Reacting to the news, Michaela Moua, a Finnish national, said she was “extremely excited about this opportunity to achieve real justice.”
She said she was keen to “be in Brussels and get started” in her new role.
A Commission spokesman said that in her new role as coordinator Moua will liaise closely with people with a minority racial and ethnic background and “relay their concerns” to the Commission.
Moua, he said, “will interact with Member States, the European Parliament, civil society and academia to strengthen policy responses in the field of anti-racism.”
“She will join forces with other Commission services to implement the Commission's policy on preventing and combating racism.”
Further comment came from Helena Dalli, EU commissioner for equality, who said, “I am delighted to welcome Ms Moua whose work will be essential to implementing the anti-racism action plan.”
“Though there are still many challenges ahead to tackle racism in Europe, we are confident in her [Moua’s] abilities to successfully implement the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan and address systemic oppressions in Europe”
Karen Taylor, European Network against Racism chair
“With her appointment, the Commission is taking another important step in the promotion of an anti-racist European Union.”
“We intend to bolster our efforts against racism in a close relationship with EU countries, civil society and other stakeholders.”
Moua studied International Development and then held a number of senior roles in NGOs in her native Finland combatting racism and discrimination.
For the last few years, she has worked at the Ministry of Justice in Finland and is said to have extensive experience and expertise in combatting racism and ethnicity-based discrimination and in “promoting an ethnically equal and diverse society.”
Karen Taylor, chair of the Brussels-based European Network against Racism board, said, “We are happy to see the former vice chair of Anti-Racist Forum Finland, one of our member organisations, being appointed as the coordinator.”
Taylor added, “Though there are still many challenges ahead to tackle racism in Europe, we are confident in her [Moua’s] abilities to successfully implement the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan and address systemic oppressions in Europe, and look forward to working with her closely in this new capacity.”
“I am delighted to welcome Ms Moua, whose work will be essential to implementing the anti-racism action plan”
Helena Dalli, EU Equality Commissioner
A statement by 72 civil society organisations also welcomed the appointment but said Moua “needs a clear mandate and civil society participation to deliver on the Anti-Racism Action Plan.”
It goes on, “Strong political engagement from the Commission and Member States’ political leadership will lead to concrete initiatives that will help deliver racial justice in Europe.”
“The new coordinator should be leading all the work on the topic within the Commission, ensuring the meaningful participation of civil society and other stakeholders and engage with national and local levels.”
“The creation of this new role is an important development that can lead to the successful implementation of the Anti-Racism Action Plan.”
The statement says Moua “should closely monitor the situation of anti-racist human rights defenders on the ground in Member States.”
The appointment, it adds, “is an opportunity for the EU to implement an internal restructuring that will lead to coherence between policy aims and organisational structure.”
“Additional financial resources should be allocated to work on racial equality, including for the coordinator and for their work with civil society organisations,” it concludes.