The Alternative for Germany party (AFD) came in from the cold and announced its hardline attitude towards refugee policy. EURACTIV’s partner Tagesspiegel reports.
The AFD launched an “autumn offensive”, stepping into the debate that is currently raging over the refugee crisis. After the news that Germany expects to process 800,000 asylum application this year, Frauke Petry, the head of the AFD, predicted “a looming disaster” for the country and called for the “restoration of law and order” and “the protection of national security.” Starting this week, the AFD wants to erect billboards around the country criticising the “asylum chaos” and to discuss its six-point plan for “regulated immigration” at information stands.
At the beginning of the summer, Petry prevailed in a leadership dispute with Bernd Lucke, one of the founding members of the party. Petry, along with her deputy, Alexander Gauland, now wants an “honest debate” about the German asylum system and its impact on the country. They hope to garner votes from Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg in the 2016 state elections.
“It is self-evident,” that the theme of asylum will be one of the defining issues of the campaign, they said on Monday (6 September) in Berlin. Petry and Gauland went on to add that they consider themselves to be “democratic forces” that want to curb the growing strength of the extreme right, who have been boosted by the established parties’ “failed asylum policies.”
The AFD’s criticism of the government’s refugee policy is explicit in its choice of words: a “migration” is coming to Germany, a country that is “incapable of accepting and integrating so many people.” For Petry and Gauland, it is clear that “checks must be immediately reintroduced” on Germany’s borders and that applicants from safe countries and third countries must be turned away. The AFD wants to introduce a visa requirement for people coming from the Western Balkans. In the future, applications for asylum should only be permitted in the country of origin. If that country is affected by war, then asylum seekers will have to travel to the nearest safe country in order to register an application. “Asylum seekers will be turned away from our borders,” insisted the AFD.
Until then, the AFD’s leadership want a 48 hour-long, fast processing procedure introduced, in which the applicant’s origin and reason for claiming asylum must be demonstrated. As an urgent measure “to curb the number of applications,” the AFD wants applicants to be issued with non-cash benefits only. Cash payments should only be granted to applicants whose requests have been granted. Frauke Petry is of the opinion that asylum seekers receive the same amount in benefits in Germany that they would receive for working in their countries of origin. “That cannot be in Germany’s best interests,” she said.
Due to the fact that Germany takes in more refugees than European rules provide for, the AFD wants the German government to pay less money to Brussels, as a form of compensation. The government must provide “a duty of care for the German people,” demanded the AFD heads.