The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) is "more dangerous" than the country's extremist far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn warned Monday, following election gains by the anti-immigrant party.
The NPD has been accused of advocating a racist and violent ideology similar to that of Adolf Hitler. The fringe party has been known to glorify Third Reich leaders and trivialize Nazi crimes. Germany's highest court is currently considering whether to ban it.
The AfD took an anti-immigrant, right-wing turn last summer, after the ouster of its more moderate founder, Bernd Lucke, who originally kept the group more focused on worries about the eurozone.
AfD leader Frauke Petry made headlines recently when she said firearms should be used at Germany's borders to keep migrants from entering.
The party is set to enter three state parliaments after elections on Sunday that were seen as a gauge of popular opinion on Chancellor Angela Merkel's policies to manage the refugee crisis.
"To be honest, I think that the AfD is more dangerous than the NPD," Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said, when asked about the election outcome on the margins of an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.
"Because it is known for a completely different, much more intelligent behaviour, but is extremely dangerous with the messages that it gives, messages that tear apart, not bring together," added Asselborn, who has been in office for more than a decade.
He said it was terrible to hear voices in the European Union's largest and most powerful country saying that it will not take in refugees.
The AfD is orienting itself against "the most basic humanity," Asselborn said, expressing hope that Merkel and other traditional political parties in Germany will not follow its lead.
"This is a party that focuses on egotism, that focuses on fear," he added. "I am convinced that Germany is so strong, so democratic that in four years' time, no one will know anymore what this AfD was."