Saturday, July 02 2016

New EU laws will make it harder for far-right groups to get funding

The European Commission issued a statement last month on new laws to be adopted which will make it difficult for far-right and specifically racist and xenophobic parties to obtain EU funding.

From United Against Racism’s e-news report:

“Last month, the European Commission finally backed a proposal for new laws that intend to cut off EU funding for racist or xenophobic parties and their associated foundations. The proposal demands European political parties and foundations to register officially under EU law to get a new legal status that allows them to receive EU funding.

“To obtain this new European legal status it is required to fulfil certain criteria and respect the values on which the EU is founded, namely "respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities".

“The part regarding minorities is a new addition that will leave far right parties struggling to receive this status.

The article states that the decision follows controversy that arose after the Bureau of the European Parliament’s granted 289,266 Euros in funding to the far-right ‘Alliance of European Nationalist Movements’, which includes parties such as the BNP, the Swedish National Democrats and Finnish Freedom Party. Commenting on the move, Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda said that "It is time to stop to keep giving EU money to rightist and xenophobic parties that are systematically rallying against EU values and principles."

It is hoped that the new rules will be in place in time for the next European elections in 2014 and possibly as early as next July.

The rise of racist and Islamophobic far-right movements across Europe has become of increasing concern for many who have observed their growing popularity and activism in recent years. A report published earlier this year by the Institute for Race Relations on the violent impact of the far right in Europe emphasised that “Islamophobia [is] now emerging as the acceptable faces of European racism”. Moreover, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Nils Muiznieks, recently wrote an article urging a “European Spring” in order for the continent to overcome manifestations of racism and intolerance in the region. MEPs have also expressed concern over the use of the EU Parliament’s facilities by far right organisations after it emerged in July that groups, including the English Defence League, held meetings at the venue with other like-minded organisations under the name ‘International Civil Liberties Alliance’ to evade identification. The new EU laws will hopefully clamp down on the exploitation of EU facilities and funding by far right groups eager to spread their anti-Muslim messages abroad.

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