The nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has backed away from plans to call for a German withdrawal from the European Union.
The AfD had planned to put a call for “Dexit” at the heart of its manifesto for May’s European parliament elections, with a pledge to leave the EU by 2024 unless the bloc is radically reformed.
But the pledge was watered down to a vague threat to leave if reforms are not made “in a timely manner” at the weekend, following the intervention of the party leader, Alexander Gauland.
The move comes as Marine Le Pen also turned her back on her past campaign for France to leave the EU, instead pledging to reform the bloc from within as she launched her National Rally party’s European election campaign.
The AfD shocked the German establishment when it included a timetable for withdrawal from the EU in the initial draft of its manifesto for the European elections.
The AfD has called for the EU to be recast as a “Europe of fatherlands”, and the original draft of its manifesto called for Germany to leave the bloc if the party’s demands for reforms were not met by 2024.
But delegates at a special party conference voted to drop the ulitmatum after an appeal from Mr Gauland.