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Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Today in Germany: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
The President of the French far-right RN party (L) and Maximilian Krah, Member of the European Parliament of the German far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party (R). The AfD has been voted out of the EU parliamentary group that it had been part of including the RN and Italy's League party among others. (Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP)

AfD party voted out of the EU's right-wing parliamentary group, police clear pro-Palestinian protests at Berlin university, German President says rough years ahead during ceremony for the Grundgesetz and more news from around Germany on Friday.


AfD to be excluded from the major right-wing parliamentary group in the EU Parliament

Germany's far-right AfD party was expelled on Thrusday from the right-wing Identity and Democracy (ID) grouping in the EU parliament after a series of scandals involving lawmaker Maximilian Krah, members of the grouping said.

"The Bureau of the Identity and Democracy Group in the European Parliament has decided today to exclude the German delegation, AfD, with immediate effect," said a statement shared by Italy's League party.

The head of the ID group had requested the exclusion of all AfD MEPs earlier that day, according to a document shared with the German Press Agency.

The ID justified the move by saying that the recent incidents involving Krah and the German party members "have damaged the cohesion and reputation of the group". The names of all nine AfD MEPs were included.

READ ALSO: French far right splits with Germany's AfD in EU parliament

The AfD's own leadership had on Wednesday banned its top candidate, Krah, from appearing at election events following his controversial statements about the SS. The party's former number two candidate on the European election list, Petr Bystron, is also not campaigning at the moment while he is under corruption investigations.

The European Parliament ID group consists of Marine Le Pen's French party RN, the Austrian FPÖ, the Italy's League party and The Dutch PVV.

An exclusion of the AfD MEPs would be mainly symbolic, as the parliament will not meet again until after the European elections in two weeks. At that time parliamentary groups may also be reconstituted. 


Germany marks 75 years of the Grundgesetz 

Ceremonies were held on Thursday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Basic Law or Grundgesetz.

With the assistance of the Allied powers, West German states formulated the Grundgesetz over a number of conferences in 1948. It fully came into effect on May 23rd, 1949. It was adopted by all German states after reunification in 1990. 

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the law "one of the best that Germany has produced".

However, Steinmeier warned that people in Germany faced difficult times ahead that would demand a lot from everyone, especially those in political positions. 

He said democracy in Germany was a success but was not guaranteed.

"After decades of more prosperity, more democracy, more Europe, more freedom, the success of German reunification, we are now experiencing an epochal transformation," he said, referencing how Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine had brought war back to Europe. 

He urged for courage to face the challenges ahead, saying: "We have to assert ourselves, with realism and ambition."

READ ALSO: German president decries violence in politics after attacks

Pro-Palestinian protests at Humboldt University stopped by police

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in the courtyard in front of the Institute for Social Sciences of Berlin's Humboldt University (HU) on Thursday. Activists also occupied rooms of the university in protest against Israel.

Per reporting by TAZ, it didn't take long for windows of the occupied building to be covered with slogans like, "Free Gaza" or "All eyes on Rafah." The protestors hope to force HU to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, cut all ties with Israel and stop "repression" against pro-Palestinian students and lecturers, according to the group's social media accounts.

HU management initially allowed the protest to continue until Thursday at 6 pm. However, shortly after 7 pm, police officers were called in to remove the occupation. At around 10 pm, police said the eviction was complete. According to initial reports, there were around 150 activists in the building. 

It came after the forceful removal of students at other universities holding similar occupations - including at the Free University in Berlin - sparked controversy.

READ ALSO: PODCAST - Merkel's memoir, Berlin university protest row and fascinating facts about Cologne 


Michael Schumacher's family win legal action over fake AI interview

The family of German former Formula One champion Michael Schumacher said Thursday they won a legal action against a tabloid magazine which printed a fake AI interview with the 55-year-old.

Magazine 'Die Aktuelle' had in April 2023 claimed it had an interview with the motorsport legend -- the first since he suffered a serious brain injury in a 2013 skiing accident in the French Alps.

Michael Schumacher

Former German racing driver Michael Schumacher throws a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game in 2023. (Photo by Quinn Harris / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

But the article headlined "Michael Schumacher, the first interview" in fact contained quotes which had been generated by artificial intelligence.

A spokesperson for the Schumacher family confirmed to AFP on Thursday that the legal action was "successful", but declined to comment any further.

German tabloid Bild reported on Thursday that the family was awarded €200,000 in compensation, an amount the family spokesperson did not confirm.

READ ALSO: Editor fired over 'tasteless' Schumacher interview

The publisher of the magazine had previously made a public apology to Schumacher and his family.

With reporting by DPA.




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