Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has praised his coalition partner the populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) for allowing him to implement a policy that is tough on anti-Semitism and pro-Israel.
Chancellor Kurz made the remarks in an interview with German public broadcaster ARD claiming: “On the subject of anti-Semitism, we have never had a government programme that speaks so clearly against anti-Semitism.” Kurz said that he would have liked such a policy in the previous coalition with the Social Democrats (SPÖ) but it had not been possible, Kronen Zeitung reports.
During the campaign before last year’s national election, the SPÖ was embroiled in a scandal accusing the party of hiring a man named Tal Silberstein to create anti-Semitic web pages which were then to be blamed on the FPÖ.
During the interview, Kurz was questioned about FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache who has been repeatedly attacked by the international press on accusations of anti-Semitism despite wanting to follow in the footsteps of U.S. President Donald Trump and move the Austrian embassy to Jerusalem.
Populist Party Leader: Move the Austrian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalemhttps://t.co/1rJ4zVKjTZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 23, 2017
The chancellor defended his coalition partner saying he was in favour of giving anyone a chance who could look at their past through a critical eye and insisted that he was only looking in a forward direction.
He also briefly commented on the German populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party saying that they were not like the FPÖ who have already participated in governments in the past.
When asked to comment on the fact Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had refused to partner with the AfD, Kurz said: “That is the CDU’s right.”
Kurz spoke about the migrant crisis and its effect on Austria saying the country was flooded “with people who have basic values that are not ours”.
“In these years, a lot has changed: in Vienna, the cityscape has changed, political Islam has increased – and we have to fight it,” he added.
German media has not been kind to Sebastian Kurz since he became chancellor with one satirical magazine calling him “Baby Hitler” and advocating for his assassination.
During his trip to Germany, Kurz also clashed with Chancellor Merkel defending his position against the redistribution of migrants by the European Union.