This is neither a slip nor a "little phrase". This is a detailed explanation that gave Wednesday afternoon on an Italian radio, the current President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani.
Former spokesman Silvio Berlusconi said about the founder of fascism: "We may not agree with his method (sic) … but we must be honest. Mussolini made roads, bridges, buildings, sports facilities. He has redeveloped so many parts of our Italy. In general, I do not consider his action in government as positive, but there are things that have been done. " These remarks triggered a flood of scandalized reactions on social networks in Italy, but also in the European Parliament. "The European Parliament can not be represented by a president who tolerates the action of the founder of fascism", responded the deputies of the European United Left (GUE-GVN), recalling that Mussolini had annihilated the Italian parliament from the beginning of his diet.
"It was he who gave the order to kill or imprison his political opponents, like the socialist leader Matteoti, assassinated in 1924, or Antonio Gramsci, imprisoned in 1927" adds the GUE.
Same reaction outraged by the Greens (ALE). The group's president, MP Ska Keller, described Antonio Tajani's remarks as "unworthy and absolutely unacceptable. For her, Antonio Tajani "must withdraw his remarks trivializing fascism or resign from the presidency of the European Parliament," the role of a president to be "to be on the front line to defend European values. Now, says Ska Keller, "Mussolini had abolished freedom of the press and the right to strike before the war."
For her, these remarks constitute "an insult to the memory of the Italians who suffered under the Mussolini regime. " The co-chair of the environmental group in the European Parliament, Belgian MP Philippe Lamberts (Greens-ALE) reminded his side that "this is not the first time that Tajani makes remarks flirting with the extreme right," while as president of the European Parliament, he "can not represent any particular party. "
On Thursday morning, Antonio Tajani set up the fires, assuring in a statement that he was "a convinced anti-fascist", and apologizing to all those whom his remarks might have shocked. No question, he added, to justify any "undemocratic or totalitarian regime. Tajani thought it worthwhile to remember that, moreover, Europe had been founded on the defeat of fascism. " Still. In his exit on Mussolini, Antonio Tajani, whose term as President of the European Parliament will end with the next elections, he wanted to address a sign to the extreme Italian right now in power? Philippe Lamberts does not seem far from thinking when he says that this is not the first time that Tajani "abuses its status as President of the European Parliament for Italian domestic policy purposes. "
Not to mention that the far-right groups and the Conservative group (EPP) is, according to the latest poll, the elbow-to-shoulder in the next European elections, it is hard to believe that the reference to Mussolini is likely to strengthen the group of conservatives, of which Tajani is currently part.