Monday

24th Apr 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".

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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".

Investigation

Les amis de Le Pen à la Trump Tower

En janvier dernier, la leader du Front National a rencontré des "gens assez aisés" lors d'un cocktail organisé dans l'immeuble appartenant au président américain. L'événement a mis en avant les relations de longue date du Front national aux États-Unis.

Voters 'change face' of French politics

Newcomer Macron and far-right leader Le Pen qualified for the presidential election run-off in a vote that pushed aside the two main traditional parties.

Russia threat triggers European military spending hike

Russia's annexation of Crimea in Ukraine has intensified military and defence spending throughout much of Central Europe, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

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