament.