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AfD could seek Brexit-style referendum on EU membership

 If Germany were to leave the European Union (EU) and the eurozone, it could “lose around 10 percent of its economic output,” the head of the Berlin office of the German Economic Institute (IW) told newspaper Rheinische Post on Tuesday.

Knut Bergmann said this would mean the loss of 400 to 500 billion euros (539 billion U.S. dollars) a year. As an exporting country, Germany would be “hit hard, and so would its citizens,” Bergmann stressed, adding that 2.2 million jobs would be at risk.

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) could seek a Brexit-style referendum on EU membership if it comes to power, according to AfD leader Alice Weidel. At the end of January, she applauded the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU.

“But if a reform isn’t possible, if we fail to rebuild the sovereignty of the EU member states, we should let the people decide, just as Britain did,” she said. “And we could have a referendum on ‘Dexit,’ a German exit from the EU.”

However, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned against Dexit. “That would be the greatest destruction of prosperity that could happen to Europe and Germany. Our country has benefited like no other from the European Union and the cooperation within it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) said: “A country as strong in exports as Germany needs open borders, a welcoming culture for foreign skilled labor and firm roots in Europe and the eurozone.”

If the European elections were held next Sunday, AfD would come in second with 22 percent, according to a poll conducted by Insa published on Tuesday. AfD has therefore doubled its support since the last European elections in 2019.

Germany’s co-governing party, the Greens, was the biggest loser in the poll, slipping to 10.5 percent. In 2019, they received around twice as many votes. The European elections will take place from June 6 to 9.

For several weeks now, demonstrations against right-wing extremism have been taking place in Germany. For 72 percent of citizens, AfD poses a threat to the country’s democracy, according to a recent survey by public broadcaster ZDF.

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