Former AfD activist to face legal action over exposé book

According to a Spiegel report, prominent figures close the far-right AfD are set to take legal action against former party activist Franziska Schreiber, whose insider account of the AfD was published this week.

Former AfD activist to face legal action over exposé book
Erika Steinbach (pictured) is set to take legal action against former AfD activist Franziska Schreiber. Photo: DPA

Former CDU MP Erika Steinbach and an ally of controversial Thuringian Björn Höcke are among those who are reported to be taking legal action against Schreiber, after her book “Inside AfD” was released on Monday.

Schreiber, 28, had been a leading figure in the party’s youth wing until she left the AfD just before last September’s parliamentary elections.

She presented her book on Monday, saying that “people can change”, and that she hoped to reach current AfD supporters.

Her book, published by the Europa Verlag, contained a number of dramatic allegations about the inner workings of the party, most notably that a member of Germany’s intelligence services had given advice to the party.

She claimed that Hans-Georg Maaßen, head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, had met with former AfD leader Frauke Petry and told her that the party could avoid observation by throwing out Höcke.

Steinbach and others, though, have taken issue with different accusations, Spiegel reported, and are taking legal action to prevent the sale of the book. 

Right-wing publisher Götz Kubitschek, who is close to Höcke, has disputed a passage in which Schreiber claims that the two men studied speeches by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels in detail, in search of “the formula that had lead to success in the 1930’s”.

“Franziska Schreiber is one of those people who thinks that they can easily sling mud at me and Mr Höcke,” said Kubitschek, who is reported to have sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Europa Verlag. “She should have checked the mud first.”

Former CDU MP Erika Steinbach, who now leads the Desiderius-Erasmus-Stiftung, a foundation with links to the AfD, also declared that she is looking into legal action, due to Schreiber’s claim that she had donated to the AfD as early as 2013.

“This claim is a lie,” Steinbach told Spiegel.

Further claims in Schreiber’s book include the allegation that some in the AfD were hoping for a terror attack on German soil, in order to turn the public mood against immigration.

The AfD is a “very, very dangerous party”, she said on Monday, and predicted that they would only become more radical in the future.

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Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin