27 May 2013
In a speech in Berlin, Germany this week, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström called for political action against the rise of xenophobia and violent extremism in Europe.
"We need dedicated discussions at the highest level – meaning the heads of state and government at the European Council", Malmström said.
Speaking at the "We are the others " conference, organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Malmström said that such a discussion should be followed by a joint EU commitment on how to stop the growing trends of xenophobia and extremism.
"I strongly recommend that such a discussion should happen as soon as possible and at least within a year. The time to act is now – not tomorrow, or when the economic crisis is over", Malmström added.
The conference, where European Parliament President Martin Schulz also spoke, aimed to identify the current trends in right-wing extremist parties and right-wing populist movements in Europe, and to discuss how European institutions are responding to the challenge.
In her speech, Commissioner Malmström stressed the need for political courage from leaders around Europe.
"Hand in hand with the economic crisis, xenophobia has worsened. At the same time, politicians' willingness to speak confidently about the role of immigrants in Europe's society has diminished. I am really concerned about the way that mainstream politicians blame all kinds of miseries on migration. There is a worrying lack of political leadership and political courage on this issue", Malmström said.
Read Cecilia Malmström's full speech at the conference here. In 2011, Cecilia Malmström launched the Radicalisation Awareness Network, supporting first-line practitioners involved in countering violent extremism, and facilitating the exchange of experiences and best practices. A high-level meeting was held in January of this year.