- is deeply worried about the development of hate speech and hate crime in Europe over the last decade. In that context, it supports the initiative of the Commission to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech and encourages the Council and the Parliament to fully cooperate in that perspective.
- considers that hate speech and hate crime are areas of crime that meet the criteria set out in Article 83(1) of the TFEU.
- considers in particular that, on the basis of available evidence:
- there is a significant and worrying development of hate-based crimes;
- there is a clear cross-border dimension at the level of drivers, enablers and impact;
- and that these types of crimes cannot be efficiently prevented and combated in the absence of EU-level legislative and institutional action.
- therefore, encourages the Council to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech, to allow the subsequent setting of minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and penalties in this area of crime.
If the European Commission is allowed to propose legislation in the area of hate speech and hate crime, the EESC attracts its attention and the one of other relevant actors to the following points:
- When acts that constitute serious offences are directed against a person's physical or mental integrity, only efficient criminal law mechanisms can ensure adequate protection.
- Hate speech and hate crime must be combated irrespective of where the expression or action takes place.
- The direct and indirect impacts of hate speech and hate crime on the conditions for entrepreneurship and employment, and their implications for economic and social development, must be considered.
- Specific attention should be paid to victims, civil society, and to professions with an essential role in combating hate speech and hate crime, for example teachers, journalists and law enforcement personnel.