Thursday

5th May 2016

Austrian President calls on race row MEP to stand down

Austrian President Heinz Fischer has waded into the race row engulfing the far-right Freedom party, calling on the party's top candidate to withdraw from next month's European elections because of racist comments.

Andreas Moelzer, an MEP since 2004, said at a Freedom party event last month that the European Union was in danger of becoming a "conglomerate of Negroes" and added that it made Hitler's Nazi Germany look "informal and liberal".

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.

Speaking on Monday (7 April), Fischer said that Moelzer should step down and that his remarks were "out of place in the European Parliament".

Moelzer, who is currently the top candidate in the Freedom Party list, has since apologised for his comments, although he claims not to remember making the first remarks.

Opinion polls for the May elections currently put the Freedom party in a near dead-heat with the centre-right People's party and the social democrats on between 20-22 percent of the vote.

Moelzer's comments are particularly embarrassing at a time where far-right parties are making studious attempts to distance themselves from accusations of racism.

The Freedom party is bidding to form an alliance led by Marine Le Pen's National Front, Gert Wilders' Dutch Freedom party and Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang, together with other groups such as the Sweden Democrats.

Kent Ekeroth, a national MP for the Sweden Democrats, has also joined the condemnation of Moelzer, telling a national newspaper that "this outrage cannot be tolerated".

However, Moelzer's fate may be decided at a meeting of his party bosses on Wednesday (9 April).

"There will be a personal talk between me and Andreas Moelzer and of course we will have to evaluate and judge the many accusations," said Heinz-Christian Strache.

He added that "everybody in the FPO community has to pay particular attention to the vocabulary they use".

Analysis

How the EU helped erode Turkish democracy

By neglecting Turkey for years and by failing to find its own solution on refugees the EU lost leverage on Turkey and finds itself played "like a yoyo" by its hardman leader.

Feature

Renzi's chance to act like a grown-up

With other EU states busy on internal issues, the Italian PM sees a chance to push his vision of Europe. Friday's Papal visit by EU leaders will showcase the new Renzi.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppetiersBrexit Could Increase Support for Independence in Pro-EU Scotland
  2. European Music CouncilRegister Now for the 6th European Forum on Music in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016
  3. Belgrade Security ForumJoin Our Team for the 6th Belgrade Security Forum. Apply Now! Deadline May 20
  4. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsCompanies Make Progress on Number of Women in Leadership Roles
  5. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  6. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  7. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  8. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  9. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  10. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  11. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs