Europe Tracker 23.08.2012

Algemeen Dagblad: The Dutch far-right Freedom Party (PVV) led by Geert Wilders has announced it would require that asylum seekers be sent to other countries such as Romania. There they would go through the process of acquiring a residential permit to make the country less attractive to potential asylum seekers. They cite Australia as an inspiration for the policy which had a number of refugee centers outside of its mainland.

Deutsche Welle: Since 2006 the German town Bad Nenndorf has been the host of the annual neo-Nazi marches, and initially the residents put up little resistance, preferring to ignore the participants. The residents are now taking a stand by placing themselves along the march route in order to provoke those on the march as they do not want to endure playing host to the extremists.

France 24: After threats of legal action by the French Front National (FN), Madonna dropped her swastika and Marine Le Pen photo montage from her concert in Nice which was her last in France. Lydia Schenardi, the FN leader in the Alpes-Maritimes administrative region, claims this was a wise move as one fifth of voters in Nice voted for Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election of earlier this year in April-May.

Ceskenoviny: In its annual report, the Czech counter-intelligence agency BIS has claimed that al-Qaeda sympathisers are targeting the young living in the West. “It has been impossible so far to exactly asses how successful this type of propaganda is, but in view of the growing number of isolated extremists, for whom the Internet was the main radicalising impetus, the number of similarly influenced persons can be expected to further rise”, BIS writes.

Israel National News and Jerusalem Post:The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has urged the Romanian government to demonstrate its commitment to fighting anti-Semitism by having a newly-appointed minister apologize for his Holocaust denial comments”. The newly-appointed Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Dan Sova, had previously been accused of attempting to downplay Romania’s role in the crimes, as well as the suffering of the Jewish people during the period. “Historical data shows that a total of 24 Jews were killed during the Lasi [sic] pogrom by the German army”, Sova said. “He went on to praise Ion Antonescu, Romania’s wartime dictator who was in league with Berlin and was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews, for protecting the country’s Jewish community”, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Analysis – Alex Pearlman for the GlobalPost: “As a rising tide of far-right extremism washes over the continent”, Alex Pearlman gives a rundown of the top 5 European countries currently struggling against the onslaught of far-right sentiment. ” A legislator from Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party made headlines last week when he was dismissed from the party and pressured to quit his position in the EU Parliament after news of his Jewish roots became public [...] But Hungary isn’t alone in its surging right wing. Here are five countries undergoing a rightist resurgence”.

Analysis - Murtaza Hussain for Al Jazeera: The collapse of the Euro could create a scenario of increased extremism. European ‘liberal ideals’ are being threatened by the far left and right “whose appeal was thought to be dead and buried”. Greece is cited as an example as its official unemployment figures of 20% may have contributed to their far right party Golden Dawn finally achieving electoral success in this year’s election.

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