No room in Germany? Far-right AfD politicians to meet in Poland

Lawmakers from Germany's far-right AfD party will travel to neighbouring Poland to hold a meeting at the weekend after German hotels objected to hosting the group, the party and media sources said on Thursday.

No room in Germany? Far-right AfD politicians to meet in Poland
File photo shows a previous AfD meeting in Bavaria in 2018. Photo: DPA

Some 70 of the party's 91 members of parliament will gather on Friday evening in the Polish city of Szczecin, near the border with Germany, said the sources, including a party member and an advisor who asked not to be named.

According to German media RND, there were several reasons the Alternative for Germany party decided to meet Poland, including less expensive hotel rooms.

But it was also motivated by several cancellations and refusals by German hotels to welcome the group, RND reported.

A gathering of far-right lawmakers had previously been cancelled in March after a hotel turned them down fearing what it called bad “publicity”.

READ ALSO: Could Germany's CDU enter a tie up with the populist AfD?

The Polish location will also probably allow AfD to avoid any counter-demonstrations, which often occur around their meetings and sometimes turn violent.

Fearing violence, the AfD had cancelled its gathering in Berlin after the European elections on May 26th.

Clarify party position

The anti-immigrant party was founded in 2013 and entered the Bundestag in 2017.

Its meeting this weekend is to prepare for the next parliamentary session and to clarify the party's position on several issues, including climate change which has become a major concern for voters in Germany as in other
European countries.

The Green party has taken the lead in recent opinion polls, far ahead of the AfD, some of whose members are climate sceptics.

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Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.