Tuesday

24th Apr 2018

Reports multiply of Kremlin links to anti-EU parties

  • Strache posted pictures of the Moscow conference on his Facebook page (Photo: fpo.at)

Austria’s far-right FPO party has defended its relations with the Kremlin, amid signs of a wider Russian strategy to build ties with anti-EU parties.

The FPO leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, in a statement published on Tuesday (25 November), said “we are convinced of our neutrality and we do not get financial donations or credits” for the party’s pro-Russia politics .

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The statement comes after Austria's left-wing SPO party raised questions in Austrian media about FPO’s independence.

The SPO spoke out when Strache posted pictures on Facebook of himself and other FPO top men at a high-level conference in Moscow.

The Facebook posts include comments such as: “An end to the Nato-EU economic war and sanctions against Russia … We need and want no new walls in Europe!”.

The seminar - entitled “Ways of overcoming the crisis of confidence in Europe” - was chaired by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Other guests included Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov and a former German diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, who is also known for his pro-Russia views.

The Austrian furore comes after German tabloid Bild on Monday accused the German eurosceptic AfD party of being financed by the Kremlin.

It said - citing German intelligence “sources” and a strategy paper penned by a Moscow-based think-tank, the Centre for Strategic Communications - that Russia is selling gold to the AfD at below-market prices using shady middlemen without the AfD’s knowledge.

But Bernd Lucke, an AfD founder and an MEP, denied the allegations.

He told Bild: “If the German secret services really had such information, then they shouldn't tell me it via a newspaper. We have no indication of Russian interference. I consider these reports to be untrue”.

Bild also reported that Vladimir Yakunin - a Kremlin confidante and Russia’s railway chief, who is blacklisted by the US - hosted a friends-of-Russia conference at the Hotel Maritim in Berlin last weekend.

It says the guests included: another AfD founder, Alexander Gauland; Egon Bahr, from the ruling coalition’s SPD party; and two men from the neo-Nazi NPD party, Frank Franz and Sebastian Schmidtke.

The reports come after French far-right party Front National this week admitted taking a €9 million loan from a Kremlin-linked bank.

The emerging pro-Russia network also includes Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, one of whose members, MEP Bela Kovacs, is being investigated for receiving money from Russian intelligence services.

Tatjana Zdanoka, an MEP from Latvia's pro-Russian Latvijas Krievu savieniba party, is facing a similar probe.

Meanwhile, another Russian oligarch, Konstantin Malofeev, in Vienna in May organised a meeting with delegates from the FPO, the Front National, and Bulgaria’s far-right Ataka party.

Apart from criticising EU integration and defending Russia’s war on Ukraine, the parties regularly vote against Russia-critical resolutions in the European Parliament.

Ataka, the FPO, the Front National, Jobbik, and Latvijas Krievu savieniba also sent observers to separatist “referendums” and “elections” in March and November in Ukraine’s Russia-occupied Crimea and Donetsk regions.

They were joined by members from the Italian and Belgian rightist parties Forza Italia, Lega Nord, and Vlaams Belang.

Anti-EU far-left parties, including Germany’s Die Linke and Greece’s KKE, also sent members to monitor the votes.

Feature

Invitations sent out for next EU-Russia 'summit'

Putin is persona non grata in EU capitals. But he is likely to meet leaders in the margins of WWII memorials in January, amid questions on the suitability of his attendance.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Far-right attack migrants on Greek island
  2. Merkel defends accepting UN refugees
  3. EU commissioner plans Malta 'money laundering' inspection
  4. Survey: Half of high polluting farms receive CAP subsidies
  5. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  6. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  7. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  8. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  4. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  6. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  7. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight

Latest News

  1. Spanish navy makes bid for EU anti-pirate HQ
  2. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  3. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade
  4. Greenland votes with eye on independence
  5. EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists
  6. Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack
  7. European Commission proposes whistleblower protection law
  8. Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  2. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  3. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  6. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  7. European Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  8. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  9. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  10. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  11. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  12. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations