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Bulgarian MEP fined €2,000 for appearing to give Nazi salute

A nationalist Bulgarian MEP who appeared to give a Nazi salute inside the European Parliament was fined over €2,000 on Tuesday, but he said he would challenge the decision.

Angel Dzhambazki, from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, appeared to make the gesture back in February after engaging in a debate about an EU court ruling that said the European Commission is allowed to cut funds to countries that breach rule-of-law standards.

At the time, he slammed the court decision, arguing it was more about “hate for nation states,” and praised Bulgarian, Polish and Hungarian leaders who have faced scrutiny over rule-of-law issues. As he then went to leave the chamber, he turned to face the chair and held his arm out straight and stiff toward the chair.

Dzhambazki denied that the gesture, which was caught on camera, was a Nazi salute, saying he was waving goodbye.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola announced during a plenary session Tuesday that Dzhambazki would be fined the equivalent of six days of his daily allowance for the incident, or €2,028, based on the standard flat-rate sum for MEPs.

A spokesperson for Metsola told POLITICO in a statement that she decided to impose the penalty on Dzhambazki “for his improper behaviour … when he held out his right arm in a gesture that was perceived to be a Nazi salute.”

“This harmed the dignity and reputation of the European Parliament,” the spokesperson said, adding that Dzhambazki had been informed of the decision last Thursday.

Dzhambazki on Tuesday called the incident “a storm in a teacup” and branded Metsola’s decision “nonsensical.” He told POLITICO he would pursue “further legal action” to contest the fine “before the relevant institutions” and is currently assessing his legal options.

“I am penalised because of how my actions might hypothetically be perceived by third parties. This is absurd at best,” Dzhambazki said in a statement. “I categorically refuse to admit guilt in this so-called incident.”

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