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26th Sep 2022

EU will not legislate on virtual violence

  • Legal standards on computer games across the 27-member EU bloc are too different to agree to joint rules on their sale (Photo: Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org)

EU justice ministers have vowed to get tough on violent computer and video games but stopped short of banning the most brutal children's games when they met in Luxembourg on Wednesday (13 June).

Legal standards on computer games across the 27-member EU bloc are too different to agree to joint rules on their sale, German justice minister Brigitte Zypries said after the meeting.

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Germany currently holds the agenda setting EU presidency, which will be taken over by Portugal on 1 July.

But she added that "there is broad consensus that much more needs to be done" in fighting violent computer and video games across Europe, according to German news agency DPA.

While most are harmless, some computer and video games show life-like virtual images of violent killings of humans and other creatures.

"We agree that computer games can have an unfortunate effect on children and youths," said Danish justice minister Lene Espersen. "The road forward is European cooperation on labelling [of the games] and there is no need for [EU] legislation," she added, according to Danish daily Politiken.

EU justice and home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini said legislation in the area was up to each member state but stressed that common EU criteria for defining the so-called "killer games" was needed.

"That way we can get a common understanding of which games are violent and which are not. We can see which games we can recommend and which we cannot," he said according to Danish DR News.

He also called on EU countries to try and bring industry, producers and inventors of such games on board in the fight against virtual violence.

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