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Germany and France’s Far-Right Leaders Mend Ties After Rift

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(Bloomberg) — Alice Weidel, the co-head of Germany’s far-right AfD, traveled to Paris to meet with Marine Le Pen, her counterpart in French politics, patching up a dispute between the two leaders.

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“We discussed many topics, particularly with regard to the upcoming European elections and our joint ID parliamentary group,” Weidel told Bloomberg in an emailed statement.

They’d fallen out after media report of a clandestine gathering at which the AfD or Alternative For Germany discussed a deportation policy with Nazi echoes. Addressing their disagreement, Weidel told Bloomberg that during dinner near Paris’s Arc de Triomphe she made sure to “categorize” the uproar on her own terms.

Read More: France’s Le Pen Questions Ties to German AfD Over Extremist Plan

At the end of January Le Pen had raised doubts over her own party’s ties to the AfD after the revelation that its members had attended the meeting where a proposal for the mass deportation of asylum seekers, foreigners with the right to reside in Germany and citizens who hadn’t “assimilated” was discussed.

The report provoked uproar and mass demonstrations across Germany — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his ministers were among those taking part in the protests. The AfD subsequently lost ground in the polls and dropped below 20 percent, although nationwide it remains Germany’s second-most popular party.

Read More: Why Deportation Talk by Germany’s AfD Stirs Protest: QuickTake

Le Pen has been trying to style herself as a moderate force ahead of the EU elections in June. Her National Rally party belongs to the same European parliamentary group as the anti-immigrant AfD. Le Pen had suggested she could leave the group after the publication of the AfD’s extremist plan.

Both right-wing leaders met in a Paris restaurant Tuesday afternoon, a party spokesman said. National Rally party leader Jordan Bardella also participated in the meeting.

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