Statement by European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani
Strasbourg, 14 March 2019
“As a convinced anti-fascist, I apologise to all those who may have been offended by what I said, which in no way intends to justify or play down an anti-democratic and totalitarian regime.
“I am deeply saddened that, despite my personal and political history, some may feel that I would choose to be lenient with regards to fascism.
“I have always been whole-heartedly anti-fascist. I have always stressed that Mussolini and fascism were the darkest chapter in the history of the past century, without any distinction.
“I have always fought against any form of dictatorship or totalitarianism.
“As I said with great resolve last October in the plenary chamber, Europe was built upon the defeat of fascism and it is the strongest bulwark against any form of totalitarianism.”
On the news that President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani made comments praising the fascist dictator of Italy, Benito Mussolini, President of the Greens/EFA group, Ska Keller comments:
“The statements made by the President of the European Parliament are unworthy and absolutely unacceptable. Antonio Tajani must withdraw his trivialisation of fascism or resign as President of the European Parliament.
“As President of the Parliament he must be the first defender of European values; Mussolini’s fascism is for sure not part of this. Already before the war Mussolini had abolished freedom of press and the right to strike. He put in place a dictatorship and dissolved the Parliament. The words of Tajani insult the memory of Italians who suffered under Mussolini’s regime and he needs to retract his statements.”
President of the Greens/EFA group Philippe Lamberts adds:
“It is not the first time that Tajani flirts with the far-right in his words. It is also not the first time that he abuses his role as President of the European Parliament to campaign in national Italian politics. As President of the European Parliament, Tajani must respect his role to represent the house and not one particular party.”
Tajani must resign over praise for Mussolini
Demanding his resignation, the GUE/NGL group expresses its shock and outrage at the statements made by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Italian radio.
In a clear attempt to normalise fascism, Tajani said, “before the war, Mussolini did positive things. Until the war and the alliance with Hitler, until the race laws, apart the dramatic assassination of Giacomo Matteotti, Mussolini did good things like infrastructure. You have to be honest”.
The fascist regime in Italy was a tragedy that spread worldwide, culminating in a world war that killed hundreds of millions with unprecedented destruction.
Mussolini annihilated the Italian parliament at the start of his regime, and his orders to kill or jail political opponents included Socialist leader Matteotti, murdered in 1924, and Antonio Gramsci who was jailed in 1927.
Tajani’s statements are outrageous and completely unacceptable. How can someone who represents the main democratic institution in the EU resorts to the same old slogans that fascists and the extreme right have being using since the end of the war to justify the Mussolini regime.
GUE/NGL demands Tajani’s immediate resignation. Europe is now facing a tough fight against the extreme right and openly neo-fascist organisations.
This Parliament cannot be represented by a President who tolerates the fascist initiator himself.