Eurofile: EU given warnings about fascism

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The Independent Online
WARNINGS of fascism overshadowed a meeting of European Union telecommunications ministers yesterday when the Belgian minister protested against the presence of a member of Italy's neo-Fascist National Alliance. Elio Di Rupo, a Belgian of Italian origin, said during the meeting that his Italian counterpart, Giuseppe Tatarella, did not deserve to be present.

Mr Tatarella responded by saying that 'the National Alliance has no links with fascism, its members belong to the political right, democratically formed. They are not fascists.'

Separately, Greece's Socialist Prime Minister, Andreas Papandreou, issued a warning about fascism, saying that the make-up of the Italian cabinet was 'a warning bell for Europe'.

'I ask myself if . . . a fascist premier that comes along in some reshuffle and questions the rules of democratic procedure and popular sovereignty, what will the European Union do? Will it expel him or compromise?'

He went on: 'I am truly sorry that this story has gone over so quietly; that fascists are participating in the government of a European country,' recalling that there was little reaction when a group of army officers imposed a military dictatorship in Greece from 1967 to 1974.

ORGANISED crime in the Netherlands is reportedly tapping into the telephone switchboxes and phone lines of safe houses being run by the Amsterdam CID in its latest crusade against the drugs trade. Using crooked telephone company engineers, the racketeers have also apparently had taps placed on the private lines of CID detectives.

POLICE in Germany have been sharply criticised for failing to take serious action against spiralling right-wing violence in the east of the country. Recent skinhead violence in Magdeburg went unpunished, with all suspects set free without charges.

The regional interior minister and the local police chief have downplayed the violence in which African immigrants were chased by knife-wielding skinheads, and it was only after the outgoing German President, Richard von Weizsacker, publicly criticised the police, that some right-wing youths were finally arrested.

PRESSURE on Britain to sign an EU treaty on open borders is likely to increase following a request from Denmark to be allowed observer status under the Schengen Convention.

Britain, Ireland and Denmark are the only three member states outside the treaty, which lifts controls on the movement of peoples between member states. They maintain that, because of their geographical positions in Europe, their internal borders are also external borders and they cannot properly control immigration flows if passport checks are removed altogether.

Even in the so-called 'Schengen area', however, border controls remain because of failures in the computer system that is supposed to monitor the flow of people and provide a database of information on criminals, stolen goods and missing persons.

A WAVE of indiscriminate briefcase bombings on a beach in the Basque region of Spain has horrified a country grown used to mindless terrorist attacks by Eta separatists.

Photographs on the front pages of Spain's main daily newspapers yesterday showed a middle-aged Basque woman, Resurreccion Bassarate, minutes after she had been strolling with her daughter on the beach. She was flat on her back, unconscious and with her left hand missing from the end of a blood-soaked arm, her elbow a blur of tortured sinews. The woman's daughter, Aranzazu, in her early twenties, was also unconscious, her face badly damaged by a blast from the same briefcase which her mother had picked up, assuming it had been lost.

Another abandoned briefcase exploded on a 72-year-old man, who lost both his arms. Eta is widely assumed to have been behind the attacks. The group's political wing, Herri Batasuna, which is running candidates in the 12 June European elections, has denied all knowledge of the bombs.

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