Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 9 News List

Mixed assortment of EU skeptics headed for European Parliament

By Guardian correspondents

MANOLIS GLEZOS, GREECE

Manolis Glezos, the new European Parliament’s oldest deputy, is a 92-year-old World War II hero, left-wing icon, writer and indefatigable activist. He added another feather to his cap on Monday, winning more votes (105,184) than any other EU parliamentarian on Greece’s 21-MEP ticket.

He does not tweet, does not type and insists on taking an afternoon nap — a legacy of being exiled and imprisoned for 16 years for his views.

“That way I get two days out of one,” he once told the Guardian. “I get a tremendous amount done.”

Famous for ripping down the swastika from the Acropolis within days of Nazi forces overrunning Greece, Glezos is also considered the greatest living authority on the resistance movement against Adolf Hitler, penning two voluminous tomes on the period.

As the anti-austerity, radical-left Syriza party’s top representative in Brussels, he does not intend to put down his pen. The anti-capitalist has a lot to say — not least about Germany’s “colonization” of Europe.

“Greece is the guinea pig of policies exacted by governments whose only God is money,” he said. “It started here, but will move to other states.”

Glezos has one fear: flying.

However, he has a contingency plan — and boat timetables and bus timetables at the ready.

Helena Smith, Athens

ALESSANDRA MUSSOLINI, ITALY

Niece of Sophia Loren and granddaughter of Il Duce, Mussolini has had a career as colorful as her ancestry. She has posed topless for Playboy, played a nun in a critically derided film and played a vocal role in far and center-right Italian politics since the early 1990s.

Now, 10 years after she was first elected an MEP for her (now defunct) Social Alternative list, she is to return to the European Parliament — this time for former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.

Mussolini, 51, has never been short of an opinion, no matter how offensive. In 2006, responding to an accusation by a transgender MP candidate that she was a fascist, she declared: “Better fascist than faggot.”

Occasionally, she has won plaudits from beyond her usual fanbase.

When, in 2004, the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) Godfrey Bloom remarked that “no self-respecting small businessman with a brain ... would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age,” she reportedly retorted: “We women do know how to cook and clean the fridge and even be politicians, while perhaps Godfrey Bloom knows neither.”

Lizzy Davies, Rome

BRUNO GOLLNISCH, FRANCE

In the southeast region where Jean-Marie Le Pen was elected in Sunday’s European elections, another old-style Front National (FN) politician was re-elected alongside the party’s founder: Gollnisch, who was defeated by Le Pen’s daughter for the FN presidency in 2011.

Gollnisch, 64, is a potential embarrassment for the new-look FN. He is an outspoken critic of Islam who had his parliamentary immunity lifted in May 2011 when he was sued for inciting racial hatred in anti-Islamic comments three years earlier.

In February last year, he dropped his trousers at a council meeting in order to protest at subsidies being given to bands who sang about sex.

Anne Penketh, Paris

MARIO BORGHEZIO, ITALY

Last year, Borghezio called the Italian government a “bongo bongo” administration and former Italian minister for integration Cecile Kyenge, who is black, more “a housekeeper” than a politician — resulting in an expulsion from the right-wing Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group, to which Italy’s xenophobic Northern League belongs.

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