UPDATE: Farage fined, EU Parliament President considering sanctions against UKIP MEP
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
UPDATE: Nigel Farage has been fined 10 days’ MEP allowances – about £2,700 – following his attack on the credentials of the European council president, Herman van Rompuy, last week.
The Ukip MEP was today summoned to see the European parliament’s president, Jerzy Buzek, who demanded that he apologise to Belgium, its people and its former prime minister for his remarks.
When Farage refused, Buzek said he was considering sanctions, including possible suspension from the chamber, against him.
UK Independence Party Member of European Parliament Nigel Farage has refused to back down over comments he directed toward EU chief and global governance proponent Herman van Rompuy during a speech in front of the EU parliament last week.
In response to calls to apologise for saying van Rompuy had “the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low grade bank clerk”, Farage announced that he would apologise, but only to bank clerks the world over.
“If I have offended them I am very sorry indeed.” Farage quipped before stressing “I am not going to apologise to Herman van Rompuy, I am not going to apologise to the European Parliament, and I’m certainly not going to apologise to the people of Belgium.”
Farage defended his comments as “realistic, truthful and a necessary part of waking the people up to van Rompuy’s plans for an economic government of the EU.”
“The president has said he will not let this happen again. What a democratic institution this is isn’t it?” Farage said, adding “He will let me know shortly what my penalty will be.”
Farage expects to be suspended for a period of time, and foresees an attempt by van Rompuy and Parliament President Jerzy Buzek to take away his position as leader of a group in the Parliament.
The backlash directed at Farage comes after he savaged Bilderberg member van Rompuy last week, labeling the EU President “the quiet assassin of European nation states” and adding that his position has “no legitimacy”.
The job of president of the European Council, now occupied by van Rompuy, was created under the Lisbon Treaty, which was passed without a referendum in Britain and despite previous majority opposition in countries such as the Netherlands and France.
“Frankly, what Mr van Rompuy wants to do is to take away from us our rights of democracy and self government. You can’t do that without us as elected members coming back and saying we’re not very happy about it.” Farage told reporters today.
“All I can say is that those of us who have battled against the European institutions, on the basis that they are becoming fundamentally undemocratic, have been proved to be right.” Farage said.
“I have not used unparliamentary language, I have not incited dislike or hatred, I have merely expressed an opinion, and in doing so there is now actually a debate about who is Herman van Rompuy, Why is he being paid more than Obama, and just what powers has he got. I’m not going to apologise if what I have said has sparked a debate off right throughout the EU about these institutions.” he added.
“This is clearly an issue of freedom of speech. The same rulebook that is being thrown at me also contains the guarantee that Members freedom of speech should not be undermined.”
“I will appeal any ruling by Mr Buzek, who clearly has a different interpretation of freedom of speech to me.” Farage asserted.
“This is about free speech, the right to say what is not popular with the political elite, and the right to represent my constituents as I see fit.” Farage said.
“After all, unlike Mr van Rompuy, I have been elected.”
Watch Nigel Farage’s comments to reporters today in the European Parliament in Brussels:
This article was posted: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 10:57 am