“The European Parliament is ridiculous, very ridiculous,” Juncker said, hitting the microphone with his arms as he gesticulated energetically. Parliament President Antonio Tajani was quick to reprimand him, insisting: “We are not ridiculous!”
Here are five other moments when the European Parliament definitely wasn’t ridiculous.
Silvio Berlusconi vs Martin Schulz (2003)
Forever the charmer, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi thought it hilarious to liken German Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz to a guard at a Nazi concentration camp, saying Schulz would be good for the part in a movie. Incensed, Schulz said Berlusconi had “lost his manners.” Berlusconi took the “It was just a joke” defense, saying his words were supposed to be taken “with irony.” “If you are not able to understand irony, I’m sorry,” he said, before accusing Schulz of insulting him.
Nigel Farage vs Herman Van Rompuy (2010)
Nigel Farage, then leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), launched a tirade against then European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, saying he had the charisma of “a damp rag” and the appearance of a “low-grade bank clerk,” before simply asking, “Who are you? I’d never heard of you. No one in Europe had ever heard of you.” Farage also called Van Rompuy “the quiet assassin of European democracy.” For good measure, he also insulted Van Rompuy’s home country, calling Belgium “a non-country.”
Daniel Cohn-Bendit vs the Earl of Dartmouth (2012)
The Earl of Dartmouth William Legge, a UKIP MEP, asked French Green MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit: “Why can’t you understand that federalism, European regulations, and the wasteful, wasted European budgets are no cure for the European disease, they are the cause of the European disease?” If you thought that was pointed, you should watch Cohn-Bendit’s response: “Mr. Earl,” Cohn-Bendit said, mimicking the earl’s gestures, “Why can’t you understand that the times of the earls are over?” After going on for while, Cohn-Bendit said: “Can’t you understand the modern world, Mr. Earl?”
Guy Verhofstadt vs Alexis Tsipras (2015)
The former Belgian prime minister and leader of the ALDE group wagged his finger in the direction of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras over Greece’s inability to enact reforms. “I am angry because you are talking about reforms, but we never see complete proposals of reforms!” Tsipras took it all in with a wry smile before defending his government’s record.
Janusz Korwin-Mikke vs Iratxe García-Perez (2017)
Polish far-right MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke went medieval in the Parliament earlier this year, explaining the gender wage gap as a consequence of nature. “Of course, women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, less intelligent and they must earn less.” Spanish MEP Iratxe García-Perez responded fittingly: “I know that you’re very upset and very concerned that we women can represent citizens on an equal footing with you,” she said. “I think I need to defend European women from people like you,” García-Perez said, pointing at Korwin-Mikke, who was later suspended from Parliament.
Author: Saim Saeed