Crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and related intolerances, the mainstreaming of elements of extremist ideology in political and public discourse, and ethnic discrimination all persist throughout the European Union.
On the 20th of December the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a new report entitled Racism, discrimination, intolerance and extremism: Learning from experiences in Greece and Hungary.
In this report, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights examines the responses of two Member States: Greece and Hungary:
Today’s publication, a thematic situation report, also addresses a phenomenon currently unique to Greece and Hungary. This is the significant parliamentary presence of political parties standing for and promoting an extremist ideology that particularly targets irregular migrants (in Greece) and the Roma and Jews (in Hungary), and which are either themselves or have links to paramilitary organisations committing racially motivated acts of violence.
This study takes these countries as case studies to demonstrate the need for more targeted and effective measures to combat racism, xenophobia and related intolerances throughout the EU:
The EU and its Member States already have strong legislation in place to fight racism, intolerance and extremism. However, greater efforts are needed to ensure effective implementation. In addition, more needs to be done, particularly at local level, to foster social cohesion and increase trust in the police and other law enforcement authorities.
The report goes on to make proposals for fighting racist crime, increasing trust in the police, and combating extremism.
Key proposals suggest that EU Member States:
Review their legislation to ensure that the formation of associations or political parties does not serve as a basis for promoting hatred and racist violence.
Consider adopting national strategies to tackle racist and related crime, focusing on issues such as how to prevent hate crime, increase reporting, improve recording, prosecute hate crime offences, and provide effective victim support.
Explore ways in which trust in law enforcement agencies can be increased among members of minority groups, and fight ethnic discrimination and racist abuse on the part of the police and other public officials. One of the principal barriers to reporting racist and related incidents is victims and witnesses’ distrust in the police.
Assess the benefit of enhanced penalties in sentencing perpetrators of hate crime, in order to ensure that the bias motivation behind the offence is always taken into consideration.
Consider developing exit strategies and programmes for people involved with extremist groups and organisations. For these to be effective, close cooperation would be needed between law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system and civil society organisations.
Ensure that victim support is provided in close cooperation with civil society and representatives of minority groups, and facilitate the active involvement of the police in supporting victims.
You can read the report here