Germany's domestic spy agency on Wednesday classified the youth organization of far-right party the Alternative for Germany (AfD) as an extremist entity that threatens democracy, as authorities seek to combat a widespread rise in extremism.
The classification comes after Germany late last year said it foiled an attempt by another far-right group to launch a violent overthrow of the state to install as national leader a prince who had sought backing from Russia.
Two of those arrested during a raid at the time belonged to the AfD.
Germany's spy agency on Wednesday classified two other organizations, the Institute for State Policy and "One Percent," as extremist entities pursuing aims against the constitution.
"We are doing everything to dry out the fertile soil for extreme right-wing violence," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement.
"The actors of the so-called 'new right' spread nothing but hate and discrimination against those who think differently, refugees and people with a migration background."
The spy agency said that the Young Alternatives wanted a society that was as ethnoculturally homogeneous as possible, designated migrants of non-European origins as fundamentally impossible to integrate and warned of the destruction of "organically grown European peoples."
In a March 22 post on Facebook, the group said "Germans are now right at the bottom of the hierarchy of victims in our society."
The new classification could have an impact on members' ability to be employed in the public sector or to get licenses for weapons.
The Young Alternatives said it was not surprised by the decision, saying the spy agency was "simply doing its job, which essentially consists of repressing the opposition," adding it would take legal steps against the classification.
Germany shifts to the right
The classification does not apply to the AfD itself, and Manfred Guellner of the pollster Forsa said it was unlikely to have a major impact on the party, which is polling at record highs of 15-17% as it capitalizes on voter anger over rising energy prices since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The party was founded in 2013 as an anti-euro party during the euro zone debt crisis but quickly shifted to the right, benefiting from fury with former chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy toward migrants in 2015 and over pandemic lockdowns.
It is now Germany's most successful far-right party since World War Two and is currently polling just a few percentage points behind the Greens and the ruling Social Democrats (SPD).
"We have seen that the whole discussions about extreme right tendencies have not hurt the AfD," said Guellner. "On the contrary, it has led to the party hoovering up the whole radical right potential there remains in Germany since the collapse of National Socialism."