Enric Ravello Barber
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Johannes Hübner: Europe should develop towards the Confederated States of Europe, not the United States of Europe

An exclusive interview with Johannes Hübner, an Austrian deputy in the National Parliament and head of international relations of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ).
8 May 2016

The arrival of the so-called "refugees" and its consequences has been discussed in European mass-media for months. What does the FPÖ make of this crisis?

The wave of mass migration that swept through Europe since the middle of 2015 was not challenged by the Austrian government for a long time. We urged the government for a long time to stop this and restore the country’s sovereignty. After refusing to do so for a long time, by January, the government accepted our demands. Now these demands are being incrementally adopted by the governing parties, SPÖ and ÖVP.

Austria and other countries have closed the Schengen area and regained control over their own borders. Do you think of what provoked that as a major failure of the EU on immigration?

The EU has not just totally failed to protect the borders of the Schengen area and to make the member states own up to their commitments under this treaty. It has also – illegally and irresponsibly – promoted mass illegal immigration in many ways, especially the “free ride” given to the migrants by the so-called “TRITON-operation” in the Mediterranean.

The “refugee” problem affects all of the Europe. Do you think Brussels knows how to act properly? Do you think the EU´s mistakes in this matter can increase Euroscepticism?

Of course, Euroscepticism is on the rise. According to latest polls, only 35% to 40% of the Austrian people are pro-EU. The “Nomenklatura” in Brussels is still totally unwilling to stop the mass migration and is trying its best to slow down and sabotage efforts by single member states to cope with the problem on their own.

With regard to the EU, your party, FPÖ – described as a "Eurosceptic" party – is now the party with the highest support in the polls. Do you think that the FPÖ will form the next government in Austria? In that case, what would be your position on the EU and the Euro?

FPÖ will only enter the coalition if the partner is ready to reign in the ever increasing power of “Brussels”. Decision making in many areas has to be transferred back to the national states. The Euro Zone should be divided into two or even three different “areas”, or abandoned altogether.

Many of the so-called "Eurosceptic" parties (FPÖ, EN, VB, Lega Nord, PVV, etc.) criticize the EU and propose "another Europe." Could you summarize what that alternative model of Europe would be?

Europe should develop towards the Confederated States of Europe, not the United States of Europe; national states must keep their sovereignty, and Brussels should provide only the necessary framework to coordinate the cooperation of the countries. If the EU is not ready to move in this direction, it will not have a future.

Germany is one of the countries where the arrival of "refugees" is having the greatest impact. Do you think this may have electoral consequences? In your opinion, could Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) get a significant percentage of votes?

From zero up to 24 % in Sachsen-Anhalt is a very clear sign.

We traveled together to Crimea with international observers of the referendum held there in March 2014. I think the referendum was a positive step for the people of Crimea to be able to finally decide their future. What is your assessment of that referendum?

In general terms, the referendum was obviously free and fair. All available tools prove, that if the referendum was repeated today (under international supervision), the result would be – more or less – the same. Therefore, all European governments and institutions under US influence rule out any say for the concerned population to be involved in the crisis.

You and the FPÖ have close ties with Russia, do you think that a rapprochement between Western Europe and Russia is needed? What is your opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin?

Russia is a part of Europe (which the United States is not). Europe badly needs Russia to balance the disproportionate American influence over its policies. To have good, friendly and cooperative relations with Russia, is a “must” for Europe, and that should never be linked to “personal feelings” one may have about the Russian president.

Today there are several points of geopolitical friction in our continent (Ukraine, the Balkans, the Baltic, etc….) don’t you believe that a proper European policy, regardless of the interests and pressures of the United States, is required?

Absolutely. Such a policy is badly needed.

Finally, what would be the measures offered by the FPÖ to the influx of "refugees" and for better control of immigration into Austria?

We must make it clear that the “asylum policy” has to be changed completely. It has become a tool for mass legal immigration from third world countries into Europe. The respective laws have to be changed and will be changed. A clear message has to be given: it is of no use to try coming.