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Von der Leyen mocks Germany’s far-right AfD over scandals

In World
April 28, 2024

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mocked the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party’s European parliamentary election campaign launch, which has been overshadowed by spying scandals and suspicions of foreign influence-buying.

The AfD’s lead candidate, Maximilian Krah, sat out the campaign launch event on Saturday, less than a week after a top aide to Krah was arrested on allegations of spying for China.

Krah himself is currently the subject of a preliminary investigation by German prosecutors into potential payments from Russia and China, and whether any payments might have influenced his work in the European Parliament.

“First covered up by the board, then hidden by the board – how about the AfD finally coming out with the truth?” said von der Leyen on Sunday at an event for the youth wing of her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in the western German city of Aachen.

AfD leaders have decided to stick with Krah despite the scandal, but removed him from the programme for the party’s campaign launch event on Saturday.

Von der Leyen also hammered away at proposals from the eurosceptic AfD that Germany should break away from the European Union.

Doing so would come at an immense cost to the German economy, von der Leyen said, citing a study from the German Economic Institute (IW).

The IW calculated that a so-called “Dexit” (or Deutschland Exit from the EU) would cost Germany around 10% of its economic output, von der Leyen said.

Ursula von der Leyen, lead candidate of the European People's Party (EPP) and President of the European Commission, speaks at the 60th North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Day of the Junge Union. Henning Kaiser/dpa

Ursula von der Leyen, lead candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) and President of the European Commission, speaks at the 60th North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Day of the Junge Union. Henning Kaiser/dpa

Ursula von der Leyen, lead candidate of the European People's Party (EPP) and President of the European Commission, speaks at the 60th North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Day of the Junge Union. Henning Kaiser/dpa

Ursula von der Leyen, lead candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) and President of the European Commission, speaks at the 60th North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) Day of the Junge Union. Henning Kaiser/dpa

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