Far-right a major threat to German democracy, says Chancellor Scholz

Europe
Tue, 6 Feb 2024 7:18 GMT
Scholz meets with representatives of immigrant groups amid growing concerns about popularity of far-right parties, increased violence by neo-Nazis.
Far-right a major threat to German democracy, says Chancellor Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday promised to step up efforts to counter racism and right-wing extremism in the country.

“Right-wing extremism is a major threat to our democracy and social peace. It wants to divide us, turn us against each other, and we will not allow that to happen,” Scholz said.

He made the remarks after a meeting with representatives of immigrant organizations, amid growing concerns about the popularity of far-right parties, and increased violence by neo-Nazis.

Scholz praised the contributions of immigrants to Germany’s economy, and expressed regret that more and more immigrants are uncertain of their future in the country.

“Almost one in four of us in Germany has an immigration background: 20 million women and men, work colleagues, schoolmates, neighbors, teammates from sports clubs, citizens who help out here and move our country forward — many of them for decades,” Scholz said.

“It is important for me to make it very clear here in the Chancellery today: We stand firmly by your side. We will not allow extremism and intolerance to divide our society. All 84 million citizens in our country have the same rights, everyone deserves respect, and that is what it is all about,” he added.

The Social Democrat chancellor once again thanked citizens who have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest the far-right AfD party, and its recently leaked plans for the mass expulsion of immigrants.

"This is an important sign for democracy and also for cohesion in our society. If there is one thing that must never again have a place in our country, it is nationalist racist ideology. That's why it's good that so many people are taking part in the rallies and demonstrating — many of them for the first time in their lives," he stressed.

Formed in 2013, the AfD gained particular traction in 2015 when about 1 million migrants and refugees arrived in Germany. Entering the Bundestag for the first time in 2017, it has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years since the Russia-Ukraine war began.

A poll published by the INSA polling institute on Saturday found that 20% of voters would cast their ballot in favor of the AfD, making it the second-strongest party behind the conservative CDU/CSU bloc, which has 30%.

Chancellor Scholz's Social Democrat Party (SPD) was at just 15% in the latest poll, while their coalition partner, the Greens, was seen at 13%. The junior coalition partner, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), was at 4%.

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