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Why Europe isn’t worried by Austria’s right tilt (but should be)
18.10.17
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"Regardless of whether it joins the next Austrian government, the far-right Freedom Party was the victor in the country’s election last Sunday. Like Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, the anti-immigration party has built the theater in which the mainstream parties are now performing."

See: Why Europe isn’t worried by Austria’s right tilt (but should be) (Politico, link):

"Sebastian Kurz — the 31-year-old leader of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) — is set to lead a right-leaning coalition that includes the far-right Freedom Party. The last time Austria’s populists won more than a quarter of the vote and played kingmaker, in 1999, the other EU members isolated Vienna through bilateral sanctions. But what shocked EU leaders then is barely causing a stir now.

In part, this is simply because the inclusion of the far right is not as shocking as it was 20 years ago. Since then, governments across Europe — from Hungary to Italy — have turned rightward and a host of mainstream political leaders have adopted anti-immigrant rhetoric in an effort to keep the political fringes at bay."

Who is Sebastian Kurz, Europe's youngest leader? (Al Jazeera, link):

"He has steered the OVP further to the right. During the refugee crisis, he called for stricter border controls in Europe to discourage refugees from fleeing to Europe. He introduced laws preventing foreign organisations from financially supporting Austrian mosques, and said Muslims in the country should only be allowed government-approved German language Qurans. And he backed the "burka ban", which prevents people from wearing a veil that covers the face in public.

In essence, Kurz has positioned the OVP close to the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO)."

See: 'Concerned but not afraid,' Austria's Muslims react to rise of right (euronews, link):

"The far-right FPÖ has always relied on attacking Islam, whether in the person of Jörg Haider twenty years ago or more recently Norbert Hofer, narrowly edged out in the 2016 presidential election. During the past few months, though, the conservative ÖVP took a similar line.

Just before the election, as part of the new Islamic law, ÖVP pushed for enforcing a burqa and niqab ban, despite the fact that it will affect only some 0.03% of the Muslim population in the country.

In the race against the FPÖ – whose campaign slogan was “Islamisation must be stopped” – conservatives were vocal about protecting the country’s borders, fighting political Islam and limiting immigration."

And: In Election, Austria’s Nazi Past Raises Its Head (New York Times, link):

"An anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party won the Austria elections on Sunday, and its leader might form a government with a party founded by ex-Nazis.

So much for the hopes of spring that election results in the Netherlands and France hinted that the political tide in Europe had turned away from the far right. Last month, Alternative for Germany became the first far-right party to enter Germany's Parliament since World War II, winning 13 percent of the vote and 94 parliamentary seats."

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