29th May 2013: Andrew Brons has received a response to his Question for Written Answer to the European Commission on the European Agency for Fundamental Rights - simple definition.
"I refer to your reply of 14 February 2013 to my Written Question E-011372/2012.
"You have not provided a clear definition for each of the words ‘racism’ and ‘xenophobia’, as I had requested.
"In the footnote to the answer given, you refer to ‘Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions or racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law’.
"I am not asking for your definitions of all the ‘forms and manifestations’ that ‘racism and xenophobia’ can cause or take.
"I am merely asking that you provide a definition of each term, as used by the Commission and as employed, for example, in the aforementioned Framework Decision. This is regardless of whether certain manifestations constitute offences or whether they are not currently regarded as such.
"If it cannot define what it means when it employs these terms, how are members of the public, or my constituents, to comprehend the Commission’s views, statements or opinions, be they written or spoken?
"Will you please provide your all-embracing definition of each word, as the Commission understands them whenever it employs them?"
Answer given by Ms Reding on behalf of the Commission:
"The Commission refers to its reply to the written question E-011372/2012.
"In its work, the Commission uses the concepts of racism and xenophobia in the meaning defined in relevant EU law, including Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia, to which the Honourable Member refers. In the context of this instrument (Article 1), these concepts refer to "violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin".
"The Commission also applies, as appropriate, the definitions used in relevant international human rights instruments and by relevant international human rights bodies, such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination1 and the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance."