SHAFAQNA – The EU Parliament’s biggest group, the European People’s Party, has expressed support for a Europe-wide ban of the Muslim veil citing both cultural and security concerns.
“The EPP calls for… A ban on full-face veils (i.e. the burqa or niqab) in public places, both for reasons of security and because seeing one another’s faces is an integral part of human interaction in Europe,” the EPP’s resolution stated, as cited by The Independent.
The party, which currently holds 216 seats of the 751-member European Parliament, has adopted such a measure as official policy under a resolution entitled, “For a cohesive society: Countering Islamic extremism.”
The EPP adopted the measure at its congress in Malta this week.
“We want a total ban of face covering in the EU” said Manfred Weber, the group’s leader in the European Parliament, as cited by the The Express. Weber is a member of Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance in Germany with whom the EPP is affiliated.
Other provisions contained include “the avoidance of concentrating thousands of third-country nationals in any one location” and “mandatory integration requirements” for welfare recipients.
While the resolution is nonbinding, an EPP spokesperson called for an EU-level discussion on the matter but admitted that it doesn’t align with current EU policy objectives, reports The Independent.
The EPP boasts both President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban as members.
The issue of Muslim veils is being hotly debated elsewhere in Europe, with France passing a contentious ban on Muslim face coverings in 2010, while several areas of Switzerland have adopted similar measures.