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‘Shameful’ rise in racism against black people, says EU survey

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    16 hours ago

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Racism towards people of African descent remains “relentless and pervasive”, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has said.

A survey of black people living in 13 EU countries found many are subjected to discrimination and violence that “continues to haunt their daily lives”.

In Germany, the number of people who felt discriminated against has almost doubled since the last survey in 2018.

The findings should be “a wake-up call,” the EU agency said.


From difficulties securing employment and housing, to experiencing harassment that leaves victims feeling “deeply traumatised”, the FRA has found that many black people in the EU routinely face bias and discrimination “just because of the colour of their skin”.

The report surveyed more than 6,700 first- and second-generation black citizens living in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, Sweden and Spain.

Comparing this year’s survey results to those conducted five years ago, the report highlights the “alarming lack of progress” made towards addressing racism.

In that time it said almost half of people of African descent experienced racial discrimination – an increase from 39% in 2016 to 45% in 2022.

Looking at specific nations, 64% of those surveyed in Germany and Austria felt discriminated against in the past 12 months. That number rises to 76% in Germany over the past five years, followed by Austria with 72% and Finland with 63%.

“This is the reality for many people in the EU today… people of African descent are routinely met with unfair treatment and bias when seeking jobs or homes”, said Michael O’Flaherty, director of the FRA.

Last year, Germany’s government appointed its first anti-racism commissioner, Reem Alabali-Radovan, who reacted to the survey by saying it proved how important it was to focus on boosting prevention and empowering those affected by racism.

Poland, Sweden and Portugal had the lowest rates of harassment and discrimination in the 13 EU countries, according to those surveyed.

In 2019, there was outrage in Austria after a far-right deputy mayor wrote a poem comparing migrants to rats that should “quickly hurry away”.

Christian Schilcher, from the far-right Freedom Party, wrote: “Just as we live down here, so must other rats.”

This year, Vilhelm Junnila, of Finland’s far-right Finns Party, resigned after being accused of making repeated Nazi references. A month later, Finland’s finance minister, Riikka Purra, was forced to apologise for a string of racist comments she posted 15 years ago.

In a post written in 2008, complaining about young people of immigrant origin on a train, she said: “If they gave me a gun, there’d be bodies on a commuter train, you see.”

Mr O’Flaherty said being confronted with the true scale of racism in the EU was both “shocking and shameful” and that racial discrimination had no place in Europe.

The FRA would continue to work to “help ensure everybody is treated equally and with dignity”, he added.

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