The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) very much welcomes the Council's adoption, on 28th November 2008, of the Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia - exactly seven years after it had first been presented by the European Commission.
Since the original proposal in 2001, FRA, and its predecessor the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), have highlighted the pressing need for an EU-wide response to the problem of racist violence and related racist and xenophobic crimes. The Agency's Annual Reports on the situation regarding racism and xenophobia in the EU have consistently outlined the problem of unequal responses to racist and related crimes in the Member States, and have called for the adoption of the Framework Decision as an EU-wide legislative response to this social ill. Other Agency publications have also addressed the impact of racist and xenophobic crime on particularly vulnerable groups in society - such as the Roma and Jewish people. In addition, over a number of years the Agency has either directly organised or participated in various events that have called for the approximation of criminal law in this area; including, amongst others, a public hearing on the Framework Decision at the European Parliament and a seminar under the Austrian Presidency.
FRA sees the adoption of the Framework Decision as an important tool for the EU-wide condemnation of racist and xenophobic crime. At the same time, the Framework Decision can be considered as a first step towards possible recognition of a range of crimes that impact on other vulnerable social groups, such as the LGBT community and the disabled, which are not currently encompassed under the Framework Decision. To this end, FRA will continue to monitor the situation in the EU with respect to intolerance and crime on the grounds of racism and xenophobia, as well as on other grounds.
Read more on the Council's website: