WASHINGTON—Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statements today following the European Union parliamentary elections.
The elections yielded gains for far-right and extremist parties in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and the United Kingdom.
“Many of these parties openly ran on xenophobic, racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic platforms,” said Chairman Cardin. “At a time when we are already seeing increased incidents of violence and discrimination towards minorities in Europe, I am greatly concerned that the growth of these parties will only make the situation worse. This is a worrying trend.”
“The outcome of these elections sends the signal that it is OK to be blatantly racist. It is ironic that at a time when Americans have elected our first African-American President, Europe seems to be backsliding and becoming less accepting of its diverse population,” said Co-Chairman Hastings, who earlier this year co-hosted the first Black European Summit in Brussels to discuss minority representation in European politics. “This has potential ramifications for immigration, discrimination, and other policies in Europe, and could build a greater acceptance for anti-Semitism and other negative attitudes towards minorities.”