Wednesday

17th Aug 2022

Polish MEP reprimanded for anti-Semitic publication

Polish right-wing MEP Maciej Giertych has been formally reprimanded by the European Parliament for publishing an anti-Semitic pamphlet.

Parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering told MEPs gathered in Strasbourg on Wednesday (14 March) that he "'deeply regretted what is objectively a serious breach of the fundamental rights and in particular the dignity of human beings to which our institution so strongly adheres."

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In a letter to Mr Giertych, Mr Poettering said that the "European Parliament, which thrives on lively political debate and unfailingly condemns all forms of xenophobia, should under no circumstances be associated with the views published in your brochure."

The move against the Polish politician is the first time a president of the parliament has used the parliament rule book to chastise an MEP for violating "the fundamental values of the European Union."

Called 'Civilisations at War in Europe", the Giertych booklet suggests, amongst other things, that Jews are "biologically different" from "gentiles."

The European Jewish Congress has said the document is anti-Semitic and has asked the Polish government to remove Mr Giertych's parliamentary immunity so he can be sued.

The parliament's reprimand comes a month after the 32-page document was published with the parliament wrong-footed by the fact that it also bore the assembly's logo.

It took some days to establish that the book had no EU funding despite the logo, and some time for Mr Poettering to react officially.

The president then took the matter to the parliament's bureau which agreed that Mr Giertych should be sanctioned.

The reprimand is the lightest of the sanctions contained in Article 147 of the parliament's rules of procedure.

The heaviest - "suspension or removal from one or more of the elected offices" held by an MEP - is reserved for repeat offenders.

Speaking to Polish news agency PAP after seeing Mr Poettering's statements on Wednesday, Mr Giertych rejected the accusations. "Where are those things in my book, about which Mr Poettering is talking about?" he asked.

This is not the first time the 70-year old Pole has provoked controversy within the parliament. Last year he drew widespread condemnation from fellow MEPs for praising Spain's fascist dictator General Franco.

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