Europe 1 with AFP 5:06 p.m., February 17, 2022

After speaking during a debate on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary, a Bulgarian nationalist MEP made a Nazi salute on Wednesday in the hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, a gesture condemned by the president of this institution and which could lead to a penalty.

After speaking during a debate on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary, walking up the steps leading out of the hemicycle, Bulgarian nationalist MEP Angel Dzhambazki, from the eurosceptic group ECR, turns around and holds out his right arm in front of him a few seconds before leaving, can we see on the video of the debate available on the European Parliament website.

A Nazi salute condemned by the President of the European Parliament and which could give rise to a sanction.

"Long live Orban and the Europe of nation states"

"We will never allow you to tell us what we have to say and what we have to do. Long live Bulgaria, Hungary, Orban, Fidesz and the Europe of nation states", had previously declared the elected representative of the Bulgarian nationalist party VMRO at the desk of the hemicycle.

He also qualified on Twitter as "abomination" the decision of the Court of Justice of the EU which validated on Wednesday a mechanism, contested by Warsaw and Budapest, allowing to deprive of European funds a country where violations of the rule of law.

An "unacceptable, scandalous and unworthy" gesture

“A fascist salute in the European Parliament is unacceptable,” tweeted the president of the institution, the Maltese Roberta Metsola (EPP, right).

"It offends me and it offends everyone in Europe (...) This gesture is part of the darkest chapter of our history and must remain there".

The vice-president of the European Parliament, the Italian Pina Picierno, who led the debate at the time of the facts, had indicated earlier that the institution was going to check with the help of the cameras "if there was a fascist salute or not "and that if this was the case, sanctions would be taken.

French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune, who was present at the debate as part of the French EU presidency, called the gesture on Twitter "scandalous and unworthy".

The French delegation of the centrist group Renew Europe has asked Roberta Metsola "to act".

The rules of procedure of the European Parliament specify that MEPs "refrain from any inappropriate behavior" and "from any offensive remarks".

In the event of non-compliance with these rules, the sanction may relate in particular to participation in parliamentary activities or to allowances.