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Italy sparks row over 'Breivik Party' reports

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Richard Orange - [email protected]
Italy sparks row over 'Breivik Party' reports
Photo: The Local

The Norwegian embassy in Rome has sent a plea for help to the country's foreign ministry after the Italian press reacted strongly to the probable inclusion of the populist Progress Party in the next government.

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"Shock choice in Oslo: Breivik party gains government power," Italy's leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, wrote in its election coverage, explaining to readers that "the xenophobic party has allied itself with the Conservatives." 
 
The embassy asked for guidance on how to respond to articles linking the Progress Party to the far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who is a former member.
 
The Progress Party has also contacted the Foreign Ministry asking it to do more to counter "the completely meaningless impression" given by such reports. 
 
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should ensure that they inform journalists, newspapers and news channels in the respective countries about what the actual situation is," the party's deputy leader Ketil Solvik Olsen said.  
 
Norwegian newspapers also singled out a report in the UK's Independent newspaper, sub-headed: "Anti-immigrant party with links to mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik set to enter government under Conservative leader Erna Solberg".
 
Outgoing foreign minister Espen Barth Eide said that while the foreign ministry would monitor the coverage, it was up to the Progress Party to clarify its policies. 
 
"We are following the situation closely, for this is a matter of Norway's reputation abroad," he said. "We will help them all we can, but they are the ones who have to clarify what their positions are."

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