Strasbourg, France, Mar 14 – The European Parliament punished a Polish extreme-right MEP on Tuesday after he said women should be paid less because they are “weaker and less intelligent” than men.
Parliament President Antonio Tajani said Janusz Korwin-Mikke had received an “unprecedented” sanction, including the forfeit of his daily MEP allowance for 30 days, totalling 9,210 euros ($9,800).
The 74-year-old Korwin-Mikke was also suspended from parliamentary activities for 10 days and will be prohibited from representing the parliament for one year.
The Polish MEP has previously been punished by the EU assembly for making racist comments and remarks about the Holocaust.
“I will not tolerate such behaviour, in particular when it comes from someone who is expected to discharge his duties as a representative of the peoples of Europe with due dignity,” Tajani said in a statement.
Campaign group Avaaz welcomed the sanction, which came after almost one million people signed a petition asking that the European Parliament punish Korwin-Mikke.
“Nearly one million Europeans are calling for a parliament that promotes equality and unity, not one that becomes a megaphone for hate speech,” said Avaaz campaigner Patricia Martin Diaz.
Tajani launched an inquiry following a bitter exchange in the chamber earlier this month in which the bowtie-wearing, moustachioed Korwin-Mikke interrupted female Spanish MEP, Iratxe Garcia-Perez.
“Of course women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent, they must earn less, that’s all,” Korwin-Mikke told parliament.
He then added: “Do you know how many women are in the first 100 of chess players? I tell you: no one.”
Garcia Perez then shot back: “According to what you are saying… I would not have the right to be here.
“I think I have to defend European women to men like you,” she said.
Korwin-Mikke has previously courted controversy by claiming Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was “not aware of the extermination of the Jews”, calling refugees “human garbage” and using a racist term to refer to black Americans.