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German nurse accused of dozens of murders apologizes

Niels Högel is on trial for the suspected murder of 100 patients in two different hospitals. After his complete confession on opening day, he has now apologized to the relatives of his victims. A German nurse who is accused of having murdered more than 100 patients is being tried again by a court in Oldenburg, in the state of Lower Saxony. According to investigators, 41-year old Niels Högel intentionally injected patients with doses of medicine liable to cause cardiac arrest, so that he could then attempt to revive them and impress his colleagues. Högel's killing spree is one of the most serious cases of mass murder in post-war German history. On Thursday, during a hearing of the trial which began three weeks ago, Högel apologized to the victims' families, and said if there was anything he could do to help them right now, he would. "I am fully convinced now that I owe every relative an explanation," he told the court. "I am honestly sorry." He also said at the time of the murders, the killings had not affected him emotionally: "I didn't feel grief in that sense," he said. Germany's biggest killing spree The killings allegedly took place in the hospitals of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, two towns in Lower Saxony, between 2000 and 2005. The youngest of his victims was 34 years old and the oldest was 96. Högel was already sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for six other crimes, including the murder of two patients and the attempted murder of two more. After the sentencing, the police continued to investigate and determined that the number of possible victims was much higher. Investigators suspect Högel could have killed more than 200 people, but they fear they might never find out because many of the possible victims were cremated. Police have exhumed 130 bodies of people who died while Högel was on shift. Investigators discovered traces of substances like potassium, Solatex and Gilurytmal (medicines used to control abnormal heart rhythms) or lidocaine (an anesthetic) in the exhumed bodies. Investigators have described the case as "unprecedented in Germany" to their knowledge. Högel's admission of guilt On the first day of the new trial, Högel stunned the courtroom when he admitted to all 100 suspected murders. Högel said he had previously not spoken about the murders "out of shame" and because it had taken him a long time to come to terms with how many people he had killed. While he was working at the two hospitals, Högel had gained a reputation as a jinx because so many patients had to be resuscitated or died under his watch. The hospital in Oldenberg had tried to get him to leave and wrote him positive letters of recommendation, but despite the suspicious number of deaths, a formal investigation was never opened. Högel continued to kill even when he moved to the new hospital in Delmenhorst, where he was finally caught in the act in 2005. The trial is expected to last until May 2019.

Niels Högel is on trial for the suspected murder of 100 patients in two different hospitals. After his complete confession on opening day, he has now apologized to the relatives of his victims. A German nurse who is accused of having murdered more than 100 patients is being tried again by a court in Oldenburg, in the state of Lower ... Read More »

US welcomes German firms’ compliance on Iran sanctions

US Ambassador to Germany Grenell has welcomed German companies' decision to comply with US sanctions and stop business with Iran. Washington warned firms that do business with Iran that they could face repercussions. The US ambassador to Berlin on Thursday said he was pleased with the actions of German companies that had stopped trading with Iran after fresh US sanctions were imposed on the country. "We are very pleased that German businesses have decided to abide by the US sanctions," Grenell told the German news agency DPA in an interview. "German business leaders have told us unequivocally that they will stop doing business with Iran and will abide by the US sanctions," he said. "So we are very pleased that the actions of the German business community have been very clear." The US reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil this month after US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Trump claimed the deal was flawed because it did not include restrictions on the development of ballistic missiles or Iran's support for militant groups in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. Officials from the European Union and Iran have worked to create a new legal framework to protect companies that conduct business with Iran from US sanctions. While praising some German firms in his DPA interview, Grenell accused those still doing business in Iran of helping to fund terrorist activities. "If you are doing business with Iran, you are giving money to the Iranian regime, which spends massive amounts of money on terrorist activities," Grenell said. Firms running a risk Two rounds of US sanctions, the first in August and a subsequent one this month — targeting a broad range of industries and individuals — have been introduced, posing a dilemma for German and other European firms. Businesses that breach the US sanctions risk being hit by secondary sanctions, including being barred from access to the US financial system. Europe, China and Russia have criticized the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to which they are also parties. The JCPOA was signed by Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the EU and the United States in October 2015.

US Ambassador to Germany Grenell has welcomed German companies’ decision to comply with US sanctions and stop business with Iran. Washington warned firms that do business with Iran that they could face repercussions. The US ambassador to Berlin on Thursday said he was pleased with the actions of German companies that had stopped trading with Iran after fresh US sanctions ... Read More »

Do sanctions against Russia work?

The European Union is mulling its own Magnitsky Act — meaning more pressure on Russia. Time to ask what impact current US and EU sanctions have had on the creaking Russian economy so far. The Dutch government has held talks with EU member states aimed at establishing an EU sanctions regime against Russia based on human rights violations, which is known as an EU Magnitsky Act, adding to existing sanctions. "It appears to have momentum and is going forward," Bill Browder, who has campaigned for the legislation known as the Magnistky Act in the US, told DW. "If successful, this would have a devastating effect on Putin and his cronies because they keep a huge amount of their money and property in the EU." But will it? EU sanctions were established in March 2014 after Russia's encroachment in Ukraine and have been in force since. Reviewed every six month by the European Council, they are now in place until January 31, 2019, and include asset freezing, an import ban on items from the Crimea and Sevastopol and a ban on tourism to the same areas. The US State Department said two weeks ago Washington intended to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia. The US already slapped Russia with more sanctions in August following the March attack on ex-Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal in the UK. The intended effect is to exert pressure on the Russians and undermine President Vladimir Putin's ambitious foreign policy without damaging other global economies. Mixed effects Sanctions have knocked 6 percent off Russia's GDP since 2014, a Bloomberg report noted recently. The GDP of the "world's biggest energy exporter" is now 10 percent smaller than might have been expected at the end of 2013, before the Crimea crisis, it said. Lower oil prices have hit the economy, but sanctions are the "bigger culprit," the report said, adding that Russia's economy is over 10 percent smaller compared with what might have been expected at the end of 2013. Growth has been sluggish at 1-2 percent in the last two years. The International Monetary Fund recently predicted the Russian economy would grow by 1.7 percent in 2018 and 1.8 percent in 2019. Russia has done much to insulate itself from sanctions, but the government's forecasts of growth of over 3 percent by 2021 are in doubt. Western sanctions have played a key factor over the past four years, the study by Bloomberg Economics said. "Part of the gap is likely to reflect the enduring impact of sanctions both imposed and threatened over the last five years," Scott Johnson, an analyst at Bloomberg Economics, said. Inflation-targeting But the 6 percent gap is also due to other factors, such as the central bank's inflation-targeting strategy and the pessimism that has hit most emerging markets. ''In a short term, the impact of oil prices is much more important for Russia than any sanctions,'' said Sergey Khestanov, a professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) . Oil income makes up 40 percent of federal budget revenues and is trading at its highest level in more than four years. Russia has also been helped by the collapse in the ruble, which has boosted export revenues. Russian economy adjusts The Bank of Russia said this week it expected the impact of possible new US sanctions on Russia's economy would be smaller than it was in 2014-2015. "We are not willing to argue that all the negative effects [of possible new sanctions], which we may face, will affect us in a painless manner, and that it will not have any impact on the Russian economy," the director of the bank's Research and Forecasting Department, Alexander Morozov, said in a statement. "This is certainly not the case. But the effect cannot be overestimated since in most of the scenarios it will be much less than the one we observed in 2014-2015." Countereffects One side effect has been to induce the central bank to create reserves, making the Russian economy more stable after the Finance Ministry introduced a fiscal rule protecting the economy from fluctuations in oil prices. The other factor is of course political. Sanctions have so far failed to dislodge Putin or create much of a dent in his hold on power.

The European Union is mulling its own Magnitsky Act — meaning more pressure on Russia. Time to ask what impact current US and EU sanctions have had on the creaking Russian economy so far. The Dutch government has held talks with EU member states aimed at establishing an EU sanctions regime against Russia based on human rights violations, which is ... Read More »

Britain’s MI5 missed ‘opportunities’ to prevent Manchester terror attack

A parliamentary committee has criticized MI5 and London police for failing to adequately deal with Salman Abedi. The British citizen killed 22 people when he detonated explosives outside an Ariana Grande concert. The British parliament's Intelligence Security Committee on Thursday published a damning report on the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack. The report said British security services failed to adequately deal with 22-year-old perpetrator Salman Abedi's case and, as such, missed several opportunities to possibly prevent the attack. It also noted that security services did not heed suggestions provided in previous reports on terror attacks in the UK. "While it impossible to say whether these would have prevented the devastating attack on May 22, we have concluded that, as a result of the failings, potential opportunities to prevent it were missed," said British lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who chairs the committee. Twenty-two people were killed exiting a concert by American singer Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena when Abedi, a British citizen born to Libyan parents, detonated shrapnel-laden explosives. Shortcomings Security services, including the UK's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, and London's Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism unit, had flagged Abedi as early as 2010. MI5 also briefly investigated him in 2014, but did not recommend his case to a counter-extremism program. The report singled out both security services for not following up with Abedi after he visited an extremist contact in prison. The failure to monitor Abedi after the prison visit allowed him to "return undetected" to Britain after a brief trip to Libya, it added. The case was reminiscent of German security service's treatment of Anis Amri, a Tunisian national and failed asylum seeker who drove a lorry into a Christmas market crowd, killing 12 people and injuring dozens more. Amri managed to elude German law enforcement despite once being described as a security risk. Although he told a federal police informant that he "wanted to do something big" and could acquire an AK-47 assault rifle to commit an attack, a brief investigation resulted in him being deemed an "unlikely" threat. 'An attack is highly likely' Interior Minister Sajid Javid thanked the committee for the report, noting that "we will review and formally respond to it in due course." "Following the attacks, the government, police and MI5 undertook a series of rigorous reviews to ensure we are all doing everything we can to tackle the evolving threat of terrorism," said Javid. The UK's perceived terror threat level is currently defined as "severe," meaning "an attack is highly likely." It hasn't been lower then severe since 2014.

A parliamentary committee has criticized MI5 and London police for failing to adequately deal with Salman Abedi. The British citizen killed 22 people when he detonated explosives outside an Ariana Grande concert. The British parliament’s Intelligence Security Committee on Thursday published a damning report on the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attack. The report said British security services failed to adequately ... Read More »

Germany issuing travel bans to 18 Saudis over Khashoggi’s death

Germany is banning 18 Saudi citizens suspected of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi's death from entering Europe's Schengen zone. The government says it is also halting previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Germany has triggered proceedings to ban 18 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Europe's border-free Schengen zone, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday. "We still have more questions than answers in the Khashoggi case," Maas said on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Brussels, adding that he had discussed the decision with Britain and France prior to his announcement. The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries. It includes most EU countries and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland. A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency that Germany's privacy laws precluded her from naming the individuals. Arms sales on ice In another move in response to the killing, the German Economy Ministry said on Monday that it had halted all arms sales to the kingdom, even those previously approved. A month ago, Germany said it would not give the green light to any new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, but did not say what would happen with contracts that had already received approval. The decision to halt exports is likely to affect the delivery of 20 patrol boats that are already under construction in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Other EU member states, and notably France, have so far declined to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Saudi dithering Khashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. His body was dismembered and removed. Germany and the European Union have repeatedly called on Saudi authorities to clarify the circumstances of Khashoggi's death. Riyadh initially denied that he had been killed. But amid growing international pressure, it accused 11 rogue agents of carrying out the killing without its consent. Doubts remain however about the complicity of Saudi leaders. On Saturday, US media reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency believed with "high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered the killing. Germany announced it would stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in late October until the full facts of Khashoggi's death were "on the table."

Germany is banning 18 Saudi citizens suspected of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi’s death from entering Europe’s Schengen zone. The government says it is also halting previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Germany has triggered proceedings to ban 18 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone, German Foreign ... Read More »

Yemeni government confirms participation at peace talks

The government backed by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries has said it will send delegates to UN-backed peace talks. The last set of peace talks in September failed after Houthi rebels failed to show up. The Saudi Arabia-backed government of Yemen confirmed on Monday that it would take part in peace talks sponsored by the United Nations. The government also called on the UN to "pressure" Yemen's Houthi rebels to attend the talks without conditions. The announcement coincided with a speech by Saudi Arabia's King Salman in which he reiterated his country's support for the UN efforts to end the war. The Iran-backed Houthis have fought a three-and-a-half-year-war with the Yemeni government and an alliance of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia UN envoy Martin Griffiths is set to travel to Yemen finalize arrangements for peace talks in Sweden. Both sides had previously given "firm assurances" to him that they would attend. On Sunday, Houthi leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi called on rebel fighters to stop attacks against the Saudi-led coalition and said the group was ready for a ceasefire. Attempts to hold peace talks in September failed after Houthi representatives failed to show up. Fighting has intensified recently around the port city of Hodeida, sparking fears that millions could face starvation in the event of a blockade. More than 10,000 people have died in the war, according to official figures, but activists say the actual death toll could be far higher.

The government backed by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries has said it will send delegates to UN-backed peace talks. The last set of peace talks in September failed after Houthi rebels failed to show up. The Saudi Arabia-backed government of Yemen confirmed on Monday that it would take part in peace talks sponsored by the United Nations. The government ... Read More »

Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn arrested over financial misconduct

The Nissan chairman has been arrested on suspicion of falsifying financial reports. Brazilian-born Carlos Ghosn has rescued the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy over the last 18 years. Nissan Motor Company said on Monday it was moving to fire its high-flying chairman, Carlos Ghosn, from his post after he was arrested for using company money for personal use and engaging in other serious acts of misconduct. Ghosn, who heads the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, was arrested in Tokyo on violation of financial regulations including misreporting his income. Shares in French carmaker Renault plunged as much as 12 percent as the news of his alleged misconduct broke - Renault's lowest level in about four years. Nissan said the violations were discovered during an investigation over several months that was instigated by a whistleblower. Fall from grace Ghosn's arrrest has shocked the auto industry, and comes just five months after he narrowly won a shareholder vote at Renault over his 7.4 million euro ($8.5 million) pay package for 2017, after losing a 2016 vote. His compensation package was criticized by Emmanuel Macron during his stint as France's economy minister. The 64-year-old helped turn the carmaker back from the brink of financial ruin 17 years ago and turned it into a global powerhouse, pushing it into electric cars. The allegations also involve Nissan's representative director Greg Kelly. Strong resentment and disappointment Nissan's CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, said the board will meet on Thursday to vote on dismissing both Ghosn and Kelly. He identified three types of serious conduct: under-reporting income, using investment funds for personal gain and illicit use of company expenses. "This is an act that cannot be tolerated by the company," he said during a news briefing. The Nissan CEO said the scandal would not affect the automaker's alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi. "The partnership among the three entities will not be affected by this event, rather we will closely work together with all the partners to contain any possible confusion." Saikawa said the wrongdoing was serious and unacceptable and had gone on for years, without giving further details. "To have so greatly violated the trust of many, I feel full of disappointment and regret." French vigilance France's President Emmanuel Macron said his country would be extremely vigilant about the fate of Renault and its alliance with Nissan after Monday's events. Macron said that the French state, as a Renault shareholder, "will be extremely vigilant to the stability of the alliance and the group."

The Nissan chairman has been arrested on suspicion of falsifying financial reports. Brazilian-born Carlos Ghosn has rescued the Japanese automaker from near bankruptcy over the last 18 years. Nissan Motor Company said on Monday it was moving to fire its high-flying chairman, Carlos Ghosn, from his post after he was arrested for using company money for personal use and engaging ... Read More »

APEC summit sees China and US at odds over trade war

The Asia-Pacific summit has become the latest stage for the trade dispute between the US and China. Beijing called for consultations as Washington threatened more tariffs. The main protagonists in the US-China trade war set out their positions at the start of an Asia-Pacific summit in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping was first to speak and said there would be no winners from a trade war or a new Cold War. Protectionist actions were shortsighted and doomed to fail, Xi said. "We should say no to protectionism and unilateralism," Xi said, in evident reference to President Donald Trump's "America First" policies. "Attempts to erect barriers and cut close economic ties work against the laws of economics and the trends of history," Xi said. "This is a shortsighted approach and it is doomed to failure." The Chinese leader said the world should "uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all." Xi's comments follow months of a trade dispute between the US and China, with each imposing tariffs on the other's goods. "History has shown that confrontation — whether in the form of a cold war, hot war or trade war — will produce no winners," he said. He also called for a resolution to the dispute through consultation, in a spirit of equality and mutual understanding. US VP Mike Pence defiant But when US Vice President Mike Pence addressed the assembly, he said Washington would not back down in its trade dispute with China and could double its tariffs unless Beijing agreed to its demands. "We have taken decisive action to address our imbalance with China," Pence declared. "We put tariffs on $250 billion (€218 billion) in Chinese goods, and we could more than double that number." "The United States, though, will not change course until China changes its ways," Pence stated. Pence also attacked China's global infrastructure "Belt and Road" initiative, calling many of the projects low quality and saying it left developing countries with debt they were unable to afford. Xi had defended the initiative: "It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, it is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone ... nor is it a trap as some people have labeled it," he said. "Mankind has once again reached a crossroads," Xi remarked. "Which direction should we choose? Cooperation or confrontation? Openness or closing doors. Win-win progress or a zero-sum game?" The assembled leaders were from Pacific Rim countries, which account for 60 percent of the world's economy.

The Asia-Pacific summit has become the latest stage for the trade dispute between the US and China. Beijing called for consultations as Washington threatened more tariffs. The main protagonists in the US-China trade war set out their positions at the start of an Asia-Pacific summit in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit ... Read More »

In Yemen’s war, locals struggle to stay neutral

Ever more Yemenis are siding with the Saudi coalition or Houthis to safeguard a salary and a semblance of protection. But some are determined to stay neutral, despite the obstacles they face. Mat Nashed reports. On the morning of October 6, Rahab* was hauled away from a student demonstration in the heart of Yemen's capital, Sanaa. Like her peers, she was fed up with soaring food prices and a lack of basic services, so she joined the protests against the Houthis who control the capital. The violent militia, which belongs to the Shiite offshoot Zaidi Islam, crushed the demonstration within minutes. "When the [Houthis] took me, I thought I was never coming back [home]," said Rahab, a 20-year-old activist. "Most of the protesters with me were women. The [Houthis] released us at night, but only after we signed a pledge not to protest again." Civilians in Sanaa are trapped between the repressive rule of the Houthis and the indiscriminate offensive of the Saudi-led coalition. The latter seeks to dislodge the former and reinstate the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. But Saudi Arabia's war has caused millions of Yemenis to starve by restricting imports and suspending salaries of more than a million civil servants in Houthi-held areas. The Houthis are reportedly exacerbating the crisis by kidnapping people for ransom. To survive, more people are picking sides in the war to earn a living or secure an exit from the country. But Rahab and others refuse to do so, leaving them with few advantages and little protection. "There are many other women who escaped [from Sanaa] to the city of Marib and I think many of them will be part of the Saudi alliance soon. But I'm also against Saudi Arabia's aggression," Rahab told DW. Fighting to survive The war has brought Sanaa to its knees and Yemenis are divided over who to blame. Residents say the city barely has electricity, pushing most people to burn coal or rely on solar energy for power. Fuel is also in short supply, but food and water are scarcer. Rami*, 29, said that the Houthis and the Saudi-coalition are equally responsible for ruining the city. "I hate them all. There are hardly any jobs in Sanaa unless you have personal connections with a political faction," he told DW. "Civilians are starving, and I hear that many people are stealing to feed their families now." Fighting appears to be the only source of reliable income, giving Saudi Arabia an advantage. Several people told DW that the Saudis lure fighters away from the Houthis by paying in their own currency, which is much stronger than the Yemeni rial. But Rami says that he would smuggle himself into Saudi Arabia before picking up arms. For now, he survives by selling plastic bags to shops that sell khat, which is an amphetamine-like stimulant that many Yemenis chew. "I hardly make money, but I will never fight. People have to allow themselves to be brainwashed to fight, but neither my friends nor I can do that," said Rami. Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations in London, adds that people who are politically active have little space in Yemen to remain neutral. He says that false allegations can land people in jail and that the Houthis often detain perceived opponents. "People are putting each other in a box, so more people are thinking that they should just choose a side to get some benefits," Baron told DW. Neither the Saudi coalition nor the Houthis have attempted to safeguard civilians. As the former starves the country, the latter profiteers from the dire humanitarian crisis. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported that the Houthis are holding opponents and perceived opponents hostage in secret prisons, where many are beaten with iron rods, whips and assault rifles. Many of the hostages are journalists and activists who have little to no affiliation with factions in the war. "In almost all cases the families of victims were asked to pay a ransom to secure the release of their loved ones, but many of these people are already very poor," Kristine Beckerle, the Yemen researcher for HRW, told DW. "It's awful because the Houthi leadership knows that [hostage-taking] is happening and they can stop it if they want." Rahab, the activist from the demonstration, considers herself lucky that she was released so soon. But since she's been warned, the consequences could be more severe if she protests again. For now, she focuses on aiding her people, and says that her community trusts her because she doesn't belong to any political or religious faction. With winter coming, her main priority is organizing an online group of volunteers to donate and distribute clothes to poorer Yemenis. Despite her best efforts, she remains pessimistic about the future. "Children, women and the elderly are dying daily, and all sides are accountable for the bloodshed," she said. "The war is also taking a psychological and emotional toll on me. It's not easy to watch an entire society die."

Ever more Yemenis are siding with the Saudi coalition or Houthis to safeguard a salary and a semblance of protection. But some are determined to stay neutral, despite the obstacles they face. Mat Nashed reports. On the morning of October 6, Rahab* was hauled away from a student demonstration in the heart of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. Like her peers, she ... Read More »

AfD’s Jörg Meuthen aims to bring together populists in European Parliament

The co-leader of Germany's far-right AfD says his party will use European elections to unite populists across the continent. Jörg Meuthen told DW the party's key concern will be getting "migration chaos under control." Members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) selected Jörg Meuthen to lead their party's charge in European elections In an interview with DW, Meuthen explained what he hopes to achieve ahead of and after the May poll. DW: What use does the Alternative for Germany party have for the European Union at all? Jörg Meuthen: For supranational tasks. When we talk about wanting sensible border protection then it makes sense to protect the external borders of the bloc. There are supranational tasks concerning environmental policy and international trade. Take the internal market — it is an achievement because it is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Unlike what's often said about us, we do not damn the entire European Union lock, stock and barrel. There are also achievements. You want to create a parliamentary group in the European Parliament. Many say that will be a difficult task. How will you bring together different parties from different countries? What is the common denominator? Patience, lots of meetings and building trust. We have to be in contact with parties from several nations. That has been going on for some time and there have been many good talks and we will talk to other countries soon. What everyone is asking, of course, is how we will bring everyone together. Building trust is what has to be done and that happens at the personal level. And you have to be willing to compromise. US President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon has been touring Europe with a similar goal of bringing together populist parties. But he has avoided Germany. How are the AfD's ties to Bannon? I don't know if Mr. Bannon is avoiding Germany. As far as I know, he has spoken to [AfD politicians] Alice Weidel and Beatrix von Storch. It's not that long ago that he called me. But I do not think that Mr. Bannon will play a significant role in creating a parliamentary group or bringing together parties that others would call right-wing populists. We Europeans can do that fine on our own. If he starts a foundation that runs like a think tank, then that could be of interest to us as a place to stay in touch. But Mr. Bannon certainly will not play a role in the European elections. What three issues do you want to address in the European election? Getting this migration chaos under control is absolutely the most important issue. Second: introducing more democracy. We are the only party to advocate for direct democracy. That means a real policy of decentralization and subsidiarity — and in a serious way, not just as a catchword in speeches. That means taking away the unnecessary things from Brussels. Eliminating the EU's remoteness from citizens by putting things where they belong. We call it Swissification. As for the third issue, there will likely be a chance to bring attention to the problems of a common currency, which is why the AfD was started. An economic boom is coming to an end. I assume that in six months, or a year at the latest, there will be a clear trend toward negative development. And then the drawbacks will be much clearer, as they already are for the experts. We have to do something about that. Jörg Meuthen is co-leader of the Alternative for Germany party. He was elected the far-right party's lead candidate for the European elections to be held in May 2019.

The co-leader of Germany’s far-right AfD says his party will use European elections to unite populists across the continent. Jörg Meuthen told DW the party’s key concern will be getting “migration chaos under control.” Members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) selected Jörg Meuthen to lead their party’s charge in European elections In an interview with DW, Meuthen explained ... Read More »

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