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10th Dec 2018

British MEP asked to leave chamber over Nazi jibe

A British euro-sceptic MEP on Wednesday (24 November) was asked to leave the plenary chamber and is likely to face a fine after shouting a Nazi slogan and calling his German colleague Martin Schulz an "undemocratic fascist."

Mr Schulz, who is head of the Social-Democrats in the European Parliament, was in the process of giving a fiery speech 'exposing' the Franco-German entente with the UK on economic governance in return for a cap on next year's EU budget.

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Speaking in German and gesticulating intensly, Mr Schulz blamed Britain for opposing a move which would have private investors partly foot the bill during government bail-outs. "Does the UK decide on everything happening in the EU?" he asked.

Parliament chairman Jerzy Buzek intervened to remind him of the time limit, at which point Mr Schulz said he would only make one last remark and paused for a second.

"Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer," UK Independence Party member Godfrey Bloom shouted - a slogan used during Adolf Hitler's regime, meaning "One people, one empire, one leader."

Visibly hurt, Mr Schulz then repeated "what this man just said", so that everybody in the room and the translators would also be able to hear it.

With most MEPs voicing their outrage at the comments, Mr Buzek demanded that the British lawmaker apologise.

But Mr Bloom, upon a quick exchange with his UKIP colleagues, was unrepentant: "The views expressed by Herr Schulz make the case. He is an undemocratic fascist."

Citing parliamentary rules of procedure in Polish, Mr Buzek then ordered Mr Bloom to leave the chamber. He also asked the British MEP to come to his office and "discuss" the matter. When he later returned to take part in a vote, he was again asked to leave, prompting outrage from the Dutch Freedom Party.

One of the Dutch MEPs insisted that Mr Bloom's expulsion from the chamber had been unfair because Mr Schulz had not been sanctioned when he called another MEP from the Freedom Party a fascist.

All other group leaders rallied behind Mr Schulz and issued a joint statement firmly condemning the "insulting remarks" directed at him and requesting "a severe sanction" on Mr Bloom.

"We can never accept that members of the European Parliament insult their colleagues in a way that recalls the worst hours of our history," the statement reads.

Depending on the decision of the parliament's political leaders, Mr Bloom could face a fine of up to some €3,000, suspension of his parliamentary activities for 2-10 days and even removal from the "elected offices" he holds within the legislature. Mr Bloom is not chairing any parliamentary committee. He is a member of the economics and of the gender equality committees.

If fined, Mr Bloom would be the second UKIP member to face this penalty. Earlier this year, UKIP leader Nigel Farage was fined the maximum - €2,980 – after he refused to apologise to EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy, whom he had likened to a "damp rag" and a "low-grade bank clerk"

Mr Bloom later on Wednesday persisted in his accusations against Mr Schulz. In a press release, the British lawmaker said his colleague is an "unrepentant euro-nationalist and a socialist," because "he wants one currency, one EU state, one EU people."

"These Euro nationalists are a danger to democracy. These people are fanatics. (...) My father, as a Spitfire pilot, fought for freedom against Nazi domination of Europe. As an MEP, I will fight against the destruction of democracy across Europe," he concluded.

As for Mr Schulz, it is not the first time he is the victim of a Nazi comparison in the Strasbourg chamber.

In July 2003 Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi told Mr Schulz, who had criticised his immigration policy: "I know there is a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps.

"I shall put you forward for the role of Kapo [guard chosen from among the prisoners] - you'd be perfect," the Italian media-mogul carried on. He later refused to apologise, insisting the remark was a joke.

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