Austrian Leader Kurz Snubs ‘Baby Hitler’ Comparison while Backing Hardline EU Migration Policy
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has supported hardline policies on refugees during a forum of Germany’s ruling conservatives while also snubbing critics comparing him to “baby Hitler”.
Kurz, who is the leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) was welcomed by members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling party, the CDU, at a conference in Erfurt, in the state of Thuringia, DW reports.
The fact that he rules in a coalition with Austria’s far-right Freedom Party and his own staunch stance in favor of curbing the influx of migrants into the EU, however, invited protests during his visit to Germany on Thursday.
In a joint letter ahead of the CDU conference, youth wings of the Green party, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) (who are part of Merkel’s ruling coalition), and the Left Party labeled the Austrian Chancellor “baby Hitler”, referring to an earlier caricature in German satirical magazine Titanic.
On the night of the conference, however, only several dozen protesters showed up in Erfurt to demonstrate against the migration policies of the CDU as well as Kurz’s Cabinet in Austria.
Kurz was asked about the critics’ comparing him to “baby Hitler” in a press conference before the main event.
“Ah, it’s never good to turn to comparisons with Nazis,” the Austrian Chancellor stated.
Kurz was the guest of honor at the 2018 annual gathering of the conservatives in the east German state of Thuringia which brought together some 3,300 delegates. A year earlier, the guest of honor was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Austrian leader was hailed at the conference with the slogan of Austria’s current six-month Presidency of the European Union, “A Europe that Protects”.
“Peace, freedom, security and prosperity,” Kurz told the audience regarding the slogan’s meaning.
He did insist on the closing of the EU’s external borders, abolishing Merkel’s refugee quotas for member states, erecting asylum centers outside the EU, and preventing migrant rescue ships from docking on EU soil.
“Europe’s internal borders can’t function if the external borders don’t work,” Kurz said, drawing enthusiastic applause from the attendees.
(Banner image: Sebastian Kurz on Twitter)