SYRIZA’s junior coalition partner, Independent Greeks (ANEL), criticized European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, accusing him of making “malicious” comments about the party after he likened it to the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), which has just formed a government with the center-right Austrian People’s Party (OVP) party.
“Mr Juncker’s affinities with the Austrian and neo-Nazi far-right cannot be disguised, no matter how much he tries to find unsubstantiated and flimsy excuses,” said ANEL spokesperson Mantalena Papadopoulou.
“It is malicious on the Commission president’s part to equate the neo-Nazi party of Austria with the centrist and patriotic Independent Greeks in his effort to justify his stance.”
On Tuesday, Juncker argued that he thought too much controversy was being created about the Austrian coalition, suggesting that there are extremist elements in other European governments.
“We will cooperate with all Austrian ministers, just as I cooperate with the far-right coalition partner of Mr [Alexis] Tsipras, just as I have cooperated with far-right parties in Bulgaria and Slovania,” he said.
“We will judge the Austrian government on its deeds,” added the Commission president. “I look at the government program and I have reasonable confidence that this will be a pro-European government.”