EU member states should “refrain from inciting fear and hatred among their citizens towards migrants and asylum-seekers for political gain”, MEPs say in a resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, passed on Tuesday.

"The European Union should not just deal with societal, legal and economic problems. The EU must also deal with the issue of fundamental rights and should set a good example”, said rapporteur József Nagy (EPP, SK).


The resolution addresses key fundamental rights challenges in the EU in 2015, notably in the fields of migration, protection of children and online threats. It was passed by 456 votes to 138, with 104 abstentions. The rights to free movement and life-saving abortion are also stressed.


Preventing hate speech and improving integration

 

MEPs deplore the “increasing levels of hate speech from within certain institutions, political parties and media” and expect the EU to set an example of opposing hate speech within its institutions.


Member states should also step up their efforts to promote “European values, tolerance and a sense of community, without stigmatisation” to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism while developing positive information campaigns to help citizens view integration in a better way, says the text.


Migration: protecting vulnerable groups, in particular children


Vulnerable groups, in particular children on their own, should be identified as soon as possible, say MEPs. They call on member states to strengthen guardianship systems for unaccompanied children and encourage them to keep families together.


Citing a Europol report that at least 10,000 unaccompanied refugee and migrant children went missing in the EU in 2015, MEPs call on member states to register and identify children in a child-friendly way to prevent their disappearance. They also recommend reinforcing existing tools for tracing missing children, such as the European hotlines.


Online threats to fundamental rights

 

To counter risks that children face on the internet, such as sexual exploitation, child pornography or cyber-bullying, MEPs ask that Europol and Eurojust be given appropriate resources to identify victims, fight networks of abusers and accelerate the referral of child abuse material. They also call for awareness-raising campaigns and school programmes to teach children about potential risks related to the internet and call for further cooperation between the public and private sectors to this end.


MEPs also stress the challenge presented by the implications of widespread internet use and the need to consider the impact of new technologies, such as drones, on fundamental rights and privacy.


Background

 

The resolution on fundamental rights in the EU 2015 is Parliament’s reply to the Commission’s annual report on fundamental rights in the EU. Other topics addressed in the text include fundamental rights of minorities, in particular the Roma community, LGTBI people, women, elderly and people with disabilities.


On 25 October, Parliament called for an EU mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights to monitor the situation of these principles in EU member states on an annual basis and in an evidence based, objective and non-discriminatory way.


Procedure:  Non-legislative procedure