Recognise hate speech and hate crimes as EU-wide offenses to curb the rise of hatred

Author: Caroline Rhawi



Stop Hate Landscape

The European Parliament, under the leadership of of MEP Maite Pagazaurtundúa, today sends a strong political call to extend the list of EU-crimes to include hate speech and hate crime, in a move to tackle the recent rise in Europe, particularly in the wake of the re-escalation of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

This will help bring universal protection to targeted and vulnerable groups and communities in society by establishing EU-wide minimum standards for defining criminal offences and sanctions to combat, and stop the normalisation of, intolerance, stigmatisation and discrimination.

Maite Pagazaurtundúa (Spain), rapporteur for the report and Member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said:

The current EU legal framework only covers hate speech and hate crimes on some bases, but there is currently no common, comprehensive legal definition at Union level. With the new social dynamics, the normalisation of hate evolves very quickly and we must protect ourselves as a society and protect people who are attacked, persecuted and harassed.

Radical networks and extreme polarisation are a favourable environment for increasing these behaviours that violate fundamental rights. With this report we ask the Council to give the green light to legislate against hate crime and hate speeches in European terms, always in accordance with the principle of proportionality and guaranteeing freedom of expression for citizen.”

The report, debated in Parliament today and set to be adopted tomorrow, calls on the three remaining Member States in the Council to stop blocking the proposal for a Council decision to extend the list of EU crimes, which the European Commission put forward over two years ago. If no progress is made within a near future, rapporteur Pagazaurtundúa calls for adopting the proposal by activating the so-called 'passerelle clause', bypassing the unanimity requirement in the Council.


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