Bulgarian MEP’s salute causes scandal at EU parliament

Raf Casert
Associated Press

Brussels – The European Parliament on Thursday launched a disciplinary procedure against a Bulgarian nationalist legislator who appeared to make a Nazi salute when he left a plenary debate on the rule of law this week.

MEP Angel Dzhambazki of the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists group said his raising of his right arm as he walked out of the plenary late Wednesday was “an example of taking something out of context” and blowing it out of proportion.

“I will not allow my name to be slandered,” he said in a Tweet.

In this image taken from a video, MEP Angel Dzhambazki of the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists group, raises his right arm at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola identified it as a Nazi salute however, and said that “a fascist salute in the European Parliament is unacceptable to me – always and everywhere.”

“These kind of gestures should be committed to the darkest chapters of our history and they should be staying there,” she said, before adding that she has started a sanctions procedure.

Dzhambazki will likely be invited to come explain himself before sanctions could be discussed. Possible punishments could include financial sanctions and suspension from parliamentary proceedings.

The incident happened late Wednesday in the debate on the EU’s highest court ruling that the 27-nation bloc can suspend support payments to member states if they breach rule of law principles.

The right-wing governments of Hungary and Poland, which had challenged the EU’s right to take such action, responded by arguing that the rule lacked a proper legal basis and would fundamentally interfere with their running of national business.

Dzhambazki called the ruling “an abomination.”