Delegation of the European Union to Israel

Statement by Vice-President Schinas on the Council Declaration on fighting Antisemitism

Brussels, 03/12/2020 - 08:32, UNIQUE ID: 201203_3
Statements on behalf of the EU

2 December 2020

The European Commission welcomes today’s unanimous approval of a Council declaration mainstreaming the fight against antisemitism across all policy areas. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, issued the following statement:

“Europe stands firm against all forms of antisemitism. Jewish life is and always will be part of European societies and our way of life. The Member States’ commitment taken today once more reaffirms this fact. I welcome this declaration, which aims to raise awareness across all policy levels in order to prevent and fight antisemitism.

Today’s Council Declaration recognises, with great concern, the rise in threats towards Jewish people - both online and offline. It calls for much needed decisive actions. It reiterates that Member States have a duty to ensure the security of Jewish communities and institutions. It also acknowledges the importance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism as a guiding tool for better identifying and addressing this scourge. I call on Member States to follow up on this commitment with concrete actions.

The Commission is determined to continue addressing antisemitism holistically. To this effect, we will present a comprehensive EU Strategy on combating against antisemitism in 2021, to complement and support Member States’ efforts.”

Background

The European Commission is committed to tackling antisemitism across policies, and carries a range of activities including security, remembrance, education and legislation.

As part of the 2018 "EU Council Declaration on the fight against antisemitism and the development of a common security approach to better protect Jewish communities and institutions in Europe", Member States committed to adopting national strategies against antisemitism. The Commission supports these efforts with its Working Group on Antisemitism (see Commission statement). 

Since then, 18 EU Member States have adopted the non-legally binding International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, which the Commission has been using as basis of its work since 2017.

On 10 December 2019, the Fundamental Rights Agency – upon request of the Commission – published the largest survey ever held among European Jews on their perception and experience of Antisemitism. The survey was complemented by a Eurobarometer survey among general population on perceptions of antisemitism in 2019.

The European Commission appreciates the strong engagement of the German Presidency in the fight against antisemitism and the close collaboration with the Commission on the online high-level conferences on “Working together to fight antisemitism in Europe: Structures and strategies for a holistic approach” and "Antisemitism online – The role of prevention and education in tackling antisemitic hate speech".

Security remains the concern number one for many Jewish communities. The Commission has recently made 12 million EUR available for proposals on the protection of public spaces, in particular places of worship.

The internet is the number one source of antisemitic hate speech. The EU Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online shows positive results. On average 90% of the notifications are reviewed within 24 hours and 71% of the content is removed.

More information about the Commission’s work on tackling Antisemitism can be found online.

 

Contacts :

Christian Wigand (Tél.: + 32 229 62253)

Katarzyna Kolanko (Tél.: + 32 229 63444)

Jördis Ferroli (Tél.: + 32 229 92729)

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