The European Commission and the EU High Representative have unveiled a comprehensive set of measures aimed at preventing and addressing hate speech and crimes.
Under the banner “No place for hate: a Europe united against hatred,” an urgent call to action urges Europeans to champion tolerance and respect.
The Commission’s proposed actions seek to intensify efforts in combating all forms of hatred by mobilizing initiatives across various policy domains, encompassing security, the digital realm, education, culture, and sport. These measures include increased funding to safeguard places of worship, supported by dedicated delegations tasked with optimizing the impact of EU anti-hate policies.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized, “Europe embraces diverse cultural and religious identities, valuing respect and tolerance as core societal principles. Therefore, it is our duty to confront instances of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred whenever they arise.”
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for the Promotion of our European Way of Life, responsible for efforts to combat anti-Semitism, highlighted the pressing need for action, stating, “The recent surge in hate speech and hate crimes across Europe demands a resolute response from all quarters. Drawing from Europe’s rich history of forging unity from past discord, it’s time to apply this wisdom to foster reconciliation and dialogue. I reject the idea of Europe as an insecure space for any religious community – a sentiment that every European should share.”
Safeguarding people and places
Prioritizing the protection of individuals and public spaces is paramount. The Commission will accelerate the call for proposals under the Internal Security Fund, originally planned for 2024, now set for an earlier rollout in 2023, with a specific emphasis on securing Jewish places of worship and an increased budget.
In 2024, the PROTECT program will receive additional funding dedicated to safeguarding public spaces and places of worship for all faiths and denominations, including a €5 million increase specifically targeting the rising threats posed by anti-Semitism.
To counter online threats, the Commission will push for the finalization of an enhanced code of conduct against illegal online hate speech by February 2024. It will also enhance collaborations with civil society groups, experts, officials, and public authorities to detect and address online hate speech effectively.
Engagement in society
Historically, European Commission coordinators have played a key role in community engagement, especially in efforts against racism, anti-Semitism, promotion of Jewish life, and combating anti-Muslim hatred. These roles will now be assigned to envoys, equipped with a focused mandate to reinforce coordination, including through tangible EU-funded projects, for both online and offline anti-hate policies.
Simultaneously, the Commission will support journalism training to uphold media standards and identify hate speech. It will also drive initiatives fostering inclusion and diversity in education, culture, and sport.
Moreover, the European Union will intensify backing for fact-checkers within the EU and the Arabic-speaking world. Emphasizing that the fight against hatred transcends borders, the Commission stresses the importance for global cooperation to combat this issue.
Source: ANA-MPA / Translation: Konstantinos Menyktas