The Communist Party of the Czech Republic is demanding that the Defense Minister Martin Bartak overhauls the army after a number of scandals involving soldiers with neo-Nazi leanings.
This week two soldiers have been sacked for wearing Nazi symbols while serving in Afghanistan.
If Martin Bartak fails to present his vision of an effective army reform by December, the Communist faction in the Czech Parliament will push for his dismissal, announced faction leader Pavel Kovacik on Tuesday.
In the Baltic republics of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, neo-Nazi groups are largely marginalized from mainstream politics. They make themselves known at events and parades, such as in March when Latvian right-wingers commemorate Latvian Waffen SS soldiers who fought against the Soviets in World War II.
Right-wingers in the three Baltic countries – EU member states since 2004 – also target gay rights parades. In 2007 skinheads attacked with sticks and stones such a parade in the Estonian capital Tallinn, wounding several.
Ukraine, too, has seen its share of right-wing activity. In November neo-Nazi skinheads and Indian engineering students battled in a mass fist-fight involving hundreds in Zaporizhia in the heart of the country’s industrial east.
Extremist nationalist groups are active in most cities of the former Soviet republic. Most members of such groups are unemployed teenagers or young men from low-income families.
Actual violence against ethnic minorities in Ukraine is an infrequent but recurring event. The most common targets are Jews and Muslim Tartars, but in recent years attacks against foreigners from Asia and Africa have increased.
Other new member countries of the European Union have also seen a rising level of right-wing activity and violence.
Last November in the eastern Slovak city of Kosice three right- wing extremists beat up a 16-year-old dark-skinned girl of Slovak and Cuban origin while yelling Nazi slogans.
Racist attacks, mostly against the Roma and foreign students, are not unusual in Slovakia. The police registered 188 racially-motivated crimes, including violent attacks, in 2006, an increase from 121 cases in 2005. Activists add that not all victims report attacks.
The Czech Republic’s estimated 3,000 to 5,000 right-wing radicals remain an insignificant fringe group without a strong centralized leadership and political backing, according to Czech counter- intelligence.
Czech right-wingers have recently begun trying to gain visibility and promote their political ideas by organizing marches and protests in Czech towns.
In Poland, the all-Poland Youth, the youth wing of the Catholic- nationalist League of Polish Families (LPR) party, has been accused of having neo-Nazi sympathies. The group is known for its sometimes violent anti-gay protests.
Hungary, too, has seen a significant rise in the far right since the riots that hit Budapest in September 2006 when football hooligans and extreme-right activists attacked the headquarters of Hungarian Television following the leaking of a tape on which the prime minister admitted lying.
While the violence only continued sporadically for around five weeks, right-wing groups have been far more prominent since then.
There have been isolated attacks, particularly one on a gay rights parade that saw skinheads pelt marchers with rotten eggs, but the most worrying development for many was the formation last August of the Magyar Garda, a uniformed wing of extreme-right party Jobbik.
Jewish organisations and government officials have expressed concern over the group, which wears black uniforms Jewish groups say are similar to those worn by Hungarian fascists in the 1940s.
The guard has chosen as its coat of arms a variation of the medieval flag associated with Hungary’s Nazi-aligned Arrow Cross party – in power for a brief period during World War II and responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews.
Moves have been made to disband the group, which now numbers over six hundred, but they have made themselves very visible, particularly with regard to their attitudes to Hungary’s Roma minority.
Some 260 members of the guard marched through a Roma-majority town near Budapest in their uniforms in December, claiming they were simply protesting against violent crimes by Roma against Hungarians.
The long-established democracies of Western Europe have also not been immune to the neo-Nazi scourge with attacks and far-right movements in countries such as Spain and Greece.
Across the continent the picture looks broadly the same – the far right attracts unemployed, undereducated youth and those who oppose immigration. But there’s little evidence that extreme right-wing parties will ever be able to attract significant popular support.