Saturday

19th Oct 2019

France to fight racism and anti-Semitism in 2015

  • Both Merkel and Hollande spoke out against racism in their New Year speeches (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

French leader Francois Hollande has joined German chancellor Angela Merkel in a warning against racism in his New Year speech.

In a televised address on Wednesday (31 December) focused largely on the economy, Hollande spoke of defending French values in the face of new social devisions.

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

He spoke out against stigmatising any single religion and defended the ideals of secularism and the dignity of women.

"It's when France forgets its principles that it loses itself," he said.

“I am making the fight against racism and anti-Semitism a national priority".

He added that France cannot forget its history, in reference to the deportation of Jews to German extermination camps during the second world war.

France has some of the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe. Both communities are subjected to slurs and violence.

But last year’s Israeli military operation against Gaza provoked a backlash against the Jewish community in France.

The operation, which killed over 2,000 people, sparked street protests and is said to have contributed to a rise in attacks against Jewish targets after a fall in 2013.

France had recorded a 31 percent decline from 2012 (614) to 2013 (423) in the number of anti-Semitic actions and threats, according to France’s National Consultative Commission on Human Rights.

It notes that while Jews represent less than 1 percent of the French population, 40 percent of racist violence perpetrated in France in 2013 targeted Jews.

The most affected regions include Ile-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, and Rhone-Alpes.

The commission also says racist attacks against other minorities like the Roma, blacks, and France's large Muslim communities have increased over the years.

Recent targets include government officials such as the black justice minister Christiane Taubira and Muslim education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

Meanwhile, Merkel made similar comments in her New Year’s address.

The chancellor had spoken out against the so-called Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida).

In mid-December, some 17,000 Pegida supporters demonstrated in the eastern city of Dresden.

“Today many people are again shouting on Mondays: 'We are the people’. But what they really mean is: you are not one of us, because of your skin color or your religion,” said Merkel.

EU politicians deplore France shooting

EU politicians have deplored shootings at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo calling them "brutal" and "inhumane" and a direct attack on the freedom of press in Europe.

Automation threat to jobs will hit EU unevenly

New technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, have the potential "to displace some workers from their tasks, even causing some jobs to disappear entirely", affecting the work nature of millions of jobs in Europe, according to a new report.

And the world's heaviest drinkers are ... Europeans

Europeans still drink more alcohol than the rest of the word, according to a recently-released report of the World Health Organisation (WHO). Germany, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania are the heaviest-drinking EU countries.

News in Brief

  1. Macron: Nato's inability to react to Turkey a 'mistake'
  2. EU: US can expect counter measures after tariff move
  3. Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019
  4. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  5. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  6. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  7. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  8. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us