Angry words in the chamber are drastic, MEPs vote against plastic, and reaction to the Sakharov Prize is fantastic.
This week we are supported by the European Parliament.
And this week the European Parliament plenary session that descended into a slagging match after ECR leader Syed Kamall pressed the Godwin’s Law Nazi button.
Hitler Klaxon reported James Crisp after Kamall described Nazism as a “strain of socialism,” on Wednesday.
Furious response when @SyedKamall tells European Parliament that Nazi's were left wing. Amid shouts of "rubbish" and "Lies", Kemall blows the HITLER KLAXON.
"When you talk about right wing extremists we have to remember that nazis were national socialists…"
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) October 24, 2018
He was responding to comments made by S&D leader Udo Bullmann.
Kamall later apologized, but then followed that up with a tweet saying it was “nothing personal.” Adding “I have utmost respect for anyone who stood up to and fought against Nazism, Communism and any other kinds of extremism.”
It was not a personal comment aimed at any MEPs. I've apologised directly & unreservedly to Mr. Bullman for any offence caused. I have upmost respect for anyone who stood up & fought against Nazism, Communism & any other kinds of extremism, regardless of political affiliation.
— Syed Kamall (@SyedKamall) October 24, 2018
Quite a few people questioned Kamall’s grasp of 20th century European history, including Bullman himself. It was the Social Democrats who stood up against fascism!”, he said.
— Udo Bullmann (@UdoBullmann) October 24, 2018
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith said Kamall’s comments were “grossly offensive.” “These chancers are trashing the UK’s image.”
Awful from Tory leader in #EPlenary quipping that Nazis were “National Socialists” (speaking to Socialist Group leader). After Foreign Secretary “Soviet” jibe, grossly offensive, real upset around the Chamber. These chancers are trashing the UK’s image. Not in Scotland’s name.
— Alyn Smith MEP ????????? (@AlynSmith) October 24, 2018
Relax, guys, quipped Martini Seltzermayr… “he meant it as a compliment.”
Relax, guys, when @SyedKamall called all the lefties Nazis he meant it as a compliment.
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) October 24, 2018
In the middle of all this, Parliament president Antonio Tajani gave UKIP MEP Nigel Farage a ticking off for laughing: “Laughter is the last refuge of the stupid. You should learn to respect other people if you want respect yourself,” he said.
In the middle of all this, EP president Antonio Tajani gave Farage a ticking off for laughing – "laughter is the last refuge of the stupid. You should learn to respect other people if you want respect yourself." #EPlenary
— Luke James (@LEJ88) October 24, 2018
But Tajani himself was also in hot water this week after comments that appeared to denigrate Roma to second class citizens.
“The citizenship income will end up in the pockets of Roma, of foreign citizens (from the EU and non-EU) and certainly not in those of many Italians,” he said. Leading to widespread condemnation.
“We are appalled by the shameful comments of Antonio Tajani!” tweeted the European Greens.
“The citizenship income will end up in the pockets of Roma, of foreign citizens (from the EU and non-EU) and certainly not in those of many Italians."
— Europagruppe GRÜNE ?? (@Gruene_Europa) October 25, 2018
But Sam Morgan’s favourite part of whole furore is the outraged response of Commissioner Franz Timmermans at the end: “Has the Conservative party finally been eaten by UKIP?”
— Sam Morgan (@SamJamesMorgan) October 24, 2018
Good to see the European Parliament is now essentially just reddit in a chamber said Josh Lowe.
Good to see the European parliament is now essentially just reddit in a chamber https://t.co/z5UcXhY0wh
— Josh Lowe (@JeyyLowe) October 24, 2018
Thankfully there was also some serious business in the Parliament as well.
MEPs voted by 571 to 53 to ban single use plastics by 2021. That includes plastic plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks, and cotton buds.
— ENVI Committee Press (@EP_Environment) October 24, 2018
Lots and lots of people, including Marie Loff were delighted with the move.
Welcome news! The #EuropeanParliament approved the #singleuseplastics ban AND added great changes. Read a reseachers' view on why the environment – and all of us – need this new legislation. https://t.co/2Tlr1XHuZD @thebalticeye pic.twitter.com/e9wZYWY423
— Marie Löf (@lof_marie) October 25, 2018
Zero Waste Europe called it a historic stand to end the plastic pollution crisis, and urged national governments to follow suit.
BREAKING: #EPlenary European Parliament takes historic stand to end the #plasticpollution crisis, now national governments must follow suit.
Read our #pressrelease: https://t.co/W1kalJNo6j #rethinkplastic #breakfreefromplastic pic.twitter.com/lEbX4B2G5a
— Zero Waste Europe (@zerowasteeurope) October 24, 2018
Indeed, who on earth would vote against the ban of single-use plastic?
Enter stage right, self-styled “man of the people,” Nigel Farage once again.
This!@Europarl_EN adopted today the report by @Frederiqueries to ban #SingleUsePlastics in a bid to tackle pollution, 571 votes to 53 & 34 abstentions.
Who on earth would vote against the ban of single-use plastic?
Self-styled 'man of the people',@Nigel_Farage and friends… pic.twitter.com/DRRHTPEHHW
— J.N. PAQUET ✒ (@jnpaquet) October 24, 2018
Quite a few Tory MEPs also voted against the ban on plastic balloon sticks!
“I’ve done without balloon sticks for all my life, I see no reason to save them when the planet needs saving first,” said Catherine Bearder MEP.
Tory MEPs today voted against an EU-wide ban on plastic balloon sticks! I’ve done without balloon sticks for all my life, I see no reason to save them when the planet needs saving first.
— Catherine Bearder (@catherinemep) October 24, 2018
Seeing this sign, Thomas da Silva Rosa joked that the Dutch have already started a nationwide crackdown on the horrible crime of possessing a balloon!
— Thomas ?????? (@tdasilvarosa) October 23, 2018
I know it’s not the first time the EU sought to ban things but honestly this is the last straw added Seltzermayr.
I know it’s not the first time the EU sought to ban things but honestly this is the last straw https://t.co/FvzfY6f4Le
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) October 24, 2018
Finally on Thursday, showing it still manages dignity and tolerance on a grander scale, the Parliament announced the 2018 Sakharov Prize winner for Freedom of Thought.
The award went to Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director and human rights activist convicted to 20 years of imprisonment in a penal colony by a Russian court.
Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaitė ,was one of the first to welcome the news.
— Dalia Grybauskaitė (@Grybauskaite_LT) October 25, 2018
The prize will be awarded during the December plenary session of the European Parliament.
That’s it for this week. Join me again next Friday for the good the bad and the ugly in the Brussels Bubble Twittershphere.