European Parliament adopts an anti-racism resolution
On 17 June 2020, the European Parliament held a debate with a resolution titled “The anti-racism protests following the death of George Floyd”. On 19 June 2020, Members of the European Parliament voted in favour and adopted the resolution responding to structural racism in the USA and Europe, also saluted for condemning slavery as a crime against humanity.
The Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup Presidents’ and Members’ proposals aimed at strengthening both anti-racist narratives and actions, while addressing manifestations of structural racism in the USA and in Europe, including police brutality.
Evin Incir, a Swedish MEP, ARDI Co-Chair and the shadow rapporteur for the Socialists and Democrats described the passing of the anti-racism resolution today as “a victory for all of us who have experienced and been exposed to structural racism and discrimination”, but also as “a win for anyone who believes in democratic and equal societies”. This resolution contains several concrete proposals, including to arrange an EU Summit and create strong anti-racism policies at both the EU and Member States level, she explained and called it “a big step forward in the fight against racism”.
Monica Silvana Gonzalez, her fellow Socialist and Democrat from Spain and ARDI Co-Chair said that “police brutality resulted in death of George Floyd finally was a wake-up call for the EP and pointed out that Members of the European Parliament raised their voices against structural inequalities, injustice and violence. “We fought to respond to demands of racial justice advocates and we fought to reinforce the anti-discrimination legislation frameworks, such as blocked and long-awaited Equal Treatment Directive”, MEP Gonzalez emphasized.
Younous Omarjee, a French MEP and ARDI Co-Chair from GUE/NGL expressed that he is “proud to have been followed by MEPs in the declaration by the European parliament to solemnly condemn slavery as a crime against humanity”. “It is a symbolic act which must be concretized by the best appropriation of history to combat racism”, affirmed MEP Omarjee.
Cornelia Ernst, a German MEP, ARDI Co-Chair from GUE/NGL focused on an urgent need to apply the EP legislative work in practice. “This is a good start, but where we go from here is much more important. We want to see the Commission now implementing the proposals, we want to see the money being spent to address structural racism, we must see them preventing racist institutions from benefiting from EU funds, we must see police officers being properly punished for their brutality”, she listed some of the proposals and added that they “must reach the ground and be pushed forward by many actors at all levels”. “This is difficult to achieve. But we have no luxury to stop our fight. On the contrary, we have to intensify it now”, MEP Ernst concluded.
Peter Pollak, an MEP from Slovakia and ARDI Vice-Chair from European People’s Party emphasized: “Everything starts with recognition, only then solutions could be found. Today´s adoption of the EP Resolution is a step in the right direction. The structural racism, violence and brutality exercised by police exist across the EU Member States, not only in the US. Also in my own country, Slovakia. Just in April this year, I launched the investigation where the victims of such police brutality were five young children. They were beaten by a policeman with a truncheon and even threatened to shoot them. This is unacceptable! We cannot turn a blind eye on such behaviour. It not only diminishes human dignity but also undermines our values we cherish.”
Hilde Vautmans, a Belgian MEP, ARDI Vice-Chair, Renew Europe shared her hopes while also calling on everyone to contribute: “After today's vote, I am hopeful that change is possible. I am hopeful that one day, skin colour will no longer be a ground for discrimination in our societies. But there's a lot of work ahead of us. We can have the best strategies and action plans in place. In the end, change will be determined by us and by the extent to which we live up to those strategies and plans. So today, I call on everyone to take his or her responsibility and do better. Every little bit helps.”