Stockholm’s Grand Hotel has been bullied into making an ‘apology’ for allowing freedom of speech and assembly on its premises, following a vicious mobbing campaign on social media by leftist extremists.
Ironically, the event which these extremists sought to cancel was the “European Freedom Awards” being organised by the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe, a political foundation linked to the EFDD Group in the European Parliament. Despite the bullying attempts against the hotel, the gala went ahead on Friday 4 November at the Grand Hotel, including a dinner at which former President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, received an award for his advocacy and advancement of liberty, self-determination and direct democracy in Europe.
However, the Grand Hotel suffered commercially due to the mobbing on social media, with several customers cancelling contracts for future events and receptions at the hotel. Clearly the apology issued by the Grand Hotel – the first time in its 150 year history that it made a public statement about any of its guests – was brought about through intimidation, and out of concern for its commercial interests. Disturbingly, in its press release, the hotel went as far as to state: “We should have broken the contract”, indicating that they would rather be sued for a breach of Swedish contract law than face down the cyberbullies.
One is perfectly entitled to disagree with the political views of the eurosceptic EFDD Group in the European Parliament, which is led by Nigel Farage MEP and whose most significant national member party is the UK Independence Party. However, Mr Farage and his fellow MEPs were democratically elected in their various countries, as indeed was Vaclav Klaus as head of state of his own country.
Fundamental democratic principles at the core of the EU include freedom of assembly and of expression and the bullying and intimidation of the Grand Hotel in Stockholm for hosting this political event are shamefully undemocratic. It is to be hoped that such strong advocates of the EU’s Rule of Law Mechanism, such as its Rapporteur in the European Parliament, Sophie in’t Veld, will roundly condemn this type of extremist behaviour.