Photo: Fred Debrock, Reuters
From LGBTQ-free zones in Poland to anti-Semitic carnival costumes in Aalst: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union in the European Parliament has lashed out at racism and discrimination on the continent.
“Hate is hate, and no one should take it,” Ursula von der Leyen announced a new action plan against racism. The Commission will propose to “extend the list of European crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech, be it race, religion, gender or sexuality”.
In addition, Von der Leyen also promised to use European money to combat discrimination in the labor market, housing and health care. A new anti-racism coordinator should shape the work of the Commission in this area.
In her plea for a Europe of diversity, equality and human values, Von der Leyen implicitly cited the carnival in Aalst, in addition to the shot-down American Jacob Blake and the discrimination against Roma. “Where is the essence of humanity when anti-Semitic carnival costumes parade openly in our streets?”
Von der Leyen also scolded Polish municipalities declaring themselves LGBTQ-free zones. “I want to be crystal clear. LGBTQ-free zones are zones that are free from humanity and have no place in our Union ”. She also announced new initiatives in that domain, including a plea for the mutual recognition of family relationships. “If you are a parent in one Member State, then you are a parent in all Member States.”