Parliament's Socialist grouping has praised the ECR group for launching a procedure to expel two of its members from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, after they suggested refugees illegally crossing the border into Germany should be shot.
Udo Bullman, head of the German delegation to the S&D group, said the AfD MEP's comments were; "Vile, dehumanising and reminiscent of the darkest times in Europe and Germany's past."
He urged the ECR group to take its actions a stage further and to, "look at the comments and actions of its other members - namely the Danish People's Party and the Finns Party."
S&D group Vice-Chair Tanja Fajon added; "The rhetoric being used by the far-right regarding refugees is increasingly violent and hateful - it must be challenged and condemned at every opportunity. From vile comments like those of the AFD and other far-right parties to more casual remarks on refugees, it seems that we are forgetting we are talking about human beings not animals."
Responding to the comments, an ECR group spokesperson told the Parliament Magazine; "We always made it clear that we are more interested in where a party is going, than where it has been. Both the Finns and the Danish People's Party have moved towards the political centre in their countries, which is why they have become integral members of the group."
The two AfD MEPs - Markus Pretzell and Beatrix von Storch - have until 31 March to voluntarily leave. If they do not comply, the group will vote on 12 April on whether or not to expel them.