Saturday

7th Dec 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans

An emergency resolution adopted at the European People's Party (EPP) congress in Zagreb calls on the EU Council and member states to take a positive decision on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible.

Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

The outgoing president of the EU council, Donald Tusk, is set to be elected as the president of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP). Tusk will have to deal with the final decision over Hungary's ruling Fidesz.

Catalan MEP is 'elected', court advisor says

In a boost for the cause of three Catalan MEPs, the advocate general of the EU Court of Justice has recognised their mandate as elected MEPs - but it is up to the parliament if they should enjoy immunity.

Far-right Vox celebrates, as Spain left without majority

Although the governing Socialists Party (PSOE) won the most seats at Sunday's elections, the political deadlock continues with a deeply-fragmented scenario, in which the far-right Vox party is in a strong position while the centre has become irrelevant.

Can Sunday's election end Spain's endless deadlock?

Uncertainty surrounding this weekend's Spanish election - the fourth in four years - is rising, as polls suggest that the outcome of Sunday's vote could be as inconclusive April's election. Thousands of police are on the streets of Barcelona.

News in Brief

  1. Greece denies access to fair asylum process, report says
  2. Report: Self-regulation of social media 'not working'
  3. Turkey: Greek expulsion of Libyan envoy 'outrageous'
  4. Merkel coalition may survive, says new SPD co-leader
  5. Von der Leyen Ethiopia visit a 'political statement'
  6. Over 5,500 scientists ask EU to protect freshwater life
  7. Iran defies EU and UN on ballistic missiles
  8. Committee of the Regions: bigger budget for Green Deal

Wilmès becomes first female PM of Belgium

On Sunday, Sophie Wilmès was appointed as the new prime minister of Belgium - becoming the first female head of government in the country's history. She replaces Charles Michel who becomes president of the European Council.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Russia makes big promises to Arctic peoples on expansion
  2. UK election plus EU summit in focus This WEEK
  3. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  4. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  5. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  6. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  7. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  8. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us