Polish lawmaker dismissed from European Parliament

European Parliament votes to dismiss Ryszard Czarnecki of Poland for comparing rival parliament member to a Nazi collaborator.

Nissan Tzur ,

European Parliament
European Parliament

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to dismiss one of its vice presidents, Ryszard Czarnecki of Poland, after he compared a rival Polish parliament member to a Nazi collaborator, The Associated Press reported.

The European lawmakers voted 447-196, reaching the two-thirds hurdle required to remove Czarnecki from his position.

Czarnecki, who was one of 14 vice presidents, will continue to be a member of the parliament in Strasbourg, France, representing Poland's ruling Law and Justice party.

Last month Czarnecki called Roza Thun, a European Parliament lawmaker from Poland's opposition Civic Platform party, a "shmaltsovnik," a derogatory term for the Poles who blackmailed Jews, or Poles hiding Jews, during the Nazi German occupation of Poland.

His words came after Thun criticized the Polish ruling party in a German TV broadcast, accusing authorities of moving the country toward "dictatorship."

Parliamentary party leaders had called for Czarnecki's dismissal over "serious misconduct", according to AP.

Following the vote on Wednesday, Czarnecki described the move against him as "anti-Polish," and said he does not regret defending Poland against opposition politicians who criticize Poland abroad.

"I have been faithful to my views," he was quoted as having told Polish state news agency PAP.

The European Parliament denied in a statement that the move was aimed against Poland.

The development comes amid increasingly strained relations between Poland's Law and Justice party and many of its international partners from Europe to the Middle East.

Most notably recently is the disagreement between Poland and Israel and the U.S. over the new law which would impose criminal penalties for attributing Nazi crimes to Poland.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday expressed disappointment after Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the controversial bill into law.

The Polish Senate voted on the legislation despite an agreement between Polish Prime Ministe Mateusz Morawiecki and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week, according to which the two sides would hold a dialogue in order to try to reach understandings on the controversial legislation.

In addition to the Holocaust law, noted AP, an overhaul of Poland's judicial system, which gives the ruling party control over the courts, has also been condemned by the European Commission.

Czarnecki himself has a history of controversial statements.

Last summer he was heavily criticized for expressing pleasure that shots were fired at a rescue ship trying to aid refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.

He tweeted "At last!!!" in reaction to information that the Libyan coast guard fired shots at a Spanish NGO rescue ship.