Controversy over European Parliament invite to Polish priest

A Conservative MEP has strongly criticised the decision to invite a notoriously antisemitic Polish priest to speak at the European Parliament.

London representative Marina Yannakoudakis said she felt disappointed that Polish MEP Mirosław Piotrowski had invited Father Tadeusz Rydzyk to speak.

Mr Piotrowski is a part of the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR) in the parliament, which includes Conservative MEPs.

Father Rydzyk’s right-wing Catholic radio station has been denounced by Jewish organisations, the Vatican, and former Polish President Lech Wałęsa for its extreme views.

The clergyman has in the past stated his disgust over Polish Jews seeking reparations for the pogroms of the 1930s, allegedly stating: “They [the Jews] will come to you and say, ‘Give me your coat! Take off your trousers! Give me your shoes!’”

A number of Conservative MEPs have criticised the invitation, which was issued to draw attention to the fact that the licence of his television channel TV Trwam, has been revoked.

A rally in Brussels against supposed Polish media discrimination was advertised under the ECR banner, and formed part of the build-up to Father Rydzyk’s speech.

Father Rydzyk was also invited to the European Parliament last year, when he participated in a conference about climate change and renewable energy. A Polish MEP said at the time: “He [Rydzyk] is misunderstood. He is a very good priest and his views are held by many in Poland.”

Last updated: 5:22pm, June 11 2012