Former EU ministers call for boycott of Austria
A group including former European foreign ministers has called for a boycott of Austria’s new government, referring to them as the "heirs of Nazism" while complaining about "silence and apathy" on the issue.
Published: December 31, 2017, 10:06 am
Politico reported that the letter’s authors has called on national leaders to refuse to attend meetings with or receive FPÖ ministers, and also urged politicians to “boycott” Austria’s control of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union next year, from July to December because they were “concerned” about the party’s “ideology of hatred”.
In an open letter published in French newspaper Le Monde on Thursday, former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell and other signatories urged European leaders to take action against the country.
Austria the only Western European nation with a government that includes anti-immigration politicians. The new Austrian foreign minister, Karin Kneissl, has called Jean-Claude Juncker a “Brussels Caesar” and a “Cynic of Power”.
Kneissl has also described the Pope as “dangerously naive” and condemned chancellor Angela Merkel for having acted in a “grossly negligent way” by letting in so many “testosterone-driven” young men into Germany. Her remarks have sparked outrage.
“Let’s not turn our eyes away: The heirs of Nazism have come into power in the new Austrian government. We are all concerned as we are all being threatened by the fatal ideology of hatred,” the letter reads.
Newly sworn-in Chancellor Sebastian Kurz formed a coalition with the conservative Freedom Party (FPÖ) after October’s election. The FPÖ had nominated six Cabinet members, including the leaders of the defense and interior ministries.
The first ministerial meeting in Brussels likely to feature an FPÖ minister is the 15 February education council.
Benjamin Abtan, president of the European Antiracist Movement (EGAM), and Socialist Bernard Kouchner, former French minister of foreign affairs, Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, directors of the Sons and Daughters of the Deportees of France, all signed the letter.
The radical call for a boycott of the Austrian presidency would mean a de facto standstill of the European legislative machine for six months since the rotating presidency is in charge of coordinating ministerial meetings and negotiations on legislative files.
Merkel’s dream of a United States of Europe by 2025 meanwhile is only supported by a small fraction of people across the continent, according to a YouGov poll.
Only 10 percent of Brits back the idea. Overall, less than a third of a people in 7 major EU nations want the United States of Europe.
In Germany, 30 percent or people are in favour, while 33 percent oppose the idea. In Denmark and Sweden 48 percent are against it and in Finland and Norway 56 percent and 55 percent oppose the idea respectively.
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