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Ex-EU Leaders Call for Boycott of Austrian Ministers

Ex-EU Leaders Call for Boycott of Austrian MinistersEx-EU Leaders Call for Boycott of Austrian Ministers

A group of former EU leaders called on European governments not to receive Austrian ministers from the far-right party and to boycott Austria’s EU presidency in the second half of 2018.

“Let’s not turn our eyes away: The heirs of Nazism have come into power in the new Austrian government,” read the open letter published on French daily Le Monde Thursday, Anadolu reported.

“We are all concerned as we are all being threatened by the fatal ideology of hatred.”

The conservative chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s new coalition government, formed by Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), has an anti-Islam and anti-immigrant stance.

The Signatories included former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, Canada’s ex-premier Kim Campbell, president of anti-racism movement in Europe Benjamin Abtan, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta and the veteran “Nazi hunters” Beate and Serge Klarsfeld.

Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) slammed the call as a “transparent maneuver” and a “last-ditch attempt of the united left.”

“No serious current politician will attach importance to these voices from the political past,” FPO’s secretary-general Harald Vilimsky responded Friday in a statement.

Kurz raised eyebrows last week when he said that the EU should consider “other ways—perhaps even back it militarily—to tackle the migration crisis” and formally end “failed” attempts at redistributing migrants across the EU under a quota system.

More than one million people have entered the EU irregularly since 2015, many of them fleeing conflict and extreme poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. However, Kurz, who served as Austria’s foreign minister, has been a vocal critic of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy to refugees, saying it challenges the fabric of European society.

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