PES President calls for public debate with EPP President on how to confront the far right in Europe


21 Oct 2010


Social Europe & Jobs

Press release

21 October 2010

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) has called for a public debate with the President of the European Peoples Party (EPP),Wilfried Martens on how to confront the extreme right in Europe.


‘Cultural bogeymen are no substitute for honest economic answers’


Writing in the PES Newsletter ‘Red Alert’, Mr. Rasmussen said that; “We need a clear and open public debate to identify how we can tackle the rise of the extreme right. There are now too many countries in Europe where fear is the main currency. The road out of recession is about identifying and then implementing a fair recovery. Millions of Europeans are waiting for a positive message. We need the political will to provide that message. Cultural bogeymen are no substitute for honest economic answers”.


Turning to the European People’s Party (EPP), Mr. Rasmussen’s editorial continued; “We need a debate that focuses on the grave issues at hand, and not personal attacks .We see worrying examples of EPP Members running after and basing their governments on accepted support from the extreme right.  A debate between me and the EPP President would allow us to identify a set of clear principles about how to best tackle this threat”.


The PES has recently adopted a declaration, ‘Confronting the Extreme-Right’, which called on all European Parties to sign up to the action points therein.


The EPP, as they stated in their strongly worded press release of 18 October, had preferred to discuss responses behind closed doors.


Background: “The EPP saying one thing at European and another at National level”


Country: Germany
Party: CSU

Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer, head of the conservative CSU party, said on the 11th of October "It's clear that immigrants from other cultures such as Turkey and Arabic countries have more difficulties. From that I draw the conclusion that we don't need additional immigration from other cultures."


Country: France
Party: UMP

Brice Hortefeux, was appointed first Minister for Immigration, Integration, national Identity and Co-development. The fact that this ministry was created is seen as a nod to the Front Nationale. The Front National created the link between immigration and threat, but no one asked UMP to make it their own and take the initiative to create the Ministry for Immigration, Integration and National Identity, to the point that Front National are now actually accusing them of stealing their ideas, rhetoric, and voters.


Country: Hungary

Viktor Orbán, leader of the EPP Member Party has been accused of not distancing themselves from the extreme right party JOBBIK. Gabor Staudt of Jobbik outlined what they call public protection camps for the minority Roma population. Staudt said he wanted to remind Hungary’s ruling centre-right Fidesz party that all the countries represented in the European People’s Party have “already realised these ideas in the 21st century; just let me mention Sarkozy in France, Berlusconi in Italy or an appropriate example in Finland.”

The leader of Hungary’s opposition Socialist party, Attila Mesterhazy, had stated that “We find what Jobbik says unacceptable. I hope they don’t want to shut Hungarian citizens up in concentration camps. The worst thing is that the Fidesz government of Viktor Orban has not distanced itself from Jobbik’s xenophobic platform. It should.”




For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (