Published on 15 July 2015

Fighting antisemitism and safeguarding European values

"Our most immediate concern is the safety of Jewish communities"

by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission and Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, published in the European Commission for Justice Webpage, July 13 2015
A Jewish school in Toulouse in 2013; the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014; a kosher supermarket in Paris last January; a synagogue in Copenhagen in February. These attacks bring home the sad reality that antisemitism still exists on our continent and that new forms of antisemitism are rearing their ugly head. In the wake of these events, Europe's Jewish communities are asking: Are Jews still safe in Europe today? Should they think about leaving?
A 2013 EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey highlights the extent of these fears. One in two Jewish respondents saw a significant increase in antisemitism in the last five years. Across Europe, 25% of respondents said that they occasionally avoided visiting Jewish sites or events because they did not feel safe, while one third considered emigrating for security reasons. Finally, 75% of respondents felt that online antisemitism - commonly expressed by denial or trivialization of the Holocaust - is a widespread phenomenon.
The European Commission takes these concerns very seriously.
Our most immediate concern is the safety of Jewish communities. We must address the fact that racist, xenophobic and antisemitic crimes and hate speech go unpunished in some countries, and the problem of politicians who trivialize or ignore the seriousness of hate speech and hate crime.
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, the EU acted fast to formulate a European Security Agenda which will notably focus attention on disrupting terrorist networks, disabling terrorism activities and addressing radicalisation – offline and online. While security and counter-terrorism have traditionally remained under the responsibility of individual EU countries, the European Union supports and complements actions geared at neutralising the threat posed by terrorism... Read more