Monday

4th Mar 2024

Polish MEP praising General Franco sparks parliament clash

A Polish MEP has sparked a sharp exchange of views in the European Parliament with his comment that Europe needs more politicians like Spanish dictator General Franco, as deputies debated the lessons learnt 70 years after his coup in Spain.

Maciej Marian Giertych, a Polish non-attached MEP from the League of Polish Families, a ruling coalition party in Poland, broke rank from his European counterparts who condemned General Franco and his dictatorship during a plenary debate on Tuesday (4 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

In his speech on the subject, Mr Giertych praised the Spanish right-wing powers and in particular general Francisco Franco for stopping the spread of communism to western Europe in the first half of the 20th century.

"The presence of such personalities as Franco, Salazar or DeValera in European politics guaranteed Europe's preservance of traditional values. We lack such men of action these days," said the Polish deputy.

"We observe deep sorrow some attempts for a historical revisionism which tends to criticise all that is traditional and catholic while portray in a positive light all that is lay and socialist."

"Let's not forget that Nazism in Germany and fascism in Italy were also spiced up by socialist and atheist taste," Mr Giertych added.

His speech was followed by a furious outcry from the German socialist leader Martin Schultz.

"What we have just heard is Mr Franco's ghost. It was a fascist speech and such a statement has no place in the European Parliament," said Mr Schultz, while shouting "You are Nazi" to some protesting Polish deputies.

The centre-right leader Hans Gert Poettering also denounced such statements, saying that while he himself is a catholic, he condemns any dictatorship even if it was trying to create conditions to support catholic ideals.

Over the past few months, socialist and liberal MEPs have several times criticised Polish government members, particularly for their views and policies on gays and lesbians.

Talking to journalists after the debate, Mr Schultz said "we can still see people like that spread around Europe" and argued "We need to create strong international pressure to fight against such tendencies as we are definitely not going to tolerate them."

Analysis

Almost 20 names in running for EU top jobs

With four months until the European Parliament elections, there are already some 20 names in the hat for the ensuing reshuffle of EU top jobs.

EUobserved

New government in Belfast is much ado about not much

The deal to restore Northern Ireland's government — after nearly two years — is being spun as a major triumph. But not much has changed. This is an exercise in fine-tuning and political window-dressing.

'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child

During a plenary session in Strasbourg, an MEP was denied access to the chamber because he was carrying his young child, due to unforeseen circumstances. The episode shows parliament's rules need to be updated, several MEPs told EUobserver.

EU Commission clears Poland's access to up to €137bn EU funds

The European Commission has legally paved the way for Poland to access up to €137bn EU funds, following Donald Tusk's government's efforts to strengthen the independence of their judiciary and restore the rule of law in the country.

Latest News

  1. EU socialists fight battle on two fronts in election campaign
  2. EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit
  3. 'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child
  4. Commission plays down row over Rwanda minerals pact
  5. EU socialists set to anoint placeholder candidate
  6. Why are the banking lobby afraid of a digital euro?
  7. Deepfake dystopia — Russia's disinformation in Spain and Italy
  8. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us