27th February 2013: Andrew Brons has received a response to his Question to the European Council Requiring a Written Answer (E-011371/2012) on the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
"I refer to the draft Council decision establishing a Multiannual Framework for 2013-2017 for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (10449/2012 – C7-0169/2012 – 2011/0431(APP)).
The Council has proposed the following thematic area: ‘Racism, xenophobia and related intolerance’.
Will the Council kindly provide its full definition of both ‘racism’ and ‘xenophobia’?"
This was the reply:
"Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states that the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.
The EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin and religion or belief.
Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Union competence to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based inter alia on racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief. Article 67(3) of the TFEU states that the Union shall endeavour to ensure a high level of security inter alia through measures to prevent and combat crime, racism and xenophobia.
In furtherance of the protection of these common values, two acts were adopted:
- Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin which includes definitions of the respective meanings of direct and indirect discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin1; and
- Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law2 which defines a common EU-wide criminal law and criminal justice approach to combating racism and xenophobia.
This Framework Decision defines offences concerning racism and xenophobia and thus ensures that such behaviour constitutes an offence throughout the EU Member States. This serves as a minimum harmonisation of what is understood as "racism and xenophobia" across the EU.
In accordance with Article 1 of the Framework Decision, "each Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable:
(a) publicly inciting to violence or hatred 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;
(b) the commission of an act referred to in point (a) by public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material;
(c) publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, 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 the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite to violence or hatred against such a group or a member of such a group;
(d) publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising the crimes defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal appended to the London Agreement of 8 August 1945, 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 the conduct is carried out in a manner likely to incite to violence or hatred against such a group or a member of such a group."
The Multiannual Framework of the Fundamental Rights Agency 2007-20123 included a thematic area of "racism , xenophobia and related intolerance." Since the Agency was built upon the European
Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, it has carried out useful studies and projects in the field of racism and xenophobia. The same thematic priority has been included in the Commission proposal1 for a Council decision establishing a new Multiannual Framework for 2013-2017, which has not yet been formally adopted.