Position Paper on EU anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025
George Floyd’s brutal death on 25 May 2020 at the hands of Minneapolis police trigged in the United States widespread and long-lasting protests against systemic racism spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter movement. This murder’s ripple effects are still being felt, notably in Europe. The European Parliament’s anti-racism resolution of 16 June and the European Commission’s firm stance against racism expressed in President von der Leyen’s State of the European Union speech and reflected in the EU anti- racism Action Plan issued on 18 September are testament to the momentum created.
While ADEPT – the Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform – believes that this long-overdue action plan would have necessitated a much wider and longer consultation, we welcome a landmark document whose comprehensiveness acknowledges the depth and breadth of racism in European countries. We are notably particularly satisfied with the following proposals, which are critical for effectively highlighting and addressing racial inequalities:
– Improved data collection disaggregated by race or ethnicity by Member States
– Elaboration and adoption of national action plans against racism by Member States by the end of 2022.
– Fight against racism and discrimination, notably in employment, education, healthcare and housing through European Commission’s policy measures and financing.
However, ADEPT calls on the Commission and EU Member States to show greater ambition and determination as regards:
– Education has the capacity of being a game-changer when it comes to addressing and eradicating racism. historical roots of racism – imperialism, colonialism and slavery – have to be taught extensively and in all their complexity to, among other things, combat ethnic and racial stigmas which are likely to inhibit the ability of persons with a minority racial or ethnic background to realize their full potential and which in some cases cause loss of life.
– Equally important, EU countries must be particularly watchful and self-critical to prevent the development or the perpetuation of structural racism at the core of education systems.
Law enforcement authorities
– Stronger emphasis needs to be placed on law enforcement authorities’ discriminatory attitudes which deserve on the one hand increased prevention and on the other hand heavier sanctions.
EU Civil society involvement
– So as to guarantee the best level of granularity, relevance and ownership, this action plan’s implementation requires more than mere dialogues with relevant civil society’s organisations. Strong multipartite partnerships, in particular between the European Commission, diaspora organisations’ networks and anti-racism organisations should be established.
– Increased financial support will have to be allocated to anti-racism civil society organisations to allow them to launch impactful large-scale media campaigns against racism for instance.
EU institutions’ human resources
– In each European Commission’s Directorate General, one or several staff members should be responsible for diversity and inclusion and tasked with not only ensuring staff increased representativeness but also with collecting and reporting complaints of racism. Similar positions should be created within other EU institutions.
– Likewise, representativeness measures need to be taken by the Commission and EU Member States regarding the staffing of EU Delegations and European countries’ Embassies respectively.
In our view, measures should be extended to EU External action:
– While conversations about the need for a “decolonisation” of humanitarian and development aid are raging, the European Commission and EU Member should pave the way for more diversity and inclusion in these two types of activities as well. This would notably translate into systematic involvement of diaspora organisations in development circles and structured dialogue between EU high-ranking decision-makers and networks of diaspora organisations.
European Union’s motto “United in Diversity” will remain meaningless as long as segments of European societies continue to fall victims to individual and structural racism. The EU anti-racism Action Plan is a step forward that must materialise in order to turn European Union’s unravelling social fabric into a tight- knit one.
On behalf of ADEPT’s 44 members