Socialist Worker

Damning report exposes depth of racism in the EU

Issue No. 2633

liberals try to give the EU a progressive veneer

Liberals try to give the EU a progressive veneer (Pic: ilovetheeu)


You could be forgiven for missing the latest evidence of racism throughout European Union (EU) states.

That’s because it was hidden away in the middle pages of newspapers and down the bottom of news websites, if reported at all.

A report released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EUAFR), Being Black in the EU, makes shocking reading.

The European Parliament claims the union’s “fundamental values are respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rules of law”.

But the report undermines this portrayal of the EU and its member states as a bastion of fairness and equality.

It shows that the EU doesn’t stand for fairness and equality, and the latest research shows the devastating reality of racism in everyday life.

Nearly 6,000 people “of African descent” were surveyed from 12 EU countries.

Some 30 percent said they experienced racial harassment in the five years before the survey and 21 percent said they experienced it in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Individual

The report is detailed and looks at individual countries as well as general trends.

For instance, in Finland 63 percent of people surveyed said they had been racially harassed in the five years to the survey.

It also shows that where racist physical attacks take place, 64 percent of people surveyed did not report them.

Just over a third of people said this is because they didn’t think anything would happen.

It’s also because many people are scared of the police as the police are racist. Going to the police to report a racist crime could lead to more hassle rather than being taken seriously.

Some 24 percent of people surveyed said they had been stopped by the police in the five years before the survey.

People of African descent are discriminated against from an early age in the education system, suffer from higher rates of poverty and limited access to housing.

Some 18 percent of parents or guardians who were surveyed said their children had faced racist bullying. And 9 percent reported being discriminated against in an educational setting.

Housing for black people in the EU is particularly shocking.

Those who have suffered discrimination in private renting climbs as high as 37 percent in Austria and 31 percent in Italy.

Poverty

Dig deeper into the figures and you find that 55 percent of respondents have a household income that means they are on the verge of poverty.

As EUAFR director Michael Flaherty put it, the study’s findings reveal “a reality both shameful and infuriating”.

He pointed to the systematic nature of discrimination saying, “One quarter of the respondents felt discriminated against during their job search.

“Access to housing can also be difficult, both in the private and public sectors.”

However, the EUAFR’s solution is to “promote the full inclusion of people of African descent in the EU”.

This is a mealy-mouthed response to the reality of attacks, harassment and discrimination that black people suffer from daily.

The real problem is that the EU, and European countries, are racist to their core.

That systematic racism can’t be reformed away, it must be confronted and fought.

You can find the report at bit.ly/BeingBlackinEU


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