The president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, faced criticism after he had praised fascist leader Benito Mussolini, DW reported.
"Mussolini? Before he declared war on the entire world, following Hitler; before he introduced racial laws… he did some positive things to build infrastructure in our country," Tajani told Italian Radio24.
Mussolini "built roads, bridges, buildings, sports facilities," and reclaimed large swaths of Italy from marshes, Tajani added. "If we look at concrete facts, we can't say he hasn't achieved anything.”
Senior EU lawmaker Udo Bullmann, in his turn, called Tajani's statement “unbelievable."
"How can a president of the European Parliament fail to acknowledge the nature of fascism?" Bullmann tweeted.
Tajani responded, saying he had always been "a convinced anti-fascist."
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.— Antonio Tajani (@EP_President) March 13, 2019