The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said on Monday that the Brexit vote was an example to follow for the EU’s most populous country.
“It is a model for Germany, that one can make a sovereign decision like that,” Alice Weidel said while also adding that it would address a “democratic deficit”.
Ms. Weidel said the party wanted to reform EU institutions to curb the power of the European Commission and address what she saw as a democratic deficit.
But if the changes sought by the AfD could not be realised, “we could have a referendum on ‘Dexit’ — a German exit from the EU”, she said.
Ms. Weidel’s comments put her at odds with the mainstream parties and the German public, which overwhelmingly support staying in the EU.
The AfD, which was founded in 2013 as a single-issue party opposing the euro, has played down its euroscepticism in recent years as it seized on anger over immigration, moving further to the extremes.
The far-right party is currently riding high in national opinion polls at around 22 percent, ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats on 13 percent and behind only the conservative CDU-CSU.
Its next big electoral test will come at the European Parliament elections in June.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Germany have turned out to protest against the AfD in recent days, after investigative outlet Correctiv revealed party members had discussed a mass deportation plan at a meeting of extremists.
The AfD confirmed the presence of its members at the meeting, but denied taking on the reported “remigration” plan for the expulsion of immigrants and “non-assimilated citizens”.
The revelations provoked condemnation from senior politicians and figures from civil society, including church bishops and Bundesliga coaches.
Scholz called on citizens to take a stand against the AfD, describing the deportation plan as “an attack against our democracy”.