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The European Union agrees with the need to address robustly the manifestations of racism and racial discrimination, in particular hate speech both online and off line that disseminates ideas of superiority and incites to hatred and violence.
The EU is equipped with a Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law, which sets the framework for a common response to incitement to hatred and violence.
We have also taken a range of policy measures and actions, including by entering into a Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online together with Facebook, Microsoft, Google (YouTube) and Twitter, in May 2016. The Code's main objective is to ensure that illegal hate speech is expeditiously assessed and, where necessary, removed, in particular on social media platforms where hate speech features frequently and spread virally.
The impact of the Code of Conduct is being regularly monitored and most recent results show very positive trend revealing continuous progress by the IT Companies on the swift removal of illegal hate speech. Two years after signature of the Code, evaluations show that IT Companies respond to notices within 24h and remove on average 72% of content notified to them, compared to 59% in 2017 and only 28% in 2016.
The Code of conduct also recognizes the value of independent counter narratives and support to educational programs fostering positive narratives. The European Commission will continue to facilitate these promising developments to allow for a scaling up of activities by the stakeholders in this area, for example by fostering exchanges of ideas, design and technical know-how to create visible and coordinated campaigns.
I thank you.