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Friday, 11 February, 2000, 14:24 GMT
Haider in context: Nazi employment policies
Mr Haider's rise has sounded alarm bells across Europe
Supporters of Joerg Haider, former leader of Austria's far right Freedom Party, say comments in which he apparently praised Nazi policies have been taken out of context.

One of the most controversial was made during a speech to the Carinthian regional parliament in June 1991 in which he apparently praised the "orderly" employment policies of the Third Reich. Critics have portrayed the comment as evidence of Mr Haider's Nazi sympathies.

Anti-Haider protester
Critics say Mr Haider's comments are evidence of Nazi sympathies
It was made during a speech in which he suggested that recipients of unemployment benefits should face penalties if they turn down jobs they are qualified to perform.

The statement caused uproar at the time, both in the parliament and across the country, forcing Mr Haider to step down from his post as state governor.

The following excerpt comes from the official transcript of proceedings in the Carinthian parliament on 13 June 1991:

Dr Haider: The second thing I would like to talk about is the issue of the regulations on reasonable expectations... That means that someone who is capable of work, but is not willing to work; [not willing] to take up a related or similar or approximately similar job, should be given the sanction of being forced to take on a job by having his unemployment benefit reduced.

MP Hausenblas, Social Democrat (interrupting): That amounts to forced work placement!

Haider: I know: Now you're going to say that is forced labour! Forced labour, dear colleague...

MP Freunshlag (Freedom Party): Forced placement.

Haider: Then I ask you: How do you justify this to the thousands and thousands of hardworking Austrian employees who fulfil their work obligations year after year?

How do you defend that to somebody who for example has lost his job as a joiner, but then takes on a similar job in construction, just so that he doesn't have to go on unemployment benefit? And he is paying his hard earned money in ever higher deductions, so that a few can lounge around in the hammock of the social welfare state. That is not a system we can really defend.

(Applause from the Freedom Party group.)

MP Hausenblas: We once had what you're calling for - in the Third Reich!

Dr Haider: No, they didn't have that in the Third Reich, because in the Third Reich they had a proper [orderly] employment policy, which not even your government in Vienna can manage to bring about. That has to be said.

(Interjections by MPs Hausenblas and Prettner)

Apparently the people then were so well qualified that the higher-ranking members of the Hitler Youth went on to lead your party for almost 40 years. That's a fact too.

(Applause from Freedom Party group)

But I'd like to say that these two questions are fundamental ones and that they are linked to a labour market - as long as we restructure it in this way - which cannot be replenished through constant reserves coming from waves of foreigners.

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
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