Europe says no to racism denialism

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After long decades of redeeming for faults about nazism, current deep economic crisis appears to have intensified feelings of racial hate in all countries, the peripheral as well as core ones. Greece has neo-Nazi organisation Golden Dawn with 18 seats at the Hellenic Parliament, and France has recently expelled near 5,000 Romanian and Bulgarian gipsies.

At the same time the EC celebrated the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January, European executive’s vice-president and responsible for Justice Viviane Reding urged national government to recognize denialism of crimes against humanity such as jewish genocide as criminal offence. Since 2008 the institution is trying to homogenize member states laws via a Framework decision, especially over hate speech and crimes involving hatred. Although most of countries have implemented legal provisions on the affair, these remain “inadequate” in nineteen of European nations since they seemingly do not “fully” transpose offences included in the Framework decision, according to the EC.

First step to solve this question will be foreseen bilateral meetings of European executive with member states through current year in order to improve national laws. However, it is thougth to leave isolated cases of hate speech and crimes of hatred in the hands of every country.

Some political analysts in Spain are not fully convinced about defining denialism as criminal offence. Journalist Nacho Segurado has referred in his blog to the fact that Europe has no a common historical memory. “Not all members states has the same relation with their totalitarian past,” he said. Secondly, he pointed out that “well-meaning obsession of lawmaking about past times is very dangerous. Behind resorting to penal code underlies vain pedagogy, and just behind that, the  tentation of making Europe’s history a sort of moral memory palace.”

On her part, Viviane Reding defends that changes in law  will allow “to reach peace among European Union’s nations.”. However, it still remains another challenge. “Continuing the fight for tolerante within our societies. Nobody should suffer hate speech or crimes of hatred,” Reding said.

About the Author

Julia Pastor
Julia Pastor has broad experience in business writing for Consejeros Media Group at Consejeros, Consenso del Mercado and The Corner. Previously, she worked for the financial news agency GBA and contributed to El País Business. She holds a Master's in Financial Journalism and a degree in English from the Complutense University in Madrid.

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