Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) In consideration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) co-hosted the second EU Anti-Racism and Diversity Week in Brussels on 21-22 March 2023.
The two-day event brought together people, passionate about tackling racial discrimination, and created a space of discussion between institutions, civil society organizations, anti-racist actors, and activists.
A conversation on the current situation of racial discrimination, its various manifestations, and the available policy tools to combat racism, mainstream racial equality, and assess the European anti-discrimination agenda was held as part of this initiative. The main topics discussed were the EU Anti-racism action plan and national Anti-racism Action Plans, artificial intelligence, climate Justice, intersectional discrimination, migration, and remembrance and repair.
During the event, the participants had the opportunity to participate in interactive workshops to reflect on the current state of racism in Europe.
European Parliament’s and Commission’s contribution
The event started with a message from the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, addressing the need for a new Europe, a Europe without racial discrimination. She commented that the Parliament will continue to fight for racial justice and diversity.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the event and stated: ‘’Today our Union has its first Action Plan against racism. We have appointed our first anti-racism coordinator. We have set out the first European strategy to fight anti-semitism and foster Jewish life in Europe, and a new European Roma Strategy. And we have appointed a new anti-Muslim hatred coordinator. We have also proposed to include hate crimes and hate speech in the list of EU crimes that must be sanctioned all across our Union. Because using race and color as a slur is not free speech. It is a criminal offense. This is the broadest set of anti-racism actions in the history of our Union.’’
Further comment came from the EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli. She agreed with the need for structural solutions and highlighted the importance of equality data.
Also, Samira Rafaela, an MEP, Co-President of the European Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI), and a member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), discussed the implementation of the EU’s legislation. She commented that the legal applications have a “massive gap” and encourage the enactment of intersectional discrimination legislation.