Mario Voigt for TV duel with Björn Höcke | EUROtoday

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Mr. Voigt, after an trade of blows on Twitter about Europe, you challenged the Thuringian AfD chairman Björn Höcke to a public dialogue, which is now scheduled to happen on April eleventh. Why did you do this?

Stefan Locke

Correspondent for Saxony and Thuringia primarily based in Dresden.

My objective is to beat Höcke as a result of he’s a significant danger to prosperity and democracy in our nation. I’m a local of Thuringia, it’s about the way forward for my homeland and there’s a lot at stake. It is my deep conviction that it’s value combating and searching for a troublesome substantive debate with Höcke. He has to clarify what devastating penalties, for instance, the AfD's plans for Germany to go away the European Union would have for medium-sized companies and crafts.

Is this a change within the technique of your CDU in direction of the AfD – in direction of a content-based debate?

We proceed to distance ourselves from the AfD, our compass could be very clear. Essentially, it's about confronting Mr. Höcke straight. Because the stage has already had the alleged different for a very long time. It finds its viewers within the a whole lot of 1000’s on the Internet, in social and so-called different media, and there virtually in all places with out certified objection. I consider that Höcke needs to be introduced into the sunshine to be able to present the AfD with substance, as a result of 30 % survey outcomes for the AfD can now not be ignored.

Do you see a deficit within the debate with the AfD, each politically and within the media?

Given the survey outcomes, we will now not cheat our well past the AfD with sentences like “You don’t talk to Nazis.” This ostrich coverage of the previous few years has clearly not led to success; quite the opposite, the AfD has grow to be bigger and bigger. I don't suppose it's productive to maintain doing the identical factor and anticipating totally different outcomes. Of course I’m very vigilant, I’ve been to demonstrations towards right-wing extremism in Altenburg and Jena myself, I sense that many individuals are nervous. They need us to take a troublesome stance on the matter as a result of the left-wing outrage rhetoric is clearly not serving to within the struggle towards the AfD.

Do you will have particular matters that you just want to focus on with Höcke?

This will even rely upon the questions requested by the moderators. But basically we had an argument about European coverage on Twitter, and I assume that it’ll primarily revolve round that. What the AfD is planning on doing is damaging our nation, and I wish to make that clear.

There has been sturdy criticism of your plan, together with accusations of offering a platform for right-wing extremists. How do you take care of this, particularly because you describe Höcke as a “would-be leader” and his occasion as a “right-wing extremist group”?

As I stated: Anyone who confronts Höcke straight with criticism will not be giving him a platform, as a result of he has already had it for a very long time. Take a take a look at the polls, right here the primary is combating towards the second. Of course, this isn’t with out danger, but it surely is a vital activity for the democratic middle. I can perceive the essential reflexes of different events, however it’s nonetheless not useful when the events to the left of the middle stab the Union within the again in such an vital struggle. The current demonstrations have clearly proven that folks count on politicians to oppose Höcke and the AfD with all their would possibly. And then I ask myself: Where is the Red-Red-Green technique right here? I don't hear something besides the identical outdated factor, which clearly didn't work.