EU increases fight against hate and discrimination


European Union


Hate speech is growing online, especially during the Covid pandemic. Photo EPA, Sascha Steinbach

The European Commission wants to amend one of the EU’s founding texts to fight violence against women, LGBT, and other minorities more forcefully.

Politico claims to have seen a draft plan for that. The Commission is set to sign off on criminalising hate speech and violence through EU-wide rules. The rules would enable the Commission to put forward laws to punish misogyny and anti-LGBT abuse online and offline.

These changes are expected to be putting Brussels in collision with governments in Warsaw and Budapest. Especially LGBT people have lacked the legal protection in these countries in Western European member states. Hungary has accepted education laws in 2021, in which the traditional family has a leading place. In most other EU member states, this is received as a heteronormative preference from the state that is discriminative towards LGBT people.

Hate is coming into the mainstream

“In the last decades, there has been a sharp rise in hate speech and hate crime in Europe,” the draft communication on hate speech said, pointing to a worsening of such speech since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. “Hate is moving into the mainstream, targeting individuals and groups of people sharing or perceived as sharing ’a common characteristic,’ such as race, ethnicity, language, religion, nationality, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex characteristics or any other fundamental characteristic, or a combination of such characteristics,” the text said according to Politico.

The text is expected to be presented this week. It’s an early step in a broader plan to overhaul the EU’s rulebook on fighting hateful abuse.

A future proposal to stamp out violence against women is expected to come in March.



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