The parliamentary assembly of the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe is considering a ban on two of its far-right members if they are affiliated with parties that are “neo-Nazi, racist and anti-Semitic,” euractiv.com reported on Tuesday.
The assembly on Tuesday challenged the membership of Greece’s ultranationalist Golden Dawn MP Eleni Zaroulia, as well as that of Hungary’s Tamas Gaudi Nagy of the far-right Jobbik party.
The challenge was introduced on procedural grounds by Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein, who said that the values of these parties were in conflict with the Council of Europe’s ideals and principles.
Both challenges were supported by at least 10 members of the assembly present in the chamber, belonging to at least five different national delegations.
“Ms Zaroulia has said in her country’s Parliament that the immigrants were sub-humans who invaded her homeland and spread diseases,” Nirenstein was quoted as saying. “Mr Gaudi Nagy has told his Parliament that there was a list of Jews representing a threat to national security, and who were exploiting the Holocaust to dominate the world.”
The Assembly’s Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs will meet to consider both challenges.
Earlier this month, three Greek MPs — two from socialist PASOK and one from Democratic Left — filed a motion in Parliament to have Zaroulia’s accreditation to the Council of Europe withdrawn.
In a letter addressed to Parliamentary Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis, the three MPs said that Zaroulia’s participation on the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, “has generated a barrage of strong reactions from European politicians and intellectuals, as well as from human rights organizations that deem Golden Dawn an overtly racist and neo-Nazi organization.”
The letter went on to say the participation of a “political party/organization that violates with its actions and with acts of violence the rights of local and foreign residents of this country” is “contradictory and tragically ironic.”
Zaroulia and Gaudi will continue to sit provisionally in the assembly until it has reached a decision.
The legal challenge, meanwhile, was opposed by Jean-Claude Mignon of France’s European People’s Party, who said that the pair had been elected following what has been considered democratic elections.
“It is not the job of the Assembly to tell the Hungarians or the Greeks ‘You voted correctly’, or ‘You didn’t vote correctly,” he was quoted as saying.