Thursday

19th Jan 2017

Focus

PR man heads Austria's Freedom Party election list

  • Austrian flags: Vlimsky said black African, Turkish and Arab people are 'kulturfern' (Photo: Dmitry Shakin)

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.

Harald Vilimsky, who is a confidante of FPOe leader Heinz-Christian Strache, wants to focus on national issues but does not advocate Austria's withdrawal from the EU.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

While he is clearly against Turkish membership of the EU and has socially conservative views (he does not think same-sex couples should be able to adopt children), one of his main bugbears as far as the EU is concerned is the proposed EU-US free-trade agreement.

He said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a "prime example that the current state of the EU only serves corporations". Austria, Europe's centre for speciality meats, may now have to face "hormone-treated meat and chlorine-washed chicken", he said.

Vilimsky, who sits on the subcommittee of EU-affairs in Austria's parliament, is more nuanced on the single currency. He argues that only if the economy needs something "drastic" and the euro is not functioning properly should the country return to the Schilling.

Vilimsky started his political life in the early 1990s. His career took off in 2004 when he became secretary of the Viennese party faction.

Just one year later he was manager of the electoral campaign, coining the controversial term "negative immigration". In 2006 he became the Freedom Party’s secretary general in the National Assembly.

While Vilimsky has no political roots in the right-wing German Burschenschaften like Strache and Moelzer, he speaks very highly of some fraternity members, calling them "men of honour".

He has been known for some controversial comments once stating that black African, Turkish and Arab people are "kulturfern" ["distant from culture"]. He later revised the statement saying "It's a fact that African cultures are geographically and culturally remote. That doesn't mean that they are uncultured."

He has also made himself known among other right-wing networks in Europe. In 2008 and 2009 Vilimsky visited the "Anti-Islam Congress" by the extreme right-wing movement Pro Cologne Citizen's Movement [Bürgerbewegung pro Köln].

Vilimsky is intent on the FPOe winning over 20 percent of the vote, a goal he still considers possible despite the outrage sparked by Moelzer's comments which included calling the EU a "conglomerate of Negroes" and comparing it to the Third Reich.

Several national opinion polls suggest the Freedom Party could score between 23 and 27 percent in the EU elections and take first or second place, ahead of the centre-right People's Party.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Italy to hold 70% of Monte dei Paschi bank
  2. Nato hit by 500 cyberattacks every month
  3. Hundreds of migrants face German security review
  4. Outgoing US vice-president warns Europe on Russia
  5. German far-right party calls for end to WWII guilt
  6. First Chinese freight train arrives in Europe
  7. Europe has no vision, says Italian minister
  8. Juncker has 'slight doubts' on his group's convention idea

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. EU cannot copy Australia's offshore asylum model
  2. Brexit men launch anti-EU website
  3. Germany details its 'Marshall Plan' for Africa
  4. IMF predicts 'pain' for UK, as banks prepare London exit
  5. EP deal could help Tusk keep Council job
  6. UN struggles to monitor fate of readmitted Syrians in Turkey
  7. European space chief: Moon village is 'more or less a fact'
  8. May's speech was not a war declaration, Malta says