Publicerad 2016-04-14 11:54
An European association of fascist and nazi politicians is receiving hundreds of thousands of euros in funding from the EU – in spite of a recent tightening of rules meant to prevent such aid going to anti-democratic groups.
In 2014, the European Parliament tightened up its rules governing funding for European-level political parties. The aim was to prevent economic support going to parties that contravene the EU’s fundamental human rights principles. In particular, politicians claimed the new rules would deprive the European political party Alliance of European National Movements (AENM) of the EU funding they were receiving.
But in spite of the new rules, the European Parliament this January granted some €400,000 to the far-right European political party ”Alliance for Peace and Freedom” (APF).
Fascist ideologue with a terror conviction
The APF is an association of European nazis, fascists and Holocaust deniers. Their chairman is Roberto Fiore, a terror convict and veteran of the European far right. In the 1980s, he and his group Terza Posizione were linked to the Italian fascist terror organization NAR, Armed Revolutionary Nuclei.
The organization carried out a number of terror attacks in Italy. In 1980, NAR blew up a railway station, killing upwards of 100 people and injuring some 200. After the attack, Fiore fled to the United Kingdom. He was tried and convicted in absentia in Italy and sentenced to nine years in prison for organizing an armed group.
Fiore evaded justice, returning to Italy only in 1999 once the statute of limitations for his crimes had expired. He then founded the fascist party Forza Nuova, of which he is still the leader.
Secretary general: Swedish nazi
The Swedish nazi Stefan Jacobsson is secretary general of the APF. Previously, he led the nazi Svenskarnas parti (Party of the Swedes) and has a long history in the white supremacy movement. In the early 2000s, he held a leading position within the militant nazi Svenska motståndsrörelsen (Swedish Resistance Movement).
Stefan Jacobsson has praised the American nazi terror network The Order. Several members of that terror group murdered political opponents and Jews before being arrested in the biggest American police operation since the assassination of president John F Kennedy.
Also in the APF are politicians from the Greek nazi party Golden Dawn, whose leadership is currently on trial in Greece on charges of establishing a criminal organization. The party has been linked to murder, and to a number of attacks on political opponents and against migrants.
The executive board of the APF also includes a representative of the German far-right party NPD, which is currently under investigation in Germany. The party may end up banned due to Germany’s prohibition against nazi groups.
Also on the board of the APF is Daniel Carlsen, leader of the Danish nazi Party of the Danes.
Ex-leader of British National Party
The United Kingdom is represented by Nick Griffin. He is one of two deputy chairmen of the APF. Notorious for spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories, the ex-leader of the British National Party is also noteworthy for being one of the reasons the EU tightened its rules for funding European political parties in 2014.
Nick Griffin joined the Alliance for European National Movements (AENM) in 2014. That same year, the European Parliament changed its rules governing which political associations have the right to claim funding from the EU. The aim of the rules change was to dry up the funding for European political parties that violate the EU’s fundamental human rights principles.
European political parties are subject to EU law. In order to get EU funding they must abide by Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union which sets out the Union’s fundamental values of respect for human rights, democracy, human dignity, freedom, equality and minorities’ rights.
Support for Assad and for Russia
The APF has had dealings with top officials of the Assad regime in Syria. In 2015, Nick Griffin and Roberto Fiore among others traveled to Syria. The visit was used as a propaganda tool by Syrian state media in an effort to ”prove” that the Syrian government enjoys international support, and is being subjected to an ”unjust” war headed by the United States and Israel.
Support for Russia is another central pillar of the APF. The European party’s action plan includes ”deepened relations with Russia” and ”diplomatic missions in Syria”. Party documents frequently feature antisemitic conspiracy theories and racist notions of an alleged ”Jewish agenda” to decrease the birthrate of ”white children”.
Factbox | APF board members, by country:
The Holocaust denier Hervé van Laethem, of the identitarian organization Mouvement Nation, is a board member of the APF. Since the 1980s, Laethem has led a number of radical groups and has been prosecuted numerous times because of his flagrant racism.
Vlaanderen Identitair, a Flemish identitarian movement, became a member of the APF in March 2016. They work closely with Mouvement Nation.
Danskernes Parti (Party of the Danes), sister party of the now-defunct Svenskarnas parti (Party of the Swedes), is represented in the APF by its leader Daniel Carlsen. The party was set up in 2011 and has no seats in the Danish parliament. The party is a nexus for the scattered white supremacy movement in Denmark, and has close ties to the German party NPD.
The lawyer and politician Olivier Wyssa was previously a member of the Front National. It is unclear if he is currently a member of any organization besides the APF. He is believed to have left the Front National because of ties to the proscribed organization L’Œuvre française. A member of the APF’s executive board, Wyssa is also an independent councillor of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional assembly in France.
The nazi party Golden Dawn has been successful on both the national and the European levels, with three MEPs in the European Parliament. Artemis Mattheopoulos, deputy chairman of the APF’s executive board, is also a member of parliament in Greece.
Roberto Fiore, the leader of Forza Nuova, has for the past few years been masterminding attempts to forge alliances between Europe’s far right parties. He is the chairman of the APF. He was elected to the European Parliament in 2008. Forza Nuova currently has no seats in the parliament of Italy.
Democracia Nacional is represented in the APF by Gonzalo Martín García. He is in charge of the party’s international ties and has previously been in contact with the nazi Party of the Swedes. Democracia Nacional has no members of parliament. García stood as a candidate in the latest European elections.
The ex-leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, is on the APF’s executive board. As of 30 November, 2015, he is co-deputy chairman of the APF together with Artemis Mattheopoulos. Griffin chaired the statutory meeting of February 2015. He was previously an MEP for the British National Party. Today he runs the one-man project ”British Unity”.
Stefan Jacobsson, formerly the leader of the now-defuct nazi Party of the Swedes, is the secretary general of the APF as of November 2015.
Tomáš Vandas is the leader of the Czech far right party Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti (Workers’ Party of Social Justice). The party has no seats in either the Czech or the European parliament. It has gained notoriety for its aggressive marches through Roma encampments and for protesting a Pride parade.
Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD, secured one mandate in the European parliamentary elections of 2014. The party is represented on the APF’s executive board by Jens Pühse. Within the NPD, Pühse was tasked with maintaining the party’s international ties. The party also gained a few mandates in Germany’s recent local elections.
Correction: This article previously stated that the EU cut off funding to the AENM party after the tightening of rules for subsidies in 2014; something which was claimed by several politicians. However, new information has emerged indicating otherwise. Expo is currently investigating.
The article is updated 20/4-2016
Translation: Morgan Finnsiö