Sunday

26th Mar 2017

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".

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The Union under threat

The effect of Brexit will be much more profound on Northern Ireland than on Scotland. Some kind of border controls with Ireland seem inevitable.

'Mr Putin steps into French elections'

Putin treated France's anti-EU firebrand, Le Pen, as if she had already won the elections. "I have my own viewpoint ... identical to Russia's", she said.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change