Faced with the upsurge in xenophobia in Europe, MEPs want to take firm action against neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups, which currently benefit from a certain level of discretion in several countries. EURACTIV France reports.
Xenophobia is fuelled by neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in Europe, which should be banned as a matter of urgency, the European Parliament demanded on Thursday (25 October).
MEPs have adopted a resolution condemning the surge in the number of incidents related to hatred and intolerance in Europe. The resolution also calls for action to be taken against small far-right groups which fuel the rise in xenophobia.
According to the resolution – which was adopted with 355 votes in favour, 90 against and 39 abstentions – “the lack of serious action against neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups has enabled the occurrence of the current xenophobic surge in Europe”.
MEPs notably pointed at the rise in serious attacks motivated by xenophobia, such as the 2011 attacks in Norway, the murder of British MP Jo Cox and even the recent attack on EMP Eleonara Forenzo by small fascist groups in Italy.
A degree of impunity
The resolution calls on member states, among other things, to condemn and sanction hate crimes and hate speech in the strongest terms. Moreover, it requests that they ban neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups or any other foundation or association that exalts and glorifies and glorifies Nazism and fascism.
Another lever for action advocated by MEPs is the fight against online hate speech. The internet is the main vehicle for the dissemination of racist, fascist and xenophobic speech.
“We urgently need to denounce these movements which are not admissible in our democracies under any circumstances. From Jo Cox’s murder by a person from the far-right to the Italian who shot at six migrants during a racially motivated attack, via the homophobic attacks in France, these unacceptable acts are increasing,” pointed out Sylvie Guillaume, vice-president of the European Parliament.
The French socialist particularly singled out Génération Identitaire (“Generation Identity”), a French far-right group responsible for several crackdown operations against refugees in recent months, particularly in France.
In April 2018, a handful of activists from various European countries erected a symbolic border at Col de l’Échelle in the Alps, which acts as a passage for refugees wanting to reach France from Italy.
In October, the small far-right group took over the headquarters of SOS Méditerranée in Marseille, the NGO which funds sea rescues of migrants aboard the emblematic ship, the Aquarius.
“We strongly condemn the French inaction against a small group like Génération Identitaire, despite our repeated requests for its dissolution. We would like the new minister of the interior to embark on a different course from his predecessor. These groups represent a danger for citizens and our democracies!” called Guillaume.
In its latest report published in March, the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) considered that the level of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia were “extremely worrying”.