European official backs calls for Europe-wide antisemitism taskforce

12 Mar 2015 by Dave Rich

Federica Mogherini, European Commission President and High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has endorsed the idea of creating a pan-European taskforce to address antisemitism. She told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that she has made a policy recommendation to that effect to Frans Timmermans, the EU commissioner dealing with issues of fundamental rights.

Mogherini's statement follows a call in January by European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor for EU-wide action against antisemitism. Her proposal has been generally welcomed by Jewish community leaders.

CST's Mark Gardner told the Jerusalem Post that the creation of a new body to tackle antisemitism would still have to deal with  “the actual ability or willingness of member states to implement recommendations, such as those already made in existing EU and EC forums.” Several EU and OSCE states have failed to implement already-existing agreements, including the EU Common Framework Decision of 2008, which requires criminalization of incitement to hatred and Holocaust denial; the OSCE Ministerial Agreement of 2009, requiring instigation of a complete criminal justice process of dealing with incitement; the OSCE Berlin Declaration requiring states to properly combat antisemitism; and the ECRI General Policy Recommendation on Antisemitism.

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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

Michael Georg Link
OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights