The Polish parliamentarian who stood up at a meeting of the European Parliament and gave fellow MEPs a Nazi salute may be sent to prison for two years.
Prosecutors announced late last week that they have opened an investigation against Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who also heads the far-right party, Coalition for the Renewal of the Republic – Freedom and Hope.
On July 9, during a debate in the European Parliament in Brussels on plans to introduce a single ticketing system for travel across the European Union, Korwin-Mikke stunned MPs by raising his hand in a Nazi salute.
He simultaneously asserted that Parliament's only agenda was unification, stating "this time it is ein reich, ein volk, ein ticket,” paraphrasing the Nazi slogan, ein volk, ein reich, ein fuhrer (one people, one empire, one leader).
Warsaw prosecutors will investigate whether Korwin-Mikke's actions violated the ban on promoting totalitarian regimes and incitement to racial hatred.
“We have started a process to assess whether there was a public promotion of fascist or other totalitarian systems or an incitement to hatred on grounds of nationality by MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke,” Pawel Wierzcholowski, of the Warsaw prosecutor’s office, said.
The penalty for those found guilty of either offense ranges from a fine to a prison sentence lasting up to two years.
While Poland's Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna has apologized “in the name of Poland to Europe, the European Parliament, and to voters" for Korwin-Mikke's behavior, the MEP remained categorically unrepentant.
“My goal is to show that the EU has a fascist character and that most of its economic policies are simply Nazi,” he said, before apologizing to Europe for Poland's "moron" of a foreign minister.