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EP might sanction Polish MEP over Anti-Semitic booklet

By Yossi Lempkowicz
http://www.ejpress.org/article/news/14535
27/Feb/2007

BRUSSELS (EJP) --- The President of the European Parliament is likely to seize the parliament's bureau this week on eventual sanctions against a Polish MEP whose anti-Semitic booklet has sparked outrage among European Union officials, Jewish organisations and in Poland.

The 32-page brochure "Civilizations at war in Europe", which carries a prominent European Parliament logo on the front cover, was published two weeks ago by Maciej Giertych. It was sent to fellow MEPs and distributed through his website.

It says Jews like to settle "among the rich", "create their own ghettos" because they like to separate themselves from others.

It also speaks of Jewish "biological separation" leading to differences in facial features.

Investigation

Despite the fact that the European Parliament stressed that it didn't fund the publication, the body's President Hans-Gert Poettering asked the parliament's secretary general to prepare an administrative report to investigate how the logo appeared on the publication.

Poettering said he was "profoundly troubled" by the text, stressing that racism is "against fundamental European values."


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Hans-Gert Poettering, President of the European Parliament, was "profoundly troubled" by the brochure. "Racism is against fundamental European values," he said.



His spokesman, Jaume Duch, told EJP the parliament's bureau is likely to be seized next Thursday for recommendations on eventual sanctions against the Polish member.
The bureau is made up of the president, the vice-presidents and the quaestors.

"There is no ex-ante scrutiny of MEPs' publications," a parliament official said. "You cannot ask members to submit what they want to publish in advance. Freedom of speech is an important right in the European Parliament."

Under rules 9, 146 and 147 of parliament procedure, MEPs who violate "fundamental values of the EU" can also be excluded from sessions and lose financial allowances.

Public incitement

The EU's German presidency is currently pushing EU member states to pass a new law criminalising "public incitement to violence or hatred, even by dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material."

Giertych, a 71-year-old biology professor, is a member of the ultra-Catholic League of Polish Families, a junior partner in Poland's coalition government, and father of Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Roman Giertych.

He was not available for comment

He is a member of the newly formed extreme-right political group within the European Parliament led by French MEP Bruno Gollnisch, who was recently sentenced for Holocaust denial in France.

At a press conference last Friday in Brussels, Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych declined to distance himself from his father's ideas, saying it was not his place to comment, he had not read his father's book and that the quotes he had seen in the press were probably out of context.

Poland President Lech Kaczynski denounced the booklet, saying it "worried me seriously".