Rosenkranz calls for shut borders to combat ‘crime import’

Barbara Rosenkranz, the right-wing Freedom Party’s (FPÖ) presidential candidate, said yesterday (Thurs) she wanted Austria to leave the Schengen border agreement.Rosenkranz announced she would reintroduce border checks if she wins the 25 presidential election.Speaking about soaring crime figures, the FPÖ Lower Austria boss referred to crooks from Eastern Europe when she said that the “import of crime” must come to an end.The mother-of-ten, who represents the FP֒s ultra-conservative wing, branded incumbent president Heinz Fischer as “out of touch with the real world” over his decision not to face her in a live TV debate.Fischer’s election campaign organiser Stefan Bachleitner said earlier this week: “The president follows the examples of his predecessors Dr [Rudolf] Kirchschläger and Dr [Thomas] Klestil.”Bachleitner added he was of the opinion that the views of Rosenkranz were “impossible to discuss”. He referred to her controversial opinion regarding Austria’s Nazi past.Rosenkranz recently announced she never doubted the existence of gas chambers, and claimed her statements were taken out of context. But her critics accuse her of having failed to disassociate herself from the Nazi mindset for too long.Bachleitner said Fischer – who is expected to get 70 to 80 per cent of the overall vote – would share his opinion on various topics in newspaper interviews, call-in sessions and over the internet.People’s Party (ÖVP) Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Othmar Karas has meanwhile come out as the first major ÖVP official to support Fischer.The former MP claimed Fischer was the only eligible candidate from a European point of view.Rosenkranz meanwhile was the only Austrian MP who did not support the Lisbon Treaty in a parliamentary referendum in 2005.ÖVP bosses like whip Karlheinz Kopf and Agriculture Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich have been criticised for announcing they were thinking of invalidating their vote at this month’s presidential election.All the ÖVP, the Greens and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) decided not to nominate own candidates to challenge Fischer, who is a former Social Democratic (SPÖ) MP and president of the federal parliament. The 71-year-old runs as independent candidate but has the backing of the SPÖ.Fischer took office in 2004 after beating Benita Ferrero-Waldner of the ÖVP for the post.