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Friday, 28 June, 2002, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Blair is 'right wing' - Haider
Jorg Haider
The far-right politician was promoting tourism
Far-right Austrian politician Jorg Haider has said Tony Blair's stance on issues like immigration and crime makes him a right-winger.

Mr Haider - in London to promote his country as a tourist destination - said he felt his politics had been vindicated because the EU was now focusing on immigration.


I was accused and attacked and labelled a racist and a fascist

Jorg Haider
He said: "Tony Blair is labelled a Labour politician, but if you read his programme and see his activities, I think he is a right-wing politician."

"See his immigration policy and his stand on law and order - it is the opposite of a left-wing politician.

A group of around 40 anti-Nazi protesters staged a demonstration outside the hotel were Mr Haider was holding his news conference.

The former leader of Austria's Freedom Party dodged the demonstration by going in the rear entrance.

Anti-Nazi league demonstration
Demonstrator's protest at Mr Haider's presence
At a news conference he told journalists: "With a delay of nearly 10 years, the EU has accepted the challenges of immigration policy.

"I was accused and attacked by political opponents for demanding controlled immigration policies, nothing more.

"I was accused and attacked and labelled a racist and a fascist, but now the EU has taken the stance and taken a similar idea which I maintained 10 years before.

"It's a satisfying event for me."

Mr Haider added that left-wing politicians could not survive in Europe unless they accepted right-wing ideas.

Demonstrators chanted "Nazi scum" and held banners which read "Haider is Hitler".

The protest included Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman who lost his wife, child and 70 relations during the Holocaust.

The 91-year-old said: "He should not be here, he is a danger to democracy."

Mr Haider visit was to publicise the Austrian province of Carinthia, of which he is governor.

Budget airline Ryanair has launched a new route which flies to Klagenfurt in the province.

The Dublin-based operator issued a statement said it would not be playing any part in Mr Haider's news conference.

Resurgent right?

Mr Haider said: "We want the British people to come to our country and spend some holidays in our country."

Asked if he would be happy for members of the far-right British National Party to travel to Carinthia, Mr Haider said he was careful not to label political parties that he did not know.

Earlier, Labour MEP Glyn Ford issued a plea to Home Secretary David Blunkett to ban the far-right politician from entering the UK.

He said: "Jorg Haider's extreme views are a potential danger to public order and public security."

"Letting Haider in sends a signal to the resurgent far-right in Europe that they will be given a place at the table."

The Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases.

See also:

02 Mar 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
31 Jan 02 | Europe
20 Mar 01 | Europe

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