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Parliamentary questions
1 September 2010
E-4895/10E-4896/10
Joint answer given by Ms Vassiliou on behalf of the Commission
Written questions : E-4895/10 , E-4896/10

In reply to the Written Question E‑4895/10, the Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that the 2005 Unesco Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions mainly aims to reaffirm the sovereign right of States to draw up cultural policies and to recognise the specific nature of cultural goods and services as vehicles of identity, values and meaning. It is therefore a tool to preserve cultural identities, rather than to dilute them as the Honourable Member fears(1).

Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(2) aims at penalising, inter alia, the intentional public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. The European Court of Human Rights has declared that it may be considered necessary in democratic societies to sanction all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance.

As regards the Written Question E‑4896/10, the Commission refers the Honourable Member to its reply to his Question E‑2056/10(3) which summarised its view on the subject.

The Commission would like to conclude that it does not make value judgments on minority and majority cultures and identities, but seeks to support understanding and tolerance between people. It promotes the integration of migrants for the well being of both migrants and the rest of the population and intercultural dialogue as a means to increase understanding and respect between individuals and groups. Fostering peace, tolerance and understanding between people from diverse cultural backgrounds is one of the fundamental goals of the European Union. The Commission is committed to support and defend such values.

(1)More information may be found at http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=33014&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
(2)Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law, OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, pp. 55‑58.
(3)http://www.europarl.europa.eu/QP-WEB

OJ C 191 E, 01/07/2011
Last updated: 10 September 2010Legal notice