German opposition leader rules out working with far-right AFD

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen meets CDU leader Friedrich Merz in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's main opposition leader, Friedrich Merz, on Sunday ruled out cooperation of any kind with far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD)

"We don't work with the AfD," Merz, who leads the Christian Democrats (CDU), said in an interview on German broadcaster ARD Das Erste. "There are majorities without the AfD."

The pitfalls of joining hands with the far-right were underscored for Merz in July when he had to row back from comments suggesting he could work with AfD at a local level following a backlash from within his own ranks.

Founded a decade ago, the nationalist, anti-immigrant AfD recently reached a new high in a national opinion poll but the idea of cooperating with the party has been taboo for Germany's mainstream politicians.

Merz called for a U-Turn in migration policy, proposing a shift in asylum policies and an end to open borders, at least temporarily.

(Reporting by Maria Martinez)