Procedure : 2013/2543(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0123/2013

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 12/03/2013 - 6
CRE 12/03/2013 - 6

Votes :

PV 14/03/2013 - 8.3

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0121/2013

to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on strengthening the fight against racism, xenophobia and hate crime (2013/2543(RSP))

Kinga Göncz, Sylvie Guillaume, Claude Moraes, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Michael Cashman, Monika Flašíková Beňová, Ioan Enciu on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on strengthening the fight against racism, xenophobia and hate crime (2013/2543(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the international human rights instruments prohibiting discrimination, notably the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD),

–   having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 14 thereof, which prohibits ‘discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status’, and amending Protocol No 12 thereto, on the general prohibition of discrimination, and to the related case law of the European Court of Human Rights,

–   having regard to Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which prohibits ‘any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation’ or on grounds of nationality,

–   having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which states that the EU ‘is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail’,

–   having regard to Article 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which states that ‘in defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall aim to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation’,

–   having regard to Article 19 TFEU, which gives the EU a political mandate to ‘take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation’,

–   having regard to Article 67 TFEU, which states that the EU ‘shall endeavour to ensure a high level of security through measures to prevent and combat [...] racism and xenophobia’,

–   having regard to Article 83(2) TFEU, which enables the EU, ‘if the approximation of criminal laws and regulations of the Member States proves essential to ensure the effective implementation of a Union policy in an area which has been subject to harmonisation measures’, to adopt directives to ‘establish minimum rules with regard to the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area concerned’,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Gypsyism, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, bias violence, extremism and an EU approach on criminal law,

–   having regard to the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and its work in the areas of non‑discrimination, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia and related intolerances and bias violence(1),

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas tackling racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Gypsyism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination, bias violence and hate crime is a priority for the EU;

B.  whereas, although all the Member States have introduced the prohibition of discrimination into their legal systems in order to promote equality for all, discrimination and hate crimes – i.e. violence and crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Gypsyism or religious intolerance, or by a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or membership of a minority group, on the basis of the non-exhaustive grounds listed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights – are on the rise in the EU;

C. whereas speeches, campaigns, publications and programmes spreading hate and intolerance are promoted by extremist and populist leaders whose parties have gained parliamentary representation in some Member States, and are therefore becoming mainstream; whereas these parties also have a growing presence in the media and a growing influence on the policymaking process and political debate;

D. whereas it is important that the EU and its Member States take action to fight racism and xenophobia, in both the private and the public spheres, by preventing them through education, promoting a culture of respect, acceptance and tolerance and ensuring that hate crimes are reported by victims, investigated by law enforcement agencies and sanctioned by the judicial system;

E.  whereas the current economic crisis is challenging the principle of solidarity, which is an underlying bond bringing together EU citizens as members of the same political community; whereas problems – such as unemployment, exclusion and insecurity – exploited by populist representations in the media are contributing to the rise of xenophobia;

F.  whereas the EU has adopted a series of instruments to combat such acts and discrimination, notably Council Directive 2000/43/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (the Racial Equality Directive)(2), Council Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (the Equal Treatment in Employment Directive)(3), Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law (the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia)(4) and the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies;

G. whereas Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime(5) requires the Member States to protect and support victims of bias violence without discrimination, including as regards their legal status, and acknowledges that victims having suffered a crime committed with a bias or discriminatory motive may require specific protection;

H. whereas the Commission’s 2008 proposal for a Council directive on protecting equal treatment outside employment irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (Equality Directive) has not been adopted by the Council after five years of debate, owing to staunch opposition from a few Member States;

I.   whereas Parliament has repeatedly called on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to strengthen the fight against violence and discrimination based on bias, such as racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Gypsyism, homophobia and transphobia;

J.   whereas it has notably called for:

a)  full implementation of the anti-discrimination directives already adopted and of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, which will become fully enforceable on 1 December 2014;

b)  the adoption without further delay of the Equality Directive;

c)  the review of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia in order to enlarge its scope to include grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and to strengthen its provisions and efficacy;

d)  the recognition in both national and European law of hate crime, the bias motivations underlying it and the effect it has on victims, and the collection of disaggregated data for all grounds of discrimination;

e)  the launch of a roadmap for equality on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;

f)   action to strengthen the fight against anti-Gypsyism, tackling discrimination against, and the segregation and unlawful expulsion of, Roma and guaranteeing the full exercise of their fundamental rights;

g)  public figures to refrain from making public statements that encourage or incite hatred or stigmatisation of groups of people on the basis of the non-exhaustive grounds listed in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

K. whereas the Irish Presidency launched a debate at the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council of 17-18 January 2013 on EU action to counter hate crime, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and homophobia, and highlighted the fact that better protection and data collection are necessary, as well as a stronger commitment by leaders to ‘actively uphold European values and foster a climate of mutual respect for and inclusion of persons of different religious or ethnic background or sexual orientation’;

L.  whereas the Commission recently warned about racist, extremist and populist political discourse, which may also inspire ‘lone wolves’ to carry out indiscriminate killings as the threat of violent extremism spreads;

M. whereas comprehensive data for all grounds of discrimination and for hate crime are a necessary tool for proving discrimination in legal proceedings, assessing the effectiveness of anti-discrimination legislation and designing targeted and effective legislation and policies;

N. whereas all the states participating in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including all the Member States, have acknowledged that hate crimes, defined as criminal offences committed with a bias motive, have to be tackled by means of criminal legislation and specific tailored policies;

1.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to strengthen the fight against hate crime and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours by:

a)   proposing an ambitious review of Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA along the lines indicated by Parliament, explicitly including certain forms and expressions of anti‑Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Gypsyism, homophobia and transphobia;

b)   properly transposing the Framework Decision and prosecuting xenophobia, racism, anti‑Gypsyism and other forms of violence and hatred against any minority group, including hate speech;

c)   ensuring that all relevant EU criminal law instruments, including the Framework Decision, propose a broader spectrum of graduated sanctions, including, where appropriate, alternative penalties such as community service, and that they fully respect fundamental rights, including freedom of expression;

d)  strengthening the role of the national authorities responsible for fighting discrimination in order to facilitate accountability for the promotion of hate speech and incitement of hate crime;

e)  launching a comprehensive strategy for fighting hate crime, bias violence and discrimination;

f)   approving without further delay the Equality Directive, which represents one of the main EU instruments for promoting and guaranteeing genuine equality in the EU and combating bias violence and discrimination;

g)  reviewing and strengthening the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies by recognising and providing long-term support for the fight against anti-Gypsyism;

h)  ensuring the implementation of national Roma integration strategies through periodic reviews, monitoring and support to enable local, regional and national authorities to develop and implement effective human-rights-compliant policies, programmes and action for the inclusion of Roma, using available funds, including EU funds; strictly monitoring respect for fundamental rights and the implementation of Directive 2004/38/EC(6) on the right to move and reside freely;

i)   systematically assessing the impact of, and use of the best practices developed through, the various relevant EU programmes (Daphne, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship 2007‑2013, Rights, Equality, Citizenship and Justice 2014-2020), including the participation of the relevant civil society organisations;

j)   ensuring that comprehensive and reliable data are collected on hate crime, i.e. recording, as a minimum, the number of incidents reported by the public and recorded by the authorities, the number of convictions, the grounds on which offences were found to be discriminatory and the punishments imposed, conducting crime victimisation surveys on the nature and extent of unreported crimes, the experiences of crime victims with law enforcement and the reasons for non-reporting, and organising awareness-raising campaigns among both victims of hate crime and the respective authorities;

k)  ensuring the collection of disaggregated data by the Member States for all types of discrimination, which should be used to develop fundamental rights indicators in cooperation with the FRA in order to frame properly informed and targeted legislation and policies, particularly in the field of non-discrimination and in the context of national Roma integration strategies;

l)   supporting training programmes for law enforcement and judicial authorities in tackling discriminatory police and court practices;

m) putting in place mechanisms to make hate crime visible in the EU by ensuring that bias‑motivated offences, such as those with racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, homophobic or transphobic intent, are punishable within the criminal law system, that these offences are recorded properly and investigated effectively, that offenders are prosecuted and punished and that victims are offered proper assistance, protection and compensation, thus encouraging victims of hate crime and witnesses to report incidents;

n)  implementing Parliament’s repeated request for a roadmap for equality on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;

o)  having the EU sign the UNCERD, given that all the Member States have already ratified it;

p)  implementing the relevant commitments made by the Member States within other international forums, including the OSCE’s Ministerial Council Decision No 9/09 on Combating Hate Crimes and Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity;

q)  supporting and supplementing national policies and programmes, with the particular aim of eradicating violence against people with disabilities when implementing the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020;

l)   mainstreaming issues related to all forms of bias violence in the work programme of the EU’s agencies (e.g. the FRA, Europol, the European Police College, Eurojust, FRONTEX and the European Asylum Support Office);

2.  Calls on those Member States objecting to and blocking the Equality Directive to make their reasons public so as to allow a public debate on them;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.



Such as: ‘Making hate crime visible in the European Union: acknowledging victims’ rights’,


OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.


OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.


OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.


OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.


OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.

Last updated: 6 March 2013Legal notice