Tuesday

25th Jul 2017

French far-right MEP fined for Holocaust remarks

French far-right MEP Bruno Gollnisch has been fined by a French court for remarks made in 2004 putting the Holocaust into question.

The Lyon court on Thursday (18 January) found that Mr Gollnisch, highly-ranked in France's National Front, had "disputed a crime against humanity", handed him a three-month suspended jail sentence and fined him €5,000.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The court also ordered him to pay €55,000 euros in damages to the plaintiffs and to pay for the judgment to be published in the newspapers that originally printed his remarks, Reuters reports.

The judgement comes just days after Mr Gollnisch formed a far-right political group - "Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty (ITS)" - in the European Parliament, so that he was not in court to hear the verdict as he was attending a plenary session in the EU assembly in Strasbourg.

Mr Gollnisch said he would appeal the verdict saying "this scandal goes beyond my personal case in a country that is otherwise the most advanced in the world in the area of freedom of expression."

"Nothing is more unbearable than the injustice of the justice. I will naturally appeal this ruling," his statement continued.

The MEP's Holocaust remarks were made at a press conference in Lyons in 2004.

He is reported as saying at the conference that "Historians have the right to discuss the number of deaths and the way that they died. Fifty years after the facts we can discuss the real number of deaths."

The "existence of the gas chambers is for historians to discuss," he was also quoted as saying at the time.

The court verdict is likely to strengthen the feeling of other mainstream MEPs in the European Parliament who want to marginalize the group.

They have already said they will try and keep the newly-formed 20-strong caucus away from positions of power in the assembly and limit its activities. There have also been discussions that the rules for forming a group should be made more difficult from 2009, when the next legislature starts.

For its part, the ITS group is already in some disarray due to internal bickering between its members.

UK member Ashley Mote criticised his Bulgarian colleague 23-year old Dimitar Stoyanov for comments made earlier in the week where he said he opposed the "Jewish establishment" and accused Roma parents in Bulgaria of selling their daughters into prostitution.

"I think the comments reflect the inexperience and lack of political nous of the young man concerned. I have twice given him the opportunity to make a statement and he has rejected the opportunity to do so," Mr Mote was reported as saying by UK daily The Independent.

ITS has 20 MEPs - just the threshold required to form a group. If any were to leave, the group would automatically officially cease to exist.

German Holocaust ban idea meeting resistance

EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini has spoken in favour of a German proposal to criminalise denial of the Holocaust across the 27-member bloc - but the fiercest resistance against such a move comes from Frattini's own country, Italy.

MEPs freeze out extreme right group

MEPs have rallied together against members of the European Parliament's new far-right group to exclude them from key positions in parliament committees.

Journalists on trial highlight Turkey crackdown

The trial, which opened Monday, of 17 journalists and administrative employees of the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet is considered one of the most important episodes in a systematic campaign to silence dissent.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  3. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  4. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  5. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  6. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  7. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  8. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  10. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  11. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  12. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way

Latest News

  1. EU and Turkey fail to defuse tensions
  2. European law will apply 'for years' in the UK, says EU judge
  3. US votes to sanction EU firms in Russia project
  4. Journalists on trial highlight Turkey crackdown
  5. EU to give research tips on dual food quality
  6. Polish president's veto leaves uncertainties over next move
  7. EU Commission unmoved by Polish president's veto
  8. UK presses the Brexit pause button