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Voting far right is like giving Putin’s interests a voice in European Parliament

Date

25 Apr 2024

Sections

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In reaction to the Russiagate scandal – yet another example of the dangerous links between far-right movements and the Kremlin – the European Parliament today adopted a resolution firmly denouncing any attempt to advance Russia’s political agenda within the European Parliament (EP).
 
For the S&Ds, the recent allegations regarding “Voice of Europe” and the AfD party might constitute sanctionable behaviours under the EP Code of Conduct. If confirmed, this must be met with the firmest possible response. The S&Ds call for a thorough internal investigation in order to assess all possible cases of foreign interference from Russia and other countries in the Union.
 
Since the beginning of this legislature, the S&Ds have led the efforts to expose the links between the Putin regime and the extreme right, urging for actions to protect our democracy from malicious foreign actors. It was on our request that the European Parliament set up its special committee on foreign interference in 2020.
 
In this committee, reforms such as strengthening the resilience, integrity, transparency and accountability of this House have already been adopted, namely through the new rules on procedure and integrity, EU Ethics Body and anti-money laundering watchdog. However, the S&Ds are pushing for further reforms within the EP, as due to opposition from the conservative EPP not everything that the progressive S&D Group wanted has been possible. Unsurprisingly, AfD MEPs also voted against the stricter rules on transparency and integrity.  
 
Andreas Schieder, S&D spokesperson on foreign interference, said:
 
“Every week, if not day, brings a new revelation about far-right links to the Kremlin or other malign regimes. The Russiagate scandal is just another example of Russia’s efforts in trying to sabotage our democratic systems. We are outraged at the participation of EP Members in the pro-Russian media outlet “Voice of Europe”, which aimed to influence public opinion to undermine EU support to Ukraine. Now, we are learning about the arrest of AfD MEP Krah's assistant, on serious charges of espionage in China. What next?
 
“It should be clear for everybody now why the far right opposes stricter rules on transparency and integrity. And it should also be clear that a vote for the far right in the June elections is a vote for Putin’s influence in the European Parliament. 
 
“Putin has been waging hybrid warfare against European democracies for years, and – for years now – we have been sounding the alarm: The French Rassemblement National, the Italian Lega, the Austrian FPÖ, the Hungarian Fidesz and the German AfD are just some of the far-right parties in which Putin has found useful allies. It is not just about the money. Ideologically, these parties are directly submitted to the Kremlin’s agenda. Their aim is to weaken a democratic Europe, lobby for pro-Russian positions – the so-called Russian traditional family values – oppose sanctions and jeopardise European interests.
 
“And we, the S&Ds, will not stop pushing for more efforts and reforms to protect European democracy.”

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