The European Commission presented the very first EU strategy to combat anti-Semitism and promote Jewish life. Faced with a worrying rise in anti-Semitism, in Europe and beyond, the Strategy sets out a series of measures structured around three pillars: preventing all forms of anti-Semitism; protect and promote Jewish life; and promote Holocaust research, education and remembrance. The strategy proposes measures to step up cooperation with online businesses to fight online anti-Semitism, better protect public spaces and places of worship, set up a European research center on contemporary anti-Semitism and create a network of sites where the Holocaust occurred. These measures will be reinforced by the EU’s international efforts to lead the global fight against anti-Semitism.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen noted: “Today we are committed to promoting Jewish life in Europe in all its diversity. We want to see Jewish life flourish again in the heart of our communities. It should be like that. The strategy we are presenting today is a radical change in the way we respond to anti-Semitism. Europe can only prosper when its Jewish communities feel secure and prosper. “
Vice-president for the promotion of our European way of life, Margaritis Schinas added: “Anti-Semitism is incompatible with EU values and with our European way of life. This strategy – the first of its kind – is our commitment to combat it in all its forms and to secure a future for Jewish life in Europe and beyond. We owe it to those who perished in the Holocaust, we owe it to the survivors, and we owe it to future generations. “
Towards a European Union without anti-Semitism
The strategy defines measures focused on: (1) preventing and combating all forms of anti-Semitism; (2) protect and promote Jewish life in the EU; and (3) education, research and remembrance of the Holocaust. These measures are complemented by the EU’s international efforts to combat anti-Semitism on a global scale.
Some of the key actions of the Strategy include:
- Prevent and combat all forms of anti-Semitism: Nine in ten Jews consider anti-Semitism to be on the rise in their country, with 85% seeing it as a serious problem. To address this, the Commission will mobilize EU funds and support Member States in the design and implementation of their national strategies. The Commission will support the creation of a Europe-wide network of trusted flaggers and Jewish organizations to eliminate illegal hate speech online. It will also support the development of stories against anti-Semitic content online. The Commission will work with industry and IT companies to prevent the illegal online display and sale of Nazi-related symbols, memorabilia and literature.
- Protect and promote Jewish life in the EU: 38% of Jews have considered emigrating because they do not feel safe as Jews in the EU. To ensure that Jews feel safe and can participate fully in European life, the Commission will provide EU funding to better protect public spaces and places of worship. The next call for proposals will be published in 2022, making EUR 24 million available. Member States are also encouraged to use Europol’s support for counterterrorism activities, both online and offline. To promote Jewish life, the Commission will take measures to safeguard Jewish heritage and raise awareness of Jewish life, culture and traditions.
- Holocaust education, research and commemoration: Currently, one in 20 Europeans has never heard of the Holocaust. To keep the memory alive, the Commission will support the creation of a network of places where the Holocaust occurred, but which are not always known, for example hiding places or shooting ranges. The Commission will also support a new network of young European ambassadors to promote the memory of the Holocaust. With EU funding, the Commission will support the creation of a European research hub on contemporary anti-Semitism and Jewish life, in cooperation with Member States and the research community. In order to showcase Jewish heritage, the Commission will invite the candidate cities for the title of European Capital of Culture to address the history of their minorities, including the history of the Jewish community.
The EU will use all available tools to call on partner countries to tackle anti-Semitism in the EU’s neighborhood and beyond, including through cooperation with international organizations. He will ensure that EU external funds are not misused for activities that incite hatred and violence, including against the Jewish people. The EU will strengthen EU-Israel cooperation in the fight against anti-Semitism and promote the revitalization of Jewish heritage around the world.
The strategy will be implemented over the period 2021-2030. The Commission invites the European Parliament and the Council to support the implementation of the strategy and will publish full implementation reports in 2024 and 2029. Member States have already committed to prevent and combat all forms of anti-Semitism by means of new national strategies or measures within the framework of existing national strategies and / or action plans on the prevention of racism, xenophobia, radicalization and extremism violent. The national strategies are expected to be adopted by the end of 2022 and will be assessed by the Commission by the end of 2023.
This strategy is the EU’s commitment to a future for Jewish life in Europe and beyond. It marks the political commitment of the Commission for a European Union free from anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, for an open, inclusive and egalitarian society in the EU.
Following the Colloquium on fundamental rights on anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred, in 2015 the Commission appointed its very first Coordinator for the fight against anti-Semitism and the promotion of Jewish life. In June 2017, the The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the fight against anti-Semitism. In December 2018, the Council adopted a Declaration on the fight against anti-Semitism. In December 2019, the fight against anti-Semitism became part of the portfolio of the Vice-President of the Commission for the Promotion of our European Way of Life, signaling the intention to make it a cross-cutting priority. In December 2020, the Council adopted a new Declaration focused on mainstreaming the fight against anti-Semitism in all policy areas.
Many of the policy areas related to the fight against anti-Semitism fall mainly under national competence. However, the EU has an important role to play by providing political guidance, coordinating the actions of Member States, monitoring implementation and progress, providing support through EU funds and encouraging development. ‘exchange of good practices between Member States. To this end, the Commission will make its Anti-Semitism Working Group into a permanent structure, bringing together Member States and Jewish communities.
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