MEPs have overwhelmingly voted in favour of banning Neo-Nazi groups in the EU. Expressing concern over the increasing normalisation of fascism, racism and xenophobia, MEPs called on EU member states to ban neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups.
In a resolution passed with 355 votes to 90 and 39 abstentions, MEPs denounce that the lack of serious action against these groups has enabled the current xenophobic surge in Europe.
The resolution mentions the attack that killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, the murder of UK MP Jo Cox in 2016 and the recent attack by fascist squads in Italy against MEP Eleonora Forenza.
It also refers to several incidents involving fascists in Poland, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Latvia and the Nordic countries.
MEPs argued that the impunity enjoyed by far-right organisations in some member states is one of the reasons behind the rise in violent actions, affecting society as a whole and targeting particular minorities such as black Europeans/people of African descent, Jews, Muslims, Roma, non-EU nationals, LGBTI people, and persons with disabilities.
The resolution proposes the creation of anti-hate crime units in police forces to ensure these crimes are investigated and prosecuted. They also urged national authorities to “effectively ban neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups and any other foundation or association that exalts and glorifies Nazism and fascism”.
Troubled by reports of collusion between political leaders, political parties and law enforcement with neo-fascists and neo-Nazis in some member states, MEPs called on member states to “clearly condemn and sanction” hate crime, hate speech and scapegoating by politicians and public officials, as they directly normalise and reinforce hatred and violence.
The resolution also underlined the importance of measures to counteract the spread of racism, fascism and xenophobia through the internet, in cooperation with social media companies.
The resolution demanded that member states and national sports federations, in particular football clubs, counteract the scourge of racism, fascism and xenophobia in stadiums and in sports culture by condemning and punishing those responsible and by promoting positive educational activities targeting young fans, in cooperation with schools and civil society organisations .
MEPs also called on EU countries to set up “exit programmes” to help individuals to leave violent neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups. Stressing the importance of education, to increase history awareness among the youth and call for a clear rejection of the fascist crimes of the past, MEPs added that the truth about the Holocaust must not be trivialised.