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Yesterday, on the 7th February 2018, the European Parliament had to vote on whether or not to dismiss Ryszard Czarnecki, Polish MP who was also one of the 14 Parliament’s vice-presidents. They voted to dismiss him by 447 votes against 196, and 30 abstentions. This was the first time that such a vote has been done.

Czarnecki is a member of the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) Polish party, which itself is part of the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR) in the European Parliament. This vote took place after a polemic in which he called another Polish MEP, Roza Thun, a “shmaltsovnik”, which is an extremely pejorative word meaning someone who blackmailed Jews or Polish hiding Jews during the German Nazi occupation and collaborated with the Nazis.

Deutsche Welle explains that “his slur came after Thun had told a German broadcaster that the ruling PiS party was moving the country towards a « dictatorship. »”. In fact, Poland has been greatly criticised for the last few months because of its new policy and bills which go against the rule of law. The most recent one “allows the government to jail anyone who, « publicly and against the facts, » suggests that Poles or Poland had any involvement in Nazi war crimes committed during World War II.

However, in the European Parliament MPs cannot get away with “over the line” remarks and even though M. Czarnecki remains an MP since he was democratically elected a new vote for another VP from ECR will take place.

The next European elections are only a year away; depending on how the voting goes, with far-right candidates asserting their position in several European countries, these kinds of laws, slurs and ways of governing might continue to be very present.

 

Carolina Duarte de Jesus

 

For further information:

 

“European Parliament dismisses Polish Vice President Ryszard Czarnecki over Nazi slur”, DW, 2018, [consulté en ligne le 08/02/2018]. http://www.dw.com

“Polish president signs controversial Holocaust bill into law”, DW, 2018, [consulté en ligne le 08/02/2018]. http://www.dw.com

BAUME Maïa de la, “MEPs vote to remove Ryszard Czarnecki as vice president”, Politico, 2018, [consulté en ligne le 08/02/2018]. http://www.politico.eu

Bulletin Quotidien Europe 11956, Agence Europe, 2018, [consulté en ligne le 08/02/2018]. http://www.agenceurope.eu

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