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“We need concrete tools for fighting racism”

Met dank overgenomen van Portugees voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 19 maart 2021.

Effective use of the motto of the European Union, “United in Diversity”, was the message of the European Anti-Racism Summit, which was held today.

Arguing that “the tools for fighting discrimination must be as real as the actual experience of discrimination”, the Portuguese Minister of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Mariana Vieira da Silva, said that the European Commission (EC) and the Member States must make a commitment to open and continued dialogue in order to implement more effective anti-racism policies.

Mariana Vieira da Silva reiterated the commitment of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU to advancing the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025. Presented by the EC in September 2020, it provides for each of the 27 Member States adopting national action plans against racism and racial discrimination by the end of 2022.

Using race and colour as a slur is not free speech

In the message she addressed to the summit, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, pointed out that “we need to send a strong message against racism all across our Union. Including, when necessary, by means of criminal law. It's plain and simple. In our Union, using race and colour as a slur is not free speech. It is a criminal offence”.

Ursula von der Leyen also added that the anti-racism policies that are being implemented have moved to “the next level, mobilising all tools at our disposal”, such as better rules and European funding in order to make it possible to follow through on this commitment.

The first European Anti-Racism Summit was co-organised by the European Commission and by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, in association with the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup.

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