Sweden Democrats officially opposes multiculturalism and says it wants immigrants to be returned to their countries of origin
The British Conservatives have entered into alliance with a far-right anti-immigration party from Sweden, prompting accusations that they are “worrying comfortable in the company of right-wing extremists,” the Independent reports.
Following meetings on Tuesday night the Sweden Democrats, which has its roots in fascism and white supremacy, was admitted to the Tory-led European Conservatives and Reformists group, which was set up by David Cameron in 2009.
The Swedish party, which is riding high in the polls on a wave of xenophobia ahead of elections later this year, had previously sat in Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), a populist Eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament, with German far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and British eurosceptic right-wing populist UK Independence Party (UKip).
The group is currently trying to clean up its image to make itself more mainstream and electable, having previously shared iconography with the UK National Front. One of its founding senior officials was a veteran of the Nazi Waffen-SS, while leading members were pictured wearing Nazi regalia.
Sweden Democrats officially opposes multiculturalism and says it wants immigrants to be returned to their countries of origin.
Senior Brussels Tories said the Swedish party had “made progress in reforming themselves” and said they had opposed the party’s entrance to the group but would go along with it.
But they were accused of legitimising the extremists. Dutch liberal MEP Sophie In't Veld said: “The Tories seem worrying comfortable in the company of right wing extremists, xenophobic and authoritarian outfits that are also openly opposing gender equality, freedom of speech and LGBTI rights.
“They even stay silent while their allies from the PiS undermine the rule of law in Poland.
“Are these really the new allies of the UK Government? The Tories should really consider if legitimising these kinds of parties is in the interests of the United Kingdom.”
Other controversial parties in the ECR group include Poland’s governing populist Law and Justice Party, Finland’s right-wing Finns Party, and the far-right Danish People’s Party.
The Tories were criticized last week for backing Hungary’s authoritarian Fidesz government in a vote in the European Parliament, recommending against the use of Article 7 in contrast to most other mainstream groups.