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Commissioner warns of far-right surge at May polls

Commissioner warns of far-right surge at May polls

Photo © Andre - Fotolia

(ATHENS) - European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem voiced concern Tuesday that the EU Parliament will shift toward the far right in elections set for May.

"I fear very much that these parties will become very strong in the elections for the EU Parliament and that they will have a real influence over European lawmakers," she told a press conference during a visit to Athens.

"Some of them (these parties) have existed for years, some are newer and some are growing stronger in the aftermath of the crisis," Malmstroem added.

In Greece, neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn made a shocking first by getting itself elected into parliament in June 2012 with nearly seven percent of the vote, winning 18 seats out of 300.

Authorities have launched a crackdown on the party, after the shock murder of an anti-fascist musician by a Golden Dawn supporter in September.

But opinion polls show the party still has strong support.

Golden Dawn has greatly benefited from a rise in social tensions in the crisis-hit country, which has experienced a sharp rise in migrant arrivals as it serves as an entrance door to the EU.

Malmstroem further expressed her concern about the conditions of migrants in detention and the lengthy periods they are held.

"People cannot be detained forever," she said. But she also said Greece had made progress in improving its asylum procedures.

Greece has often been accused by the EU and human rights organisations of violating the rights of migrants and asylum-seekers.

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