Sunday

18th Feb 2018

EU austerity is feeding racism, report says

  • Roma woman in Italy: some families in EU countries pretend to be Turkish to suffer less racism (Photo: Council of Europe)

EU austerity measures are helping to feed racism and intolerance, according to a report by the Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

In its annual survey out on Thursday (3 May), the council's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), said welfare cuts and shrinking job opportunities are factors behind the recent rise in intolerance and violence directed at immigrants and other vulnerable minorities.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Immigration is [being] equated with insecurity, [that] irregular migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees either steal jobs or risk capsizing our welfare system, while Muslims are not able to integrate in Western societies," the survey says.

It adds that talk by mainstream politicians of reintroducing border controls in the passport-free Schengen area is beginning to give xenophobia and far-right extremism a respectable face. "Political leaders must at all costs resist pandering to prejudice and misplaced fears about the loss of 'European values,' terrorism and common criminality," it says.

The German and French ministers of justice sent a letter to the Danish EU presidency in late April on curbing Schengen. French leader Nicolas Sarkozy has also complained that there are "too many immigrants" in France in his bid to woo far-right voters.

In Greece, the openly fascist Golden Dawn party is expected to win a dozen or so seats in parliament on Sunday (6 May). The group espouses claims of Greek and Aryan racial superiority and wants to landmine borders with Turkey to stop migrants.

In the Netherlands, the far-right PVV party has put up a website encouraging people to spy on and denounce eastern Europeans who work on the black market. A copy-cat website was launched in mid-April by the far-right Vlaams Belang party in Belgium and is still online.

The ECRI report notes that just 18 Council of Europe member states - and just seven EU members among them - have ratified Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination. The EU list is Cyprus, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.

The ECRI admonished mismanagement of asylum seekers - especially in Hungary, where asylum seekers are led around town on leashes and in handcuffs. It also said some governments are using the crisis as an excuse to amputate the budgets of human rights institutions and specialised anti-discrimination bodies.

Some vulnerable groups - such as the Roma, the largest ethnic minority in Europe - endure popular social stigma despite national and EU-level rhetoric on equal rights.

This reporter in 2010 met several Bulgarian-origin Roma families in Brussels who pretend to be Turkish in order to suffer less racism. "Many of us carry the stigma as a burden, others act against the stigma. It's more comforting to do so, in a sense," one of the contacts said.

Greece opens first migrant detention centre

Greece has set up its first detention centre for undocumented migrants - composed of box homes surrounded by high wire - meant to house 1,200 people.

Focus

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  2. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  3. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  4. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  6. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  7. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  8. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  10. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  11. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  12. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU