It’s official! You can’t insult the President of the European Union and get away with it. Especially if you neglect to submit your appeal to a court ruling. A European court announced on Monday that eurosceptic MEP Nigel Farage (UK) had lost an appeal against a fine imposed by the European Parliament for calling EU President Herman Van Rompuy a “damp rag”.
The European Union’s General Court ruled that Farage was too late in lodging his appeal over the 2,980-euro fine ($3,910) imposed when he said during a parliamentary debate that then newly-installed Van Rompuy had all the charisma of a “damp rag” or a “low-grade bank clerk.”
UK Independence Party standard-bearer Farage’s March 2010 tirade became an Internet hit with more than a million views on YouTube.
In a legal notice posted online on Monday, the Luxembourg-based court said the action was dismissed and ordered Farage “to bear his own costs and to pay those of the European Parliament.”
“I shall now weigh up my options of appeal,” Farage said in a statement, maintaining that there should be “freedom of speech of all elected members” in the parliament and “not just for supporters of the EU’s political union.” (AFP)
In February 2012, UKIP MEP Nigel Farage told Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the EU, he had “all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk” in the European parliament.
Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence party, also dismissed Van Rompuy’s homeland, Belgium, as a “non-country”.
As well as attacking Van Rompuy’s appearance, personality and home nation, Farage also criticised the president’s pay packet and accused him of plotting the overthrow of the nation state.
Van Rompuy, who had just made his first speech to MEPs since being appointed by EU leaders to the newly-created top job, sat in amazement and obvious discomfort as the tirade went on. Other MEPs in the less-than-full chamber gasped as Farage spoke.
Afterwards the Socialist leader in the parliament, Germany’s Martin Schulz, condemned Farage for “trampling on the dignity of the house”.
And Van Rompuy responded that he held Farage’s remarks “in contempt”, and refused to say more. (Guardian)