A storm of controversy broke out in Strasbourg after yet another out of bounds remark by Janusz Korwin-Mikke. “It seems obvious women must earn less than men, because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent,” said the Polish politician of the far right, during debate on Wednesday on the floor of European Parliament.
Iratxe Garcia Perez of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party shot back: “I know it hurts and worries you that today women can sit in this house and represent European citizens with the same rights as you,” she said. “I am here to defend all European women from men like you.”
And so the political Varsovian chose to gamble one more time. Korwin-Mikke had already been suspended during the July 2015 plenary after he mimicked the Nazi salute, shouting, “One people, one empire!” in protest to the introduction of standard prices for train and bus tickets in E.U. countries. Then the Bureau of the European Parliament decided to punish the Italian MEP Gianluca Buonanno who had also graced the chamber with a Roman salute, wearing a T-shirt depicting Angela Merkel with a Hitler mustache.
Meanwhile, the party of the populist, right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), currently in power in Poland, continues to rattle for Warsaw’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe agreement to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence. On the other hand, the positions of the party, founded by the Kaczynski brothers, remain in some respects incompatible with those of Korwin-Mikke by virtue of the ultra-liberal and pro-Russia thinking of the latter.
In support of his argument, Korwin-Mikke began his speech in Strasbourg stressing the symptomatic absence of female chess players at world competitions, omitting the fact that women are competing in the World Championship, a separate tournament organized by the World Chess Federation. The Polish politician doubled down on his blog: “I do not understand why women are so fixated with the question of intelligence, which is not the most important thing in a human. Moreover, women are known to be wiser than their male counterparts. Yet it seems to me that no man takes offense to this.”
The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani (former Monarchist and founding member of Forza Italy) has announced an investigation into Korwin-Mikke’s sexist statement.