The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, apologised on Thursday for his remarks in which he praised Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
In his earlier statement, Tajani highlighted that even though he didn't share the Italian Nazi leader's political beliefs, he claimed that Mussolini "built roads, bridges, buildings" and "reclaimed many parts of our Italy."
"One must be objective. I'm not a fascist, I have never been a fascist and I don't share his political thought, but if we must be honest, he built roads, bridges, buildings… he reclaimed many parts of our Italy," the EU official claimed.
The remark provoked an outcry and anger voiced by his EU fellow officials who speculated that the president of the European Parliament is a fascist sympathiser.
Mussolini, he may be responsible for 430,000+ murders but hey check out his roads and bridges! 🤷♀️— Lynn Boylan MEP (@LNBDublin) 13 марта 2019 г.
Seriously this is the President of the EU Parliament & member of @FineGael 's group @EPPGrouphttps://t.co/xEeMczS9IJ
This is not the first time Antonio Tajani has found himself in the centre of a scandal due to his remarks, as in February he participated in a memorial service dedicated to Italian soldiers who were murdered by Yugoslav partisans during World War II. The Slovenian president and prime minister called his speeches during ceremonies "historical revisionism" as the president of the European Parliament compared the murders to ethnic cleansing.