Martin Sellner is calling for the “remigration” of millions of people from Germany. As a right-wing “Gefährder”, the Austrian could soon be stopped at the German border himself.
The German Federal Ministry of the Interior is examining whether an entry ban can be imposed on the Austrian Martin Sellner. The responsible Parliamentary State Secretary, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter ( Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD), is in talks with the federal states about this, as first reported by the magazine t-online. According to the article, this was discussed in a non-public meeting of the Committee on Internal Affairs last week.
Sellner, 35, was the best-known face of the far-right “Identitarian Movement” in the German-speaking world in the decade and was also its spokesperson until early 2023. He coined the term “remigration” to refer to the millions of people with a migrant background who should be expelled from Germany or Austria under this idea.
At the end of November, Sellner spoke at a secret meeting of the German far-right party AfD, right-wing extremists and donors in Potsdam. This was made public a fortnight ago by the Correctiv research centre, the information ultimately leading to sustained, nationwide mass protests against the right.
Entry bans and residence bans are usually imposed on foreigners from non-EU countries after they have been deported or expelled from German territory. The measures then apply throughout the Schengen area and are recorded in police search databases.
As an Austrian, however, Sellner can benefit from the law on the general freedom of movement of EU citizens and therefore also has a right of residence in Germany. This freedom of movement can be revoked for a limited period of time, but the hurdles are high. In 1991, German authorities imposed such an entry ban on the neo-Nazi Gottfried Küssel, who also came from Austria. Sellner is said to have belonged to the circle with which Küssel wanted to set up an underground militia.
This would not be the first time that Sellner has been banned from travelling within the EU: As a member of the EU (at the time), the British government had Sellner arrested and deported twice in London in 2018. He had wanted to “incite racial hatred”, was the justification.
The measure differs from the action taken against right-wing extremists, such as the annual “Lukov March” in Sofia (Bulgaria) or the annual “Heroes’ Commemoration” in Budapest (Hungary). There, German authorities impose travel bans on their own nationals based on the Passport Act. Left-wing counter-demonstrators were stopped at Berlin airport on the same grounds.
In a political context, this exit ban was first imposed by the then Berlin Senator of the Interior, Ehrhart Körting (SPD), on left-wing activists who wanted to travel to the protest against the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001. In a guest article for the “Tagesspiegel” newspaper a fortnight ago, Körting first raised the possibility of Sellner being banned from entering the Federal Republic of Germany.
Mehmet Daimagüler, the German government’s commissioner for antiziganism, also called for Sellner’s entry ban to be reviewed and sent a letter to the Ministry of the Interior on Tuesday. It states that the “Identitarian Movement” is an example of “efforts by right-wing extremist forces to establish an international, particularly trans-European network” and that its members should therefore be regarded as right-wing “Gefährder” (meaning a person who represents a danger to public security).
Speaking to “nd”, Daigüler explains his demand: “Freedom of movement for EU citizens in the Schengen area is a considerable high value. However, this must be weighed up against the equally high value of internal security and public order. If Mr Sellner is calling for the deportation of millions of Germans, this balance must be made to Mr Sellner’s disadvantage, Mr Daimagüler told “nd”.
In addition to the secret meeting in Potsdam, Mr Sellner is also said to have travelled to a meeting in the flat of former Berlin finance senator Kurth, recalls Martina Renner, the Left Party spokesperson for anti-fascism in the Bundestag. There he not only discussed the abolition of human and civil rights “with like-minded Nazis, fraternity members and conservatives”, but also collected money for it. “It is actually obvious to ask whether he should be allowed to do this without restriction,” Renner told “nd”.
After all, the authorities already have the right-wing extremist Austrian on their radar – and have apparently stored him in their INPOL wanted persons database: On his 35th birthday on 8 January, Sellner had to endure a 40-minute baggage check when crossing the border in a coach, reports t-online. He then took part in the right-wing extremist infiltration of the “farmers’ protests” by the “Free Saxons” in Dresden as a prominent speaker.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Martin Sellner and Götz Kubitschek (from right) on the fringes of the flopped “Europa Nostra” event in Dresden in 2018 (Belltower News).