BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Parliament suspended a Polish lawmaker for 10 days on Tuesday after he said during a debate that women should earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent.
As well as the suspension, Janusz Korwin-Mikke faces other punishments, Parliament President Antonio Tajani told lawmakers in Strasbourg, France.
He will lose his lawmakers' daily subsistence allowance for 30 days, which means he stands to lose out on 9,180 euros ($9,800) in total. In addition, he is being banned from representing the legislature for a year, meaning he won't be able to participate in parliamentary delegations, for example.
Tajani's announcement was greeted by applause. Korwin-Mikke appeared to laugh and clap himself as his punishment was read out.
The European Parliament characterized the sanctions as being "unprecedented in severity."
During a March 1 debate on the gender pay gap Korwin-Mikke, a radical right-winger who leads a marginal party, said: "Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. They must earn less, that's all."
Parliamentary authorities opened an investigation under rules specifying that members must show mutual respect and refrain from "defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior."
"I will not tolerate such behaviour, in particular when it comes from someone who is expected to discharge his duties as a representative of the peoples of Europe with due dignity," Tajani said. "By offending all women, (Korwin-Mikke) displayed contempt for our most fundamental values."