Mch. 16, 2000Presidents oppose extremists
Five Central European presidents urged Europe to fight extreme nationalism and racism at a meeting in Poland's historic capital.
Hungary's Árpád Göncz, Poland's Aleksander Kwasniewski, Germany's Johannes Rau, Lithuania's Valdas Adamkus and Slovakia's Rudolf Schuster celebrated the 1,000th anniversary of Poland's statehood in Gniezno, the Medieval seat of Polish kings.
"We appeal to the nations of Europe ... to oppose all manifestations of hatred, xenophobia, racism, aggressive nationalism and extremism," the presidents said in the joint declaration read last weekend by Kwasniewski to some 3,000 residents of Gniezno, western Poland.
Poland and other countries in the region are worried that the recent inclusion of the far-right Freedom Party in Austria's Government may hamper their efforts to join the European Union.
"What happened in Austria can happen elsewhere," Göncz said during a televised debate.
Göncz also blamed European Union leaders for making EU enlargement conditional on strict economic criteria rather than pursuing political vision of a continent united around shared cultural and moral values.
"We have lost illusions that we are awaited with open arms," Göncz said.