Friday

22nd Jun 2018

Focus

Far-right Austrian MEP withdraws from EU elections

  • The Austrian politician has been an MEP since 2004 (Photo: EUobserver)

Austrian MEP Andreas Moelzer, of the far-right Freedom Party, announced on Tuesday (8 April) he will quit the European election after making comments comparing the EU with the Third Reich.

“It is the obvious loss of confidence in my party that prompts me to do this,” Moelzer said, announcing the move.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

The governing parties – the Social Democrats and People’s Party – as well as the Green Party, the Jewish community and Austrian president Heinz Fischer had all demanded that Moelzer no longer run in next month’s EU vote.

The Austrian politician, who has been an MEP since 2004, had said the EU is in danger of turning into a “conglomerate of Negroes, where chaos multiplies through mass immigration."

He also compared the EU to Hitler’s Third Reich and was accused of having written a racist article about the Austrian soccer player David Alaba in his Magazine Zur Zeit two years ago. The article written under a pseudonym and Moelzer denies responsibility.

The controversial deputy underlined he is only withdrawing from the EU election campaign for the sake of his party.

The political storm is awkward for Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who has been trying to distance it from accusations of racism and anti-Semitism – not least because it could damage attempts to forge an alliance with other rightist parties in the EU.

Both France’s National Front and the Sweden Democrats criticised Moelzer’s behaviour.

Following a meeting between Moelzer and Strache on Monday, the party let it be known it was dropping the MEP.

Herbert Kickl, Freedom Party general secretary, said that Strache had made clear to Moelzer that such statements “were in no way acceptable and so were not compatible with running for such an important position”.

Kickl added that the party clearly distances itself from “national socialism and racism and considered itself a patriotic Austrian political force”.

National opinion polls suggest the Freedom Party could score around 27 percent in the EU elections and take first place ahead of the Social Democrats and the People’s Party.

Liberals expel Austrian MEP

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the liberal faction in the European Parliament on Tuesday expelled its only Austrian MEP Angelika Werthmann.

The political group took the decision after Werthmann announced she would run for the BZOe party in Austria, a rightist party, founded by the late populist politician Joerg Haider.

PR man heads Austria's Freedom Party election list

A 47-year-old PR consultant has taken over at the top of the EU election list for Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) after his predecessor, Andreas Moelzer, stepped down over racist remarks.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

News in Brief

  1. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  2. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  3. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  4. EU adopts posted workers directive
  5. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI
  6. May passes Brexit bill after rebels accept compromise
  7. Pope: populists 'creating a psychosis' on migrants
  8. MEPs want to restrict use of antibiotics

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us