Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage says Germany should spearhead a revolt against Brussels as he joined a rally for the anti-immigration Eurosceptic AfD party.
Mr Farage said it was amazing that Brexit had hardly reared its head in debates between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her centre-left challenger Martin Schulz, the former European Parliament president who he labelled “a pro-EU fanatic”.
Speaking ahead of the 24 September election, Mr Farage said: “It’s all too embarrassing to admit that their beloved European project is now about to be exited by one of the big countries.”
He said he was at the Alternative for Germany (AfD) event at the “personal invitation” of his fellow European Parliament member, the AfD’s Beatrix von Storch, the granddaughter of Hitler’s finance minister Lutz von Krosigk.
Mr Farage told the rally he wanted “to get a proper debate going in the biggest, richest, most important and powerful country in Europe about not just the shape of Brexit but perhaps even the shape of the European project to come”.
He said Germany was the EU’s biggest economy and should “say to Brussels: look, the reason the Brits left is because you’re behaving so badly, you’re taking away so much of people’s freedom, liberty and democracy”.
Germany “hasn’t had the debate” about Europe and “about breaking the closed shop” of EU bureaucrats, he said.
Mr Farage said: “We managed to break it in the United Kingdom. At the moment Germany is at a point where it is very, very tough to break through.”
However he added: “I predict, in Germany, it will probably start in Bavaria.”
Ms Von Storch – whose party opposes “the United States of Europe” and wants Germany to introduce Swiss-style referendums – praised Mr Farage for “showing that doing the impossible is possible”.
The AfD rejects immigration and Islam and is on course to become the first hard-right nationalist party to enter the country’s parliament in the post-World War Two era and is now polling around five to 10%.
Its leaders have sparked outrage by saying German border guards should open fire on illegal immigrants “if necessary”.
They have also dubbed Berlin’s Holocaust memorial a “monument of shame” and suggested a Turkish-origin German politician be “disposed of in Anatolia”.
At Friday’s event at the Spandau Citadel, a 16th century military fortress surrounded by a moat, the AfD displayed a campaign poster that said: “For a Christian Occident”.
Mr Farage said that the AfD “have had their problems, as new political parties do” but added that “we’re on the verge of something very interesting happening” and that Germany “is about to get a voice of opposition in the Bundestag”.