EU to appoint first ever Anti-Racism Coordinator

European Commission president announces new measures including an Anti-Racism Action Plan.
Racism

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

18 Sep 2020

In her first State of the Union address, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has vowed to prioritise combating racism.

During her 90 minute address to MEPs on Wednesday, she pointed out that “fighting racism will not be optional”.

She announced new measures including an Anti-Racism Action Plan, the appointment of the EU’s first ever Anti-Racism Coordinator, a stronger commitment to enforcement and a proposal to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech.

German Greens MEP Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, co leader of the European Parliament’s anti racism and diversity intergroup, said, “I am very pleased that our call for an Anti-Racism Coordinator has been answered. I feel that we are moving closer towards ‘a truly anti-racist union’ and we must keep this momentum to ensure that we reach our common goal.”

Belgian RE deputy Hilde Vautmans welcomed the fact that “the announcement of an EU action plan reflects Europe’s ambition to move beyond statements and shows that the EU is truly serious about acting against racism and discrimination”.

“I am very pleased that our call for an Anti-Racism Coordinator has been answered. I feel that we are moving closer towards ‘a truly anti-racist union’ and we must keep this momentum to ensure that we reach our common goal” Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana MEP

She added, “It is really stimulating to hear about clear and measurable goals and concrete actions to tackle racism and structural discrimination in Europe, such as the proposal to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech to give an example.”

Also commenting, Swedish MEP Evin Incir said, “I welcome this initiative by the commission and am happy to have been a driving force in making this issue a priority. Regrettably, in many parts of the union nationalist and racist parties and extremist organisations are taking a stronger hold on our societies.”

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