"I have absolutely nothing against foreigners"

By Pascal SteinwachsMike Zenari Switch to German for original article

Fred Keup is one of the most controversial figures in Luxembourg’s politics. He became known in the course of the 2015 referendum for his fight against the voting rights for foreigners. The former geography teacher has been holding a seat in parliament for the adr, since last October.

The face of the ‘No’ movement wears a tie, is extremely polite in personal conversation and cannot understand why he is repeatedly accused of being xenophobic. The conversation with Fred Keup, born in 1980, took place on Monday last week in the premises of the adr parliamentary group, shortly before Keup, as well as his two fellow MPs Fernand Kartheiser and Jeff Engelen, were sent into quarantine after a staff member of the adr secretariat tested positive for COVID-19.

Lëtzebuerger Journal: You look like an honest man, but many people, especially in politics, consider you an arsonist. What do you have to say about that?

Fred Keup: Of course, I cannot judge whether I look like an honest man, but I can definitely say that I am not an arsonist. I try to draw attention to existing problems, as I did in the referendum. That has nothing to do with arson. I rather advocate a healthy culture of debate where everyone can put forward their arguments.

During the debates on the referendum of June 2015, you became known as the spokesperson of the ‘No camp’ and as the leading head of the ‘Initiativ Nee2015’, which spoke out against the right to vote for foreigners. Yet you were once even a member of the ‘déi Lénk’. Why the change of heart?

(laughs) Yes, that’s true. I liked some of the ideas of the ‘déi Lénk’, which also makes it clear that I cannot be as anti-social as I am sometimes portrayed to be. In a certain sense, I see myself as left-wing and as a socially-minded person, so I liked this party for a short time, but that doesn’t mean that I wanted to join them again at any time.

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