European centre-right parties, meeting a day after a new Austrian government including the far-right Freedom Party was sworn in, said yesterday there was no place in Europe for racism and xenophobia. A communique issued in Madrid at the end of a two-day conference of the European People's Party -- the region's main conservative grouping -called for respect for the rights of immigrants. The broad-ranging political manifesto made no direct mention of the Austrian situation, which has unleashed an international campaign aimed at isolating the new government. But there could be little doubt the communique was intended to send a message to the Austrian coalition and Freedom Party leader Joerg Haider himself. The firebrand populist has rung alarm bells across Europe with past comments -- since repudiated -- playing down Nazi crimes during World War Two. The manifesto maintained, Europe must be generous in incorporating into our societies those who come to live and work with us. Discriminatory, racist or xenophobic attitudes have no place in the open Europe to which we aspire, the conservative leaders said.
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