Tuesday

23rd May 2017

Focus

Political groups pledge to conduct hate-free campaigns

The majority of mainstream parties in the European Parliament on Wednesday (19 March) signed a pledge to conduct election campaigns free from discrimination and intolerance.

“The [European Parliament] elections are taking place at a time that is marked by crisis and the rise of extremism in different parts of Europe,” said Evelyne Paradis, executive director at the Brussels-based Ilga-Europe, the EU umbrella organisation for the rights of LGBTI people.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • More MEPs from far-right groups are likely to enter the European Parliament following the elections in May (Photo: European Parliament)

The pledge, drafted jointly by Ilga-Europe and the Brussels-based European Network Against Racism (Enar), calls upon the groups to refrain from any message that would foster prejudice and discrimination in the lead-up to the elections in May.

It asks them to use “inclusive language” when referring to minorities, contribute to debates in a responsible manner, and reject anything that insights hostility towards different communities.

Both NGOs will monitor the political parties to make sure they follow the commitments.

The liberals (Alde), the centre-left (S&D), the European Green Party, and the European Left have all signed the appeal.

The parliament’s largest group, the centre-right EPP, did not.

“We have decided not to sign the declaration,” said EPP’s deputy secretary-general Christian Kremer.

Kremer said the group instead sent a letter to Ilga-Europe and Enar with points similar to those highlighted in the declaration.

“It was merely a technical decision because we were receiving a number of declarations from different NGOs,” he said.

He pointed out that the EPP presidency is not signing declarations from any external organisation.

Kremer said the group is committed to fighting discrimination, inequality “and everything that regards discrimination.”

Lousewies van der Laan, a former Dutch MEP and current vice-president of the European Liberal Democrats, said the space for homophobia and racism needs to be limited.

“Every time you don’t expose it or counter it, you allow the discourse to become more vulgar,” she told this website.

“This is not about not having certain discussions, it is about putting limits … you don’t want people to incite hatred, you don’t want them to be racist, you don’t want them to be homophobic,” she said.

The joint pledge will also be sent to the different parties at the national level.

“It is really good that we have this large commitment so that we can try to have a cleaner campaign this year,” said Enar’s director Michael Privot.

EUobserved

When two worlds collide

Two worlds collided at the end of last week. The shrill, uncompromising one of British politics and the technocratic, dry, world of the European Commission.

EUobserved

Schadenfreude and fire-walking in the EP

There was outright glee in the EP on Thursday. It was time to dust off everyone’s favourite German word for pleasure in the misfortune of others.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  2. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  3. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes Patients
  4. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  5. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  7. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  8. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  9. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  10. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  11. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus