The Parliament's latest print issue is out

This month’s edition offers an in-depth look at the key issues animating the upcoming EU elections.

Maximilian Krah, the Alternative for Germany’s lead candidate for the European Parliament elections, suspended his candidacy and resigned from the party’s executive committee just as this magazine was going to print.   

Krah’s decision follows an interview with the Financial Times in which he said not all Germans who served in the Nazi’s SS paramilitary organisation were criminals. “Can you really say that because someone was an officer in the Waffen-SS they were a criminal? You have to establish individual guilt,” Krah told the FT.   

Those comments proved even a bridge too far for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, throwing a wrench into the far-right Identity and Democracy parliamentary group in which both parties sit. Le Pen, who has tried to appeal to the French mainstream in recent years, called for a “clean break” with Krah’s party.    

The schism comes as the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, and other right-wing national parties are poised to make record gains in the EU elections on 6 to 9 June, complicating an already tenuous alliance of Eurosceptic agendas.     

But as we report in these pages, the AfD was already under pressure – from the far left.    

Earlier this year, Sahra Wagenknecht, formerly of Germany’s Left party, started a political party – the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance – Reason and Justice, or BSW – that is courting voters who are anti-immigration, sympathetic to Russia, and frustrated with Germany’s mainstream political class. In short, the same voters AfD has been targeting.    

 “We want to make a serious offer to those who vote for the AfD out of frustration and anger,” said Fabio De Masi, the BSW’s lead candidate for the European Parliament.   

Even so, AfD is expected to garner 17 per cent of the vote when Germans cast their ballots next month, compared with seven per cent for Wagenknecht’s party, according to polling from Insa in mid-May.   

Expected gains by the far right have forced mainstream parties to consider alliances previously deemed unthinkable, while co-opting more hardline policy positions. Nowhere is that more evident than with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s centre-right European People’s Party, particularly when it comes to migration.   

“The perception of the right-wing surge is already driving policy solutions in Europe,” said Nathalie Tocci, director of Rome-based think tank Istituto Affari Internazionali.   

So, regardless of how many seats parties like AfD pick up in the wake of its latest scandal, has the far right already won?   

— Christopher Alessi, Editor-in-Chief