EU Chief Urges Far Right to Rid Itself of Putin’s Influence

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered a sharp rebuke to far-right parties, including Germany’s AfD, ahead of the European Union parliamentary election, urging them to “clean up their house” and purge themselves of Kremlin propaganda.

In a heated debate organized by Politico on the future of the EU, von der Leyen directly addressed far-right representatives, highlighting concerns over their alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Her remarks came in response to accusations from the Danish Peoples Party’s Anders Vistisen, who suggested von der Leyen was leveraging support for Ukraine to consolidate power.

Von der Leyen’s comments referenced the recent arrest of an assistant to Maximilian Krah, the lead candidate of Germany’s AfD, on espionage charges, fueling suspicions of undue influence from the Kremlin. She called on far-right parties to address these allegations before casting aspersions on others.

The rise of nationalist, anti-immigration parties has prompted concerns about the spread of Kremlin-aligned narratives within European politics. As these parties seek to form alliances ahead of the EU election, von der Leyen’s remarks underscore the urgency of addressing potential external interference in European affairs.

Amid efforts by far-right groups to consolidate power and reshape the EU’s political landscape, von der Leyen’s stance reflects a broader push to safeguard the integrity and sovereignty of European institutions. As the election approaches, the EU faces a critical juncture, navigating the influence of external actors while upholding democratic values and principles.