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20th Feb 2020

EU far right meet for Lisbon Treaty pow-wow

  • Vienna - the Austrian capital hosted the mixed bag of European far right groups (Photo: Wikipedia)

A clutch of Europe's far-right parties gathered in Vienna over the weekend to strategise over campaigning against the Lisbon treaty in the coming months.

The education division of Austria's Freedom Party invited their nationalist right co-thinkers from across the European Union, including the Danish People's Party, the Flemish separatist Vlaams Belang, France's fascist Front National and Bulgaria's extremist Ataka (National Union Attack) to a conference on the Lisbon Treaty on Saturday and Sunday (31 January-1 February).

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Philip Claeys, of the Vlaams Belang, described the pow-wow as a "meeting to organise the opposition of the national right parties to the treaty."

The keynote speaker was Karl-Albert Schachtschneidner, a law professor at the University of Nuremburg-Erlangen, who last year represented Bavarian Eurosceptic deputy Peter Gauweiler in an appeal with the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe to try to bring a halt to ratification of the treaty.

But the groups decided that they will not be sending anyone to campaign against the treaty in the second referendum in the autumn.

Ahead of the first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, left-wing and centrist No campaigners warned Jean-Marie Le Pen against coming to Ireland to support their side, saying his presence would actually push people to back the Yes side instead.

"We won't send people, We shouldn't interfere in other people's affairs," one attendee, Danish MEP Mogens Camre of the Danish People's Party, told this website.

"I don't want Irish people meddling in Danish affairs, and I'm sure they don't want Danes meddling in theirs. There was discussion of how to fight the treaty in each of our own countries."

Explaining the German professor's argument, Mr Camre said: "The predominant problem [with the treaty] is that it gives powers over the national political system to people from other countries."

"The democratic system is very clearly linked to the national sate. Democracy cannot exist if the politicians speak a different language from the people. They have to really know the culture of the people they represent."

Others at the meeting included Bruno Gollnisch of France's Front National, Dimitar Stoyanov of Ataka and the Pro-Koeln Movement from Germany.

Pro-Koeln, an anti-Islam campaign group, was launched to try to stop a mosque from being built in Cologne. Around a dozen spin-offs subsequently sprung up in other parts of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia in Dusseldorf, Duisburg and elsewhere, to combat the building of new mosques and the removal of existing ones. The movement has since transmogrified into a new nativist political party, Pro-North-Rhine Westphalia.

Bulgaria's Ataka party is most well-known in the European Parliament for the actions of Mr Stoyanov in 2006 while acting as an observer in the chamber ahead of the country's adhesion to the EU in 2007.

Mr Stoyanov sent an email to all deputies after the nomination of Hungarian Roma MEP Livia Jaroka as Parliamentarian of the Year, declaring: "In my country there are tens of thousands of Gypsy girls way more pretty than this honourable one. In fact if you're in the right place on the right time you even can buy one (around 12-13 years old) to be your loving wife. The best of them are very expensive – up to €5,000 a piece, wow!"

Italy's xenophobic Lega Nord (Northern League) was invited, but due to legal problems at the last minute was unable to attend.

Also in Vienna for the session were the Swiss People's Party and United Russia, the party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. "We had some hilarious discussions with the person they sent," said Mr Camre. "He believes we should all join a bloc with Russia against the United States, which is hardly our position."

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