(Strasbourg, 5 October 2021) The Working Group Against Antisemitism (WGAS) of the European Parliament has welcomed the first-ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life.
The strategy, presented today by European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, follows joint political efforts by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council over the last five years to respond to the significant rise of antisemitism in Europe and to bring the fight against antisemitism to the forefront of the EU agenda.
“More than 70 years after the horrible crimes of the Nazi regime, the fight against antisemitism is not obsolete – nearly every day somewhere in Europe, we are seeing its nasty manifestations. For this reason, I am excited that the long-term EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life has taken many of the proposals of the Working Group against Antisemitism into account. We are finally seeing a multifaceted approach to combating antisemitism, full of creative ideas like organising a hackathon to develop new and innovative ways to address antisemitism online. In addition, problems which have been festering for too long, such as the illegal sale of Nazi memorabilia will be tackled, and victims of antisemitic hate crime will have access to integrated and targeted support services. Civil Servants, including our staff in the European Institutions and justice and law enforcement professionals will be able to participate in programmes and capacity-building activities on tackling antisemitism. This gives me hope for a future free from antisemitism and hatred, and a world which benefits from our rich Jewish life and Jewish heritage in the middle of our societies. Today is a great day for Europe!” Nicola Beer MEP, WGAS Chair.
“The first ever EU Strategy on combating antisemitism is not only a necessary response to a growing problem, which has sadly been on the rise, it is also a means to strengthen our vibrant, liberal European democracy. As such, I am very pleased that the EU institutions have been working together over the last five years to deliver meaningful results, and I look forward to its full implementation,” Othmar Karas MEP, WGAS Vice-Chair.
“I warmly welcome the strategy on combatting antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. Proud that the EU pledges to make a difference, with this historical first, in the fight against antisemitism, racism and all forms of intolerance. It is more important than ever to act now, as the COVID crisis has shown a worrying increase in online antisemitism and incitement. Time to get to work!” Frédérique Ries MEP, WGAS Vice-Chair.
“I am satisfied to see that the Commission has taken into account many of the recommendations made by the MEPs of the Working Group Against Antisemitism. Placing education at the heart of this strategy is a very positive outcome that will empower a new enlightened generation to fight antisemitic speeches, stereotypes and behaviour,” Ilana Cicurel MEP, WGAS Board Member.
“80 years ago, the National Socialists and their allies began murdering the Jewish population in Germany and Europe. It was the largest and unique Genocide in history with the systematic murder of at least six million Jews. Still and again, there are antisemitic attacks. A few weeks ago, there was a huge police deployment around the synagogue in Hagen, Germany. An event on Yom Kippur was cancelled. This occasion sparked memories of the synagogue attack in Halle two years ago. It is still our commitment: We must fight antisemitism everywhere. Together we must make Jewish life in Germany and Europe visible,” Dietmar Köster MEP, WGAS Board Member.
“By stepping up the fight against antisemitism and increasing protection for Jewish communities at home, and by ensuring that EU funding does not enable antisemitism abroad, the European Commission has chosen the right approach. I have been vocal about the importance of a global approach to combatting antisemitism, and I’m delighted to see some progress on this vital issue,” David Lega MEP, WGAS Board Member.
“The measures proposed in the strategy have the potential of bringing tangible change. However, a strategy lives by its implementation. We need to redouble our efforts to find common ground and ensure that all relevant stakeholders are able to follow through with implementation,” Sergey Lagodinsky MEP, WGAS Vice-Chair.
The strategy will be implemented over the period 2021-2030. Comprehensive implementation reports will be published in 2024 and 2029. These will be based on the input from Member States, also with regard to the implementation of their national strategies and policies, taking into account the commitments made in the European Council Declarations on antisemitism of 2018 and 2020.
WGAS is an informal cross-party alliance of Members of the European Parliament dedicated to raising awareness and contributing to strengthening the fight against antisemitism in the European Union.