The NPD party has long railed against moving jobs abroad to Germany's low-wage and low-cost eastern neighbors. But the far-right extremists just got caught printing a party newspaper across the border in Poland.
Choice irony: NPD members have been buying papers printed abroad
Members of the NPD admitted on Wednesday that the party was having its nationalistic paper Deutsche Stimme, or German Voice, printed in the Polish town Jelenia Gora after German police discovered two Polish trucks loaded with copies of the newspaper.
The irony of the situation was not lost on members of the assembly of the eastern state of Saxony, which the NPD had called upon to discuss measures against foreign wage pressures. The far-right MPs had come up with the motto "Closed Borders for Wage Dumping," but were instead forced to explain why they themselves were taking advantage of cheaper printing facilities in Poland.
"Yes, we have a slight credibility problem," Holger Apfel, the NPD's parliamentary leader in the Saxony assembly, told Der Spiegel newsmagazine. "We want to print in Germany but no publisher wants to have us."
Politicians from mainstream political parties scoffed at the idea that the NPD could be refused access to German printing facilities. Saxony's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the party could take legal action if it needed to, but the incident just exposed the NPD's hypocrisy since "they accuse others of doing what they do themselves."
The matter might be nothing more than embarrassing to the far right, but scandal is nothing new for the NPD. After it dodged being banned by the government in 2003, the party bounced back even stronger and managed to win nearly 10 percent of the vote in a regional election in the eastern state of Saxony last September.
NPD poster calling for closing the border for wage dumping.
Playing on voters' fears of the eastward expansion of the European Union, the NPD raged against Germany losing jobs to countries where production and wages are cheaper. Since the EU expanded in May 2004 to include 10 new countries mostly from Eastern Europe, the NPD has argued no cheap laborers from Poland or the Czech Republic should be allowed to work across the border in Germany.
The NPD has managed to disgrace itself and the rest of Germany on numerous occasions since winning seats in the Saxony assembly. In January, the NPD deputies in Saxony's parliament refused to take part in a moment of silence for the victims of the Nazis during a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.
On Wednesday, Afpel, on the defensive over the Polish printing incident, said there was a "societal pogrom attitude against the NPD," in a clear reference to Nazi campaigns against Jews in the Third Reich. Such comments will only place the party further outside the political mainstream, but the printing-in-Poland debacle could also do considerable damage to the party's image in the eyes of its core far-right voters.