Anti-immigration views continue to surge into European mainstream as the AfD holds party conference

Anti-immigration views continue to surge into European mainstream as the AfD holds party conference

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party will hold its conference in Augsburg today.

Petry, chairwoman of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany votes during the second day of the AfD congress in Stuttgart

Photo: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party will hold its conference in Augsburg today.

The two-day event comes after the ruling coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel held emergency talks this week as her bloc’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), rebelled by threatening to unilaterally turn back undocumented migrants from Germany’s southernmost border.

Historically accustomed to the fringe of German politics, the AfD recorded 16% in a recent poll—its highest ever result. Meanwhile, in other polling, the CSU’s popularity has dipped to 40% in Bavaria, which the party has dominated for half a century. The trend suggests the CSU’s worst ever election result is coming up in October. The CSU’s rebellion against the CDU and Merkel’s progressive immigration stance reflects an attempt to crowd the AfD out of their populist policy stance.

At today’s meeting, watch for a rehashing of existing policy positions—such as the immediate repatriation of all Syrian migrants—designed to force more extremist positions out of Merkel’s sister party, which would ultimately destabilise the ruling coalition with the pro-immigration Social Democrats.

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