/ languages

Choisir langue

Denmark/EU - RFI exclusive interview

Leading right-wing MEP claims south-eastern Europe is less clever

Article published on the 2009-05-07 Latest update 2009-05-11 10:31 TU

Posters during the last Romanian election in November 2008 (Photo: Reuters)

Posters during the last Romanian election in November 2008
(Photo: Reuters)

A key right-wing MEP says south-eastern European countries do not deserve to have as much influence as other European countries because they are not as clever as north Europeans. Denmark's Mogens Camre, deputy leader of the Europe of the Nations group in the European Parliament, made the remarks to RFI's Sarah Elzas in an exclusive interview.

Interview: Mogens Camre, Europe of the Nations group

11/05/2009 by Sarah Elzas

"When I look at the voting rules, I see that countries like Romania and Bulgaria have many more votes than Denmark and Sweden and Finland, and I think - honestly speaking - that we are more clever than they are," Camre, who is  a member of Denmark's ruling coalition People's Party, said.

Western and northern European countries have societies that are more transparent, democratic and healthy, he said.

His remarks come before the Parliament's June elections, which will see Denmark lose one of its 14 seats. Meanwhile Romania and Bulgaria will have 50 seats between them.

Romanian MEP Renate Weber described Camre's as "childish".

"I don't think Scandinavians are more intelligent and clever than any others," she said.

Camre, who will not be standing in the June elections, also expressed concern about EU expansion, for what he deems a threat to cultural identity and security.

"The French are different from the Danes, Danes are different from Greeks, and Portuguese are different from Finnish people," he said.

"Today you have criminals from all of Europe who are travelling across Europe. They can be in France one day and be in Denmark 12 hours later ... and it's impossible for the citizens to feel safe."

But Weber said the EU is the mechanism for countries like hers, which she admits has a lot to learn, to discover different ways of running their governments.

It is this very process of co-operation that Camre feels threatens Denmark and violates democracy itself.

"We believe that democracy can only exist in the nation...and today what you see is that the decisions are made over France by people who have never been in France; and people who have never been in Denmark make decisions over Denmark," Camre said.

"And it will in the end destroy democracy."

Camre caused controversy in 2006 when he accused Islamists of infiltrating Europe "where they wait to be many enough to have us removed". His remarks followed civil unrest sparked by a controversial cartoon published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed published in the Danish press.

To read and listen to Sarah Elzas's report on RFI's joint website with France 24 on the European elections click here

European elections