Tuesday

25th Sep 2018

Political parties drive hate in EU, commission says

Far-right political discourse is feeding hatred throughout the EU and could harm the European project in the upcoming 2014 European Parliament elections, says the European Commission.

Disparaging words geared towards minority groups like Roma, Muslims, Jews and immigrants are becoming more common as elected officials attempt to woo a growing number of the voting electorate rooted in populist movements.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Commission: extremist views in EU political discourse give 'oxygen' to far-right radicals (Photo: Jacco De Boer)

"Not since World War II have extreme and populist forces had so much influence on the national parliaments as they have today. In some countries even neo-nazis have been elected," said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Brussels on Monday (28 January).

Her words came a day after Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi praised the leadership of ex-dictator and fascist Benito Mussolini.

Mussolini had passed a raft of anti-Jewish laws before joining forces with Hitler.

Meanwhile, Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party on Monday celebrated the leadership role of Nikolaos Dertilis, a former colonel who helped put in place a dictatorial rule following a bloodless coup in 1967. The takeover threw the country into martial law where dissent was met with brutal force.

Malmstrom warned that racist and nationalistic politics could gain a stronger foothold in the European Parliament after elctions in 2014.

"We must not underestimate the importance of what this would mean for the European project," said the commissioner.

Such political discourse may also inspire "lone wolves" to carry out indiscriminate killings as the threat of violent extremism spreads, she noted.

The commissioner said organised terrorist networks have given way to protagonists such as Anders Breivik, a Norwegian whose lone attack saw the murder of 77 people in 2011.

Tracking lone actors down is considerably more difficult and requires more concerted efforts by relatives and local authorities to spot suspects, she added.

Teachers 'spy' on students

The commission in 2011 launched its so-called Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) - an attempt to bring together community leaders and law enforcement officers.

Its own literature says prevention and awareness-raising campaigns are among the long-term solutions in EU counter-terrorism efforts.

It also says community policing is recognised as one of the best approaches for preventing crime in general and recommends that schools, local police, health care providers, municipalities, youth workers and others cooperate on a regular basis to detect potentially harmful individuals early on.

But there are fears that this kind of monitoring can be overly invasive.

British MPs in 2011 criticised a similar UK project entitled Channel for asking teachers to report on young people who spoke about violence or visited terrorist-linked websites.

Neither activity is considered a criminal offence.

The project targeted younger people and especially Muslims, creating resentment as people felt they were being spied upon by those in a position of trust "like teachers and social workers," UK-based Professor Ted Cantle, who chairs the Home Office community cohesion review team, told this website.

"It [Channel project] made the Muslim community much more worried about authority. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy," said Cantle.

Cantle says the lone wolf profile in the UK instead tends to be much older and is partisan to far-right anti-immigrant views.

An EU source at RAN said the project has been updated since its launch.

"It's all about caring for people who are vulnerable and who could be exploited," said the contact.

Meanwhile, Europol, the EU police agency based in the Hague, noted that terrorist-related arrests are on the decline as a whole but that single actors will continue to pose a serious threat.

The agency in 2011 recorded 174 terrorist attacks in member states. These led to the arrest of 316 individuals on terrorism-related charges.

Greece urged to 'take action' on neo-Nazi party

Europe's human rights watchdog has said Greece should consider banning the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party for its violence, racism and hate-filled rhetoric against immigrants.

Commission: Most Muslims not a threat to Europe

Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are on the rise in Europe, as the EU Commission says political leaders should put societies' fears into perspective and not single out communities as threats.

News in Brief

  1. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group
  2. Half of EU states at risk of missing recycling target
  3. Commission refers Poland to EU top court over rule of law
  4. Open Society Foundation takes Hungary to court
  5. EU court asked to rule on halting Brexit
  6. EU threatens Switzerland on stock trading
  7. Italy's new basic wage restricted to Italians
  8. UK tycoon offers to create pro-Brexit party

Opinion

Building a Europe more resilient to terrorism

One year to the day since the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the commissioner for home affairs spells out what action the EU is taking now to protect against further attacks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  2. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  3. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  4. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  5. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  6. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  7. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  8. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us