The ECR Group in the European Parliament wants to get rid of its two German far-right members, following their controversial remarks about shooting refugees on sight.
When the leader of the German far-right party Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD), Frauke Petry, suggested in January that German border police should shoot at refugees entering the country illegally, her deputy, Beatrix von Storch, who is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament (ECR) went even further and wrote on social media that police should be allowed to shoot at migrant women with children in cases of emergency to stop them entering Germany.
Her colleague, and the only other MEP from the Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD), Marcus Pretzell, had already said in November last year, in an interview with the German news agency dpa, that “armed violence” was a possible “last resort” to defending the German border if the refugee influx persisted.
Such speeches have found resonance with some voters in eastern states that have higher unemployment rates and more active support for far-right causes than in the west.
They are both being expelled from the ECR, the official statement saying: “The ECR Bureau met this evening and has invited the AfD to leave the ECR Group before 31st March, otherwise a motion will be tabled to expel them at its next meeting on the 12th April”.