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The 1999 parliamentary elections in Austria sparked a fire of controversy in the European Union. Led by the far-right activist Joerg Haider, the Freedom Party achieved a second place victory, causing leaders and activists to voice their concerns about Austria's future. Acting on that apprehension, the individual members of the European Union joined together to issue diplomatic sanctions against Austria, an unprecedented action. When the sanctions were lifted in September, 2000, the European Union was left to reexamine its role and to determine whether to amend its founding treaties to reflect any changes in the relationship between the government of the European Union and its Member States.