The European People’s Party, which includes European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker as a member, has called for a ban on the Islamic face veil in the whole of the European Union.
The group, which is the largest in the European Parliament, passed a resolution at its annual congress calling for the ban, saying it would be beneficial for integration and security.
The resolution, named “For a cohesive society: Countering Islamic extremism”, also opposed housing thousands of “third country nationals” in one place and said migrants should be expected to integrate into wider society if they are to continue receiving benefits, the Daily Mail reports.
The party is the EU’s main centre-right grouping, and includes France’s Republicans and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. It holds 216 seats in the European Parliament.
Britain’s Conservative Party was a member, but withdrew in 2009 because the group was too pro-EU.
The party said it was adopting the measure “both for reasons of security and because seeing one another’s faces is an integral part of human interaction in Europe”.
“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 resolution adds.
Manfred Weber, the party’s leader in the European Parliament, told the German press: “We want a total ban of face covering in the EU.”
However, the resolution is not binding on any member parties, and the European Parliament has limited legislative powers.
Some European nations have introduced face veil bans, however, with some being justified on the basis of secularism and others on security grounds.
Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May ruled out a similar ban in the UK, saying: “What a woman wears is a woman’s choice.”