Sunday, 24 October 2010

European far-right parties want referendum on Turkey in EU

Europe's far-right parties want an EU-wide referendum on Turkey's plans to join the current 27-nation bloc, the leader of Austria's populist Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, said Saturday.

Strache, who had invited right-wing parties from Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Slovakia and Sweden to a two-day meeting in the Austrian capital, told a news conference that the parties believed Turkey had no place in Europe and ordinary citizens should be given a say in the matter.

Europe would be "straying down the completely wrong path" if it were to admit "non-European countries" into the European Union, the far-right party leader said.

"That would be the end of the European Union. It would be the beginning of a Euro-Asian-African Union, which goes completely against the project of peace in Europe and must therefore not be allowed," Strache said.

Under the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which came into effect in December 2009, a Europe-wide referendum can be held if a million people in a "substantial number of member countries" call for one.

But it is not clearly defined what a "substantial number" would be, Strache pointed out.

Attending the two-day meeting were Fiorello Provera from Italy's Northern League, Morten Messerschmidt from the Danish People's Party, Bruno Valkeniers, head of Belgium's Flemish nationalist Vlaams Belang party as well as its founder Filip Dewinter, August Lang of the Slovak National Party, and Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats.

Other far-right parties, such as France's National Front, the Dutch FVV party of Geert Wilders, Hungary's Jobbik, Bulgaria's Ataca and Greece's LAOS did not attend.

The aim of the meeting was to develop new contacts, said Andreas Moelzer of Austria's Freedom Party or FPOe.

In municipal elections in Vienna on October 10, the FPOe saw its support nearly double to 27 percent fromm 15 percent.

Copyright © 2010 AFP

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