€3000 Fine for Insulting Belgium


A quote from the UKIP website, 2 March 2010

UKIP MEP Leader Nigel Farage was informed this afternoon by Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, that he had decided to fine him €3000 for his comments relating to Mr van Rompuy and Belgium. The fine represents 10 days pay, and is the maximum allowable under the rules of the European Parliament. Mr Buzek imposed it after Mr Farage declined earlier today to apologise for his comments.

Mr Farage said: "Free speech is an expensive business in the European Parliament."


A quote from Nigel Farage at the UKIP website, 2 March 2010

“I tried to talk to the president of the Parliament about freedom of speech, especially in Parliament from elected members, but he has asked me to apologise. He wants me to apologise to Herman Van Rompuy, He wants me to apologise to the European Parliament and he wants me to apologise to the people of Belgium. […]

“I will apologise to bank clerks the world over. If I caused them offence I am very sorry. But if I am not allowed to stand up and say that I think it is wrong that this man has got a job which pays him a salary bigger than Obama’s and that is because the Lisbon Treaty went through without us having a referendum... then what sort of democracy is there in this EU?”



@Nataraja : Vulgarity?

I have seen many "shameless displays of vulgarity" in politics, but it never seemed to cut so deep. What really hurt is that Farage was hitting the nail on the head, both concerning the level of democracy in Europe and concerning the artificial nature of Belgium.

Here in Belgium we've had a senator saying that the party chairman of the christian democrats had "the charisma of a washbasin". He said the same thing about the Flemish minister of cultural affairs and media. Nobody ever asked him to apologize. In the nineties, an opposition leader called the leaders of the christian democrats "jellyfish". He was never asked to apologize.

Belgians with an ounce of common sense aren't asking Farage for an apology. They applaud every foreigner who comes to the conclusion that Belgium is "pretty much a non country" and, as an undemocratic entity forced upon its voiceless subjects, a foreshadow of "Europe". (Has Farage been reading Belien, I wonder...) 

All this pretended indignation is nothing but an alibi to ignore what Farage was really saying. None of his remarks have been answered. Instead there's been a great fuss over "inappropriate language". Oh come on.

Van Rompuy's "undisturbed" reaction had little to do with "dignity and honour", nor with phlegm (like he claimed). In my opinion, the man was tongue-tied, perplexed, baffled, paralysed (like Traveller said).


fame for 3000 €

Well done Nigel. No other thing could have brought you so much fame (notoriety?) for so little money. Nobody had ever heard of you, now everyone has.

fake debate

"But if I am not allowed to stand up and say that I think it is wrong that this man..."

Nonsense. This is not a free speech controversy. Everyone is debating these issues in Brussels continuously.

What Farage was punished for (too high or not is another discussion) is for dragging the level of debate down to an adolescent foul-mouthed pub fight with verbal abuse about the looks of a person.

Shame on you BJ for not recognizing this difference. Apart from marcfrans, nobody else here seemed to bother about this shameless display of vulgarity either. I have a lot of problems with Herman Van Rompuy, but he faced this crude display of verbal violence with dignity and honour.

@ Nataraja

Do you really think that verbal aggression of any type permeates the thick skin of cynicists, who are selling their people with the same ease they would sell their mother, if the price is right, like Herman Van Rompuy? Let me guess: while your nick, Nataraja, is apparently taken from a male deity, I'm guessing in reality you're a, spoiled, female.

Dear Wesley,

You just made a big ear-to-ear smile appear on my face, the first one today, so I cannot but express deepest gratitude.

You apparently consider yourself to be a person with an amazing amount of insight, since you seem to know me, and HVR, better than we know ourselves right?

Let me assume you have "the thick skin of a cynicist" as well, although I will not resort to dragging your dear mother into this.
So here's this: as an amateur-psychologist (God forbid professional?) concluding I must be a "spoiled female" for having the opinions I have, you're a total joke.


Dear Nataraja,

The time people where with opinions such as yours were taken seriously, is past. The joke is now on YOU.

@ Nataraja

Grown up politicians, at least I suppose they are, must be able to support and endure verbal sparring.
Today I yelled and screamed on the phone to somebody who didn't keep his promise to me. I insulted him much worse than poor Hermanneken.
My victim apologised and promised to keep his word.
Hermanneken didn't utter a word and stood paralysed, in dignity of course. The same in the British parliament and Farage would have been attacked verbally by a range of real adults.
Hermanneken wants to play with the grown-ups but doesn't have the adult maturity, it's true that back-kitchen politics doesn't require guts. That's where he belongs, not in a top political forum.


"Today I yelled and screamed on the phone to somebody who didn't keep his promise to me. I insulted him much worse than poor Hermanneken."

hey, that happened to me once also. I think I was around 16 years old, and I ran out of usefull arguments...

“Gentleman” is a word that has been part of the Dutch language for a few centuries now. It came from over the channel, and it is used for the typical dignified good and courteous conduct of English men in apparently long gone times. It’s about time to export it again, but this time the other way around.

@ peter vanderheyden

I believe you.
I don't consider HVR a gentleman, actually I don't see many gentlemen in that European corrupt circus.
If you deal with corrupt, cheating frauds you lose as gentleman.
If I see a gentleman I will behave the same as he does. If I see a lying cheating comedian I will behave differently.
Of course you are free to do as you see fit.