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Parliamentary questions
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19 October 2018
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-004464/2018

The Commission has no specific information concerning the events referred to by the Honourable Members.

Under the framework Decision on combatting racism and xenophobia, Member States must ensure that public incitement to violence or hatred is criminalised.

The definition of public incitement includes gross trivialisation, denying or condoning of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, when 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 when carried out in a manner likely to incite to violence or hatred including through the use of Nazi and fascist symbols and slogans(1).

However, the Commission has no competence to investigate alleged individual cases of hate speech and hate crime. It is for national law enforcement and judicial authorities to investigate and prosecute any such instance under relevant provisions of national law(2).

The Commission supports national authorities and civil society to effectively implement the framework Decision by providing guidance and fostering exchanges and dissemination of good practices.

It is also the primary competence of the Member States to deal with the sensitive and complex issue of addressing the horrors and crimes committed under totalitarian regimes. Each Member State has its own approach to this issue but, in the interests of reconciliation, the memory of those crimes must be a collective memory, shared and promoted, where possible, by all.

(1)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.
(2)In particular Article 510 of the Spanish Criminal Code.

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