European Parliament demands power to punish sexist, racist MEPs

Janusz Korwin-Mikke has often made racist and sexist comments in the European Parliament. [European Parliament]

European Parliament Vice-President Ramón Luis Valcárcel (EPP) wants to impose a “tough penalty” on Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke, whose repeated misogynistic tirades have become an embarrassment to the institution. EURACTIV Spain reports.

Korwin-Mikke once again shocked MEPs with an outrageous sexist diatribe during last week’s debate on the pay gap between men and women.

Appalling as this was, the independent MEP’s track record of racist, xenophobic and sexist comments in the European Parliament meant it was anything but a surprise. He has become an embarrassing thorn in the side for the institution, which likes to project itself as the guardian of the European values of tolerance and equality.

But the Parliament has no tools to fight this kind of behaviour.

“If it was up to me, I would already have thrown him out and hauled him up in court,” the Partido Popular lawmaker said in an interview with EFE.

He said he regrets the absence of “rules to protect us” from these kinds of comments.

In the Parliament last Thursday (2 March), Korwin-Mikke said women should expect to earn less than men because they are “weaker, smaller and less intelligent”.

The Parliament vice-president said it was essential to be able to press a “red button” to interrupt MEPs if they make insulting statements or use racist or xenophobic language during their interventions.

For Valcárcel, the Polish MEP, whom he described as “a crass and abhorrent individual”, is not the only one that should be censored.

A “red button”

“One slip-up is one too many. But we are not talking about just one person here, there are several and they tend to come from the same political groups,” said Valcárcel, referring to the Parliament’s extreme-right wing, which “spouts the most incredible nonsense”, and the extreme-left wing, “where the Spanish members do everything within their power, including lying, to embarrass Spain”.

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Persistent offender

“When Korwin-Mikke made these comments, that was exactly the moment to stop him, to throw him out and tell him: you can never set foot in this parliament again,” the Spanish MEP said.

Instead, the institution has consistently shown its powerlessness to punish persistent offenders like Korwin-Mikke, who is at least now being investigated.

“This man had been expelled several times. I have stopped him speaking several times,” the vice-president said. “His insults are an affront to the institution, to citizens and to human intelligence and have nothing to do with the freedom of expression.”

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Socialists and Democrats group leader Gianni Pittella said on Thursday (9 March) that Korwin-Mikke would be sanctioned for his comments.