A few hours ago, the Austrian Parliament, ratified the Lisbon Treaty as the 8th member state of the Union. The 155 votes of Social Democrats, Conservative/Liberals and Greens stood against the 28 votes of the post-fascist FPÖ and BZÖ. The leader of the non-voters ended his speech with the words “Gott schütze Österreich” (God save Austria) which was a direct quotation from Chancellor Schuschnigg’s speech in 1938 when he cancelled a referendum on the national independence of Austria and left the doors open for the German army which marched into Austria two days later, the beginning of a 7 year Nazi rule of the country.
Needless to say both the leaders of the Social Democrats and the Conservatives were very upset by this allusion. The most forceful rebuttal, however, came from the leader of the Green Party. This Party without hesitation endorsed the Treaty but at the same time made it very clear what kind of changes in Europe they were going to work for.
Even the extra-parliamentarian and activist group “Attack” presented an alternative policy for Europe but did in no way demand that Austria should leave the Union.
All this throws a sharp light on the policy of the Swedish Green Party. As we have reported before, the two spokespersons (they are “chairmen” really) are advocating a change in the EU-policy of the party in order to be able to use the EU cooperation and institutions as a platform for their policy. They are not likely, however, to get the support of the upcoming Party Congress (the official name is more “grass-root” like, but for the moment we have forgotten what it is). The Steadfast Tin Soldier of this blog (SW) still represents the silent majority of the party. It’s a pity since Sweden would need a modern European friendly party, basically endorsing free markets and in particular small enterprise but with a strong social engagement and, of course, an emphasis on environment and climate change. There would be a great voter potential for such a party, like for instance for the Austrian Greens, whereas the sectarian tendencies of the Swedish party only will marginalize them even further.
(Also, it is an irony, that those who want Sweden to leave the EU, would vote against a Treaty that for the first time would include a procedure for exit.)