Far-right Polish MEP saves Farage group

Met dank overgenomen van EUobserver (EUOBSERVER), gepubliceerd op maandag 20 oktober 2014, 19:42.
Auteur: Andrew Rettman

BRUSSELS - Nigel Farage’s eurosceptic group in the European Parliament has been saved by a Pole with unusual views on women.

The so-called EFDD group said on Monday (20 October) that Robert Iwaszkiewicz, from Poland’s far-right KNP party, has joined its ranks.

The news comes after a Latvian deputy abandoned Farage last week, leaving his group one nationality short of the minimum seven required by parliament rules.

The musical chairs is causing some controversy.

Hermann Kelly, an EFDD spokesman, said Iwaszkiewicz signed up last Thursday, before the Latvian quit, meaning the group never broke up in the first place.

But parliament spokesman Jaume Duch said: “The EFDD group doesn't exist anymore … [so] forming starts from scratch”. He said the process can take “one day or several”.

Meanwhile, the Iwaszkiewicz move has prompted speculation Farage might help KNP form a new far-right group by giving it some EFDD members in return.

Kelly denied there is a deal in the making: “Certainly not. He [Iwaszkiewicz ] joined the EFDD group with no conditions attached”.

Farage declined to comment when contacted by phone, saying: “Not interested, mate. I’m in Yorkshire [an English county]”.

But Polish daily Rzeczpospolita on Monday cited another KNP euro-deputy, Michal Marusik, as having said: “We are trying to form our own group, so if Farage wants to keep his one together, then he has enough people to help us”.

A KNP spokesman in Warsaw, Piotr Palutkiewicz, told this website: “We are open to co-operation with all eurosceptic movements”.

Official parliament groups get more money from the EU and more speaking time in plenary sessions.

But the KNP link-up comes at a time when Fararge’s Ukip party is trying to break through into mainstream British politics

The KNP leader, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, backs the death penalty, says women shouldn’t vote, and was recently fined €3,000 by the EU assembly for racist language.

Iwaszkiewicz himself, a 52-year old entrepreneur, was in May asked by Polish daily Gazeta Wroclawska whether it is acceptable for men to hit their wives. “I’m sure there’s quite a few wives around who would be brought back down to earth by such a reaction”, he replied.

Iwaszkiewicz could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Palutkiewicz said he was “misquoted”.

But when asked if Iwaszkiewicz has demanded a retraction, he said only that the Polish publication is "known for being anti-KNP".

“It’s not true the KNP is sexist. We're a party of gentlemen with very good manners. We appreciate women and we treat them in a very gentlemanly way”, he added.

The EFDD’s Kelly said “I don’t care what the Polish media says … we’re happy for him [Iwaszkiewicz] to be in the group. We asked him to join. That’s it”.


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