Thursday

28th May 2020

EU's far-right tries to capitalise on Paris attack

  • Other countries are calling for dialogue across all political parties. (Photo: yves Tennevin)

Far-right and populist parties in the EU are attempting to politically capitalise on the attack on France's satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Just one day after shootings that left 12 people dead, populist politicians in several countries have used the incident to promote their policies.

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  • Marine Le Pen said she would favour a return to the death penalty (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

France's Marine Le Pen, head of the anti-immigrant National Front, said that if she is elected president in 2017 she would seek to hold a referendum on the death penalty.

“I want to offer France a referendum on the death penalty. Personally, I feel that this possibility should exist", she told French TV.

The death penalty was abolished in France in 1981 and is banned by the EU charter of fundamental rights.

In the Netherlands, anti-EU and anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders published a video message on Thursday (8 January), in which he proposed "tough measures" as a response to the terrorist attack in Paris.

"The army has to be deployed to protect our [train] stations, streets and malls", said the far-right member of the Dutch parliament.

Wilders repeated his call to stop immigration from "Islamic countries" and proposed again the Netherlands should leave the border-free Schengen area.

"We have to de-Islamise our country", he added.

Germany's anti-Islamism Pegida movement, which organises "evening strolls" through several German cities on Mondays, said the Paris attack highlighted the Islamist threat.

"This bloodbath proves wrong those who laughed or ignored the fears of so many people about a looming danger of Islamism," said a regional leader for the anti-euro AfD party, Alexander Gauland.

"This gives new clout to Pegida demands."

Nigel Farage, head of Britain's anti-EU Ukip party, said a “fifth column” in European countries was responsible for the Charlie Hebdo terrorist shootings.

"We in Britain, and I’ve seen some evidence of this in other countries too, have a really rather gross policy of multiculturalism," he told LBC Radio.

"By that, what I mean is that we’ve encouraged people from other cultures to remain within those cultures and not integrate fully within our communities."

Mainstream politicians, by contrast, have stressed that the Paris shootings, allegedly conducted by Islamic extremists, have nothing to do with Islam.

Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said: "It is immensely important to underscore that difference on a day like today."

“The cause of this terrorism is the terrorists themselves. They must be found, they must be confronted, they must be punished," said UK prime minister David Cameron.

Other countries are calling for dialogue across all political parties.

Danish radio will on Thursday evening host a debate between political parties - something that normally happens only during election campaigns - to discuss freedom of expression and democracy following the Paris attack.

The European Commission has also said it intends to propose a new programme to fight terrorism.

President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday said it would be announced in the "weeks to come", adding "we are going to examine the quality of co-operation between member states."

The EU has spoken about anti-terrorism initiatives in the past, but discussions regularly founder on a lack of willingness by member states to share intelligence.

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