According a EC Report, 20 Member States (including Italy) have not yet correctly implemented EU rules. Commissioner Reding: we have to “continue the quest for tolerance within our own societies.”
Speeches and official ceremonies are not enough, when it comes to remember crimes against humanity. Laws are essential, even if most of EU Member States do not apply this concept. The Commission has released today the results of an implementation report on a communitarian Decision on combating racism and xenophobia: national laws remain largely inadequate in 20 Member States.
Member States unanimously adopted the 2008 Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia through criminal law, which requires Member States to define as criminal offences the public incitement to violence or hatred on grounds of race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. The fact is, after five years only Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia has defined those acts as criminal offence.
A number of other countries have not transported the provisions fully and/or correctly. In Italy, as in other six states, there is no specific reference to each of the three offences covered. Italian laws refers to “apology”, it does not refer to each crime against humanity but specifically to “genocide”. This is not enough, says the Commission, which will launch bilateral meetings with several Member States in 2014, in order to be reassured on the correct implementation of the Decision into national legislations.
The Commission does not currently have the powers to launch infringement procedures with regard to Framework Decisions adopted prior to the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon. As of 1 December 2014, the Commission will be able to launch infringement proceedings. We can hence consider this report as an overview of where further work by Member States is required to align national legislation.
“Today, we have achieved peace between nations in the EU, yet another challenge remains: to continue the quest for tolerance within our own societies” said EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding. “Nobody,” she highlights, “should ever have to experience hate speech or crime. So today I am calling on all European Union Member States to take action to fully transpose the EU Framework Decision and make sure it is applied on the ground.”