EU Parliament leader Antonio Tajani under fire over Mussolini comments | World News
The president of the European Parliament has come under fire for praising Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Antonio Tajani told Radio 24 that Mussolini did some “positive things”, including improving Italy’s infrastructure, until “he declared war on the entire world, following Hitler, and until he promoted the racial laws” that restricted the rights of Jews.
Udo Bullmann, the leader of the Socialist group in the European Parliament, said on Twitter: “How can a president of the European Parliament fail to acknowledge the nature of fascism? We need swift clarification.”
Mr Tajani, who is a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, insisted his comments had been misinterpreted.
He posted on Twitter: “Shame on those who manipulate what I’ve allegedly said on fascism.
“I’ve always been a convinced anti-fascist, I will not allow anyone to suggest otherwise.
“The fascist dictatorship, racial laws and deaths it caused are the darkest page in Italian and European history.”
Italy has struggled to come to terms with its fascist past and the rise of populism has brought reminders of Mussolini’s two decades in power until his execution in 1945.