European Parliament axes vice president over Nazi jibe

European Parliament axes vice president over Nazi jibe
By Catherine Hardy
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Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki has been ousted after a comment comparing a fellow MEP to a wartime informer denouncing Jews to the Nazis.


The European Parliament has removed one of its vice presidents from his position after he sparked outrage by comparing a fellow Polish MEP to a Nazi collaborator.

The Conference of Presidents, the body made up of the leaders of the political groups in the European Parliament, had already voted to end Ryszard Czarnecki’s term due to “serious misconduct.”

The decision was confirmed at a plenary vote in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

Czarnecki is a member of the governing PiS party in Poland. He will remain an MEP with the Eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).

The story

The heads of four groups in the European Parliament called for Czarnecki's dismissal in January. ¨

He had compared fellow Polish MEP Róża Thun (PO) to a type of informer who preyed on Jews during the Holocaust. Thun had appeared in a documentary produced by German public broadcaster NDR.

He used a pejorative Polish term describing people who blackmailed Jews or informed on them to the occupying forces under the German occupation of Poland during the Second World War.

According to Czarnecki, Thun had "taken on the role of informer against her own country."

"Don't ask me if I feel vindicated. Today's vote was necessary, but it is a really annoying situation. Thank-you for all your messages of support," Thun told reporters in the parliament in Strasbourg.

The vote in numbers

  • 447 - MEPs who voted to dismiss Czarnecki from his post
  • 196 - MEPs who voted against 

A two-thirds majority was required to remove Czarnecki from his position as one of the assembly's 14 vice-presidents.

So who will replace him?

Czarnecki's successor is likely to be elected at the next session of the European Parliament.

Another MEP from Poland's governing conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party is expected to fill the vacancy.

Additional sources • Radio Poland, The Parliament magazine

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