Asselborn: Germany's AfD party "more dangerous" than extremist NPD

The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is "more dangerous" than the country's extremist far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn warned Monday, following election gains by the anti-immigrant party.

The NPD has been accused of advocating a racist and violent ideology similar to that of Adolf Hitler. The fringe party has been known to glorify Third Reich leaders and trivialize Nazi crimes. Germany's highest court is currently considering whether to ban it.

The AfD took an anti-immigrant, right-wing turn last summer, after the ouster of its more moderate founder, Bernd Lucke, who originally kept the group more focused on worries about the eurozone.

AfD leader Frauke Petry made headlines recently when she said firearms should be used at Germany's borders to keep migrants from entering.

The party is set to enter three state parliaments after elections on Sunday that were seen as a gauge of popular opinion on Chancellor Angela Merkel's policies to manage the refugee crisis.

"To be honest, I think that the AfD is more dangerous than the NPD," Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said, when asked about the election outcome on the margins of an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"Because it is known for a completely different, much more intelligent behaviour, but is extremely dangerous with the messages that it gives, messages that tear apart, not bring together," added Asselborn, who has been in office for more than a decade.

He said it was terrible to hear voices in the European Union's largest and most powerful country saying that it will not take in refugees.

The AfD is orienting itself against "the most basic humanity," Asselborn said, expressing hope that Merkel and other traditional political parties in Germany will not follow its lead.

"This is a party that focuses on egotism, that focuses on fear," he added. "I am convinced that Germany is so strong, so democratic that in four years' time, no one will know anymore what this AfD was."

Last update: Mon, 14/03/2016 - 19:25

More from Europe

Poll: 'no' vote at 54 per cent in Italian constitutional referendum

Support for a 'no' vote on Italy's upcoming constitutional referendum has taken a 54-46 per cent lead, according to...

German minister hopeful shunned after "liking" right-wing party

A German prosecutor tapped for a cabinet position in an east German state is out of the running after "liking" the...

EU parliament chief raises hopes of salvaging Canada trade deal

An embattled trade EU-Canada trade deal should be signed as planned next week, European Parliament President Martin...

Police suspect tear gas in London City airport "chemical incident"

Police said they suspected CS gas could have caused a "chemical incident" that led to a three-hour evacuation of ...

EU summit fails to break Belgian impasse over Canada trade deal

EU leaders ended two days of talks Friday with a failure to break a regional blockade to a landmark deal the bloc is...