'Nazi salute' sparks uproar in European Parliament

Bulgarian lawmaker Angel Dzambazki said his gesture was just "humbly waving."

MEPs take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (photo credit: REUTERS)
MEPs take part in a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The European Parliament may sanction a Bulgarian lawmaker who made what appeared to be a Nazi salute on Wednesday.

Angel Dzambazki, of the Bulgarian nationalist VMRO Party, part of the Eurosceptic ECR group, made the gesture in a European Parliament debate on the European Court of Justice ruling that certain EU budgetary benefits can be conditional on rule of law.

Hungary and Poland challenged the rule of law mechanism, and Dzambazki came to the defense of those countries in his remarks.

“Today’s ruling of the ECJ is an abomination,” Djambazki tweeted, along with a video of his speech. “There is no sane person who thinks that Hungary or Poland have no functioning rule of law. Instead, you use it as a whip against the nation-states you despise. Long live the nation-states of Europe!”

A different video shows Djambazki walking out of the hemicycle, as the European Parliament plenum is known, and lifting his right hand in a way that resembles a Nazi salute.

The gesture sparked an uproar, with European Parliament President Roberta Metsola preparing to launch proceedings to sanction Djambazki for violating a rule that MEPs must conduct themselves “based on the values and principles laid down in the Treaties, and particularly in the Charter of Fundamental Rights,” he tweeted. “Members shall respect Parliament’s dignity and shall not harm its reputation. 

"A fascist salute in the European Parliament is unacceptable to me – always and everywhere. It offends me and everyone else in Europe. We stand for the opposite. We are the house of democracy. That gesture is from the darkest chapter of our history and must be left there.”

Manfred Weber, chairman of the right-wing EPP Group in the European Parliament, said: “We condemn this in the harshest possible terms. It is the opposite of what the [European Parliament] stands for and we call for immediate sanctioning.”

Dzambazki, however, said he was “humbly waving to the chair” and not making a Nazi salute. In an email to MEPs, he called the accusation “libel and defamation.”

“When you mistake a simple wave with a Nazi salute you have a real Godwin’s law problem,” he tweeted. “The fact that one disagrees with you does not mean he is a Nazi. I apologize if my innocent wave (meant as an excuse) has insulted anyone but this is some serious case of Reductio ad absurdum.”

Godwin’s law says that the longer an internet argument goes on, the more likely there will be a comparison to Nazis or Hitler.