Thursday

26th May 2022

Calls for Tajani's resignation over Slovenia, Croatia row

  • Antonio Tajani said his comments were not historical revisionism (Photo: European Parliament)

Former presidents and prime ministers of Croatia and Slovenia, along with several MEPs called for the resignation of the president of the European Parliament in an online petition after Antonio Tajani referred to parts of Croatia and Slovenia as Italian over the weekend.

The petition, put online on Tuesday (12 February) called for the "immediate resignation" of the Italian centre-right politician. On Wednesday it had almost 3,000 signatories.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Speaking on Sunday at the ceremony in Basovizza, Italy, in honour of those Italians who died and fled the regions of Istria and Dalmatia during the "foibe massacres"carried out by Yugoslav partisans in the Second World War, Tajani referred to "Italian Istria", and "Italian Dalmatia."

Those regions became parts of Yugoslavia, and then later Slovenia and Croatia. Both areas were occupied by Italian fascists during the war.

After an outcry from Slovenian and Croatian politicians, Tajani apologised on Monday saying his comment on the regions "was in no way a territorial claim".

"I'm sorry if the meaning of my words has been misinterpreted," Tajani said at the parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg.

"It was not my intention to offend anyone. I just wanted to send a message of peace between the peoples, so that what happened then will never be repeated," he added.

The resignation demand was signed by Jadranka Kosor, former prime minister of Croatia, Milan Kucan and Danilo Turk, former presidents of Slovenia, and Stjepan Mesic, former president of Croatia.

It was also signed, amongst other MEPs, by two vice-presidents of the parliament's Socialists and Democrats group, Tanja Fajon from Slovenia, and Josef Weidenholzer from Austria, along with German MEP Knut Fleckenstein from the group.

The petition calls Tajani's words "unacceptable", that echo "historical revisionism", which "justifies fascism" and "encouraged us, the citizens of individual member states of the European Union, to demand his irrevocable resignation".

They claim Tajani's comments were "undoubtedly expressing fascist, irredentist tendencies", which are "absolutely inappropriate" in the 21st century.

The issue will be discussed by the S&D group on Wednesday evening, sources said, but a common position on calling for the president's resignation is unlikely. Tajani belongs to the rival, larger, European People's Party (EPP).

The signatories also call on other member states and the EU commission to react, arguing that "this kind of rhetoric should be clearly condemned by the European Union."

Slovenian EU commissioner Violeta Bulc on Monday tweeted: "This is not something we expect from our European leaders. Distortion of historical facts on the Slovenian-Italian border is unacceptable. The European story is one of peace, solidarity and unity."

Tajani reacted on his personal twitter account, saying merely: "History is history".

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us