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Bulgarian MEP infamous for anti-Roma rhetoric gives Nazi salute on the floor of the European Parliament

17.2.2022 12:18
Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki gave the Nazi salute on 16 February 2022 on the floor of the European Parliament. (PHOTO:  Twitter)
Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki gave the Nazi salute on 16 February 2022 on the floor of the European Parliament. (PHOTO: Twitter)

Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki has given the Nazi salute on the floor of the European Parliament (EP). His actions were captured on video and he has been accused by leading EP officials of gross misconduct. 

Dzhambazki, who is also known for his anti-Roma statements, used the Nazi greeting yesterday during the debate on the rule of law in Hungary and Poland. He has since claimed he was just "waving" to the Parliament.

German MEP Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People's Party group, which is the strongest faction in the European Parliament, has called that alleged "wave" a "Hitler salute". EP President Roberta Metsola said: "The Fascist salute in the European Parliament is unacceptable."

"This offends me and everyone in Europe (...) This gesture is part of the darkest chapter of our history and must remain there," Metsola has written. 

French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune, who took part in the debate on behalf of France's EU Presidency, called the gesture "scandalous and undignified". Czech MEP Mikuláš Peksa of the Pirate Party commented on social media as follows: "Meet Mr Angel Dzhambazki, a Bulgarian colleague of [Czech MEP] Mr Zahradil and [Czech MEP] Mr Vondra from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group."

"He addressed the plenary right after me and used this traditional salute from the first half of the 1940s to bid us farewell, adding that he is proud of his country," Peksa tweeted. According to the Slovak news server Denník N, which cites the Euractiv and Politico news servers, Dzhambazki supported Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party during the debate.

The Bulgarian MEP said the EU cannot "dictate" to the Member States. He later claimed that since he had said things during the debate that must have provoked more MEPs, he wanted to "apologize" to them by "humbly waving" as he left.

Dzhambazki now says there has been a "minor misunderstanding" of what his gesture meant. The Bulgarian MEP is a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists faction, which also includes the Czech Civic Democratic Party and the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party of Poland.

He represents the nationalist VMRO party, and said during his remarks yesterday: "We will never allow you to tell us what to say and what to do. Long live Bulgaria, Hungary, [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán, [Hungarian governing party] Fidesz and the Europe of nation-states." 

Bulgaria's VMRO party was part of the governing coalition there until May 2021. Last year, it won just 1 % percent of the vote and no longer has a representative in the national Parliament. 

Previously, 27 VMRO MPs had been seated in the legislature. The party won 7.1 % of the vote in the 2019 European Parliament elections.

VMRO is described as a Fascist movement in a report by the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). Bulgarian Roma have previously initiated a petition against Dzhambazki, as they have been bothered by his anti-Roma statements.

Dzhambazki criticized the recent ruling of the EU Court of Justice yesterday. The court rejected Hungary's and Poland's complaints against a mechanism that conditions the use of European funds on respect for the rule of law.

The European Parliament's management has announced that they will check yesterday's video footage and assess whether the gesture was a Nazi salute. If it is confirmed to have been one, Dzhambazki should face punishment.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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antigypsyism, Bulgaria, European Parliament, Extremism



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