As a transnational organisation which is part of a wider coalition supporting the re-establishment of a strong Intergroup on Anti-racism and Diversity (ARDI) for the 8th European Parliament legislature, we attach great importance to mainstreaming racial equality in the policy and legislative work of EU bodies, as well as to enhancing the participation of civil society as a whole in decision-making processes to combat discrimination in all its various forms (racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Roma, homophobia, transphobia, …) and to guarantee the right of everyone.
Keenly aware of the rising dangers of populism and right-wing extremism and in order to be more effective on these relevant issues for the integrity of the European project, we joined more than 100 European, national and local NGOs in launching a call for the re-establishment of a strong intergroup on anti-racism and diversity in the European Parliament. It is therefore essential to ensure that the European Parliament’s commitment to tackle racial discrimination and racist violence is high on the agenda, and that Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) establish a strong intergroup on anti-racism in the European Parliament to advance a comprehensive anti-racist agenda and to jointly react to manifestations of racism and hate. The progression of far-right parties or parties propagating xenophobic and racist ideas is threatening the core European values of human rights and equality. The most extensive support for the re-establishment of an intergroup is needed more than ever as the European Parliament’s political groups will vote for their priority list of Intergroups on 26 November 2014.
We believe that it is vital that those MEPs who are committed to equality, do actively and consistently drive European policies grounded in the values of solidarity, equality, diversity and well-being for all while also enhancing their capacity to react in a concerted manner. This is why over the past two months we strongly encouraged newly-elected and re-elected MEPs to support the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup re-establishment as well as to show their commitment to join it, once re-established.
Intergroups are known as “unofficial groupings” which bring together MEPs from different political groups who wish to work on a common subject. They tend to be formed at the beginning of each parliamentary term to promote informal exchanges of views between MEPs and civil society. They are an increasing important platform for consultation between Members of Parliament and various interest groups, notably civil society organisations and social movements. They offer a “way in” for civil society into policy-making mechanisms also serving as crucial fora where MEPs can gather information on the rising developments on the issues of common concern and coordinate political campaigns.
During its 7th Legislature, the European Parliament hosted 27 formally registered Intergroups. The largest of all these was the one on LGBT Rights, which gathered 174 elected Members of the European Parliament from 25 Member States belonging to 6 political groups. The functioning of the LGBT Intergroup over the last 5 years evidenced how an intergroup can be a powerful ally for civil society campaigns and initiatives, amplifying their voice, reach, and impact, while providing a forum for MEPs to be made aware of and make alliances on a common issue, leading to more outspoken and confident representatives. The setting up of an Intergroup is, in this sense, a “service of general interest” at disposal to all civil society organisations and coalitions fighting for better EU policies.
The Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup was set up for the first time in 2004 to enhance collaboration between MEPs, political groups and other relevant stakeholders, such as NGOs, trade unions and European institutions, on issues related to racism and equality. During the 2009-2014 term, the intergroup had 64 members from 6 different political groups and organised a number of high-level debates, especially on hate crime.
MEPs can still submit support for the ARDI intergroup confirmation and re-establishment by kindly writing to Ms. Cécile Kashetu Kyenge MEP at: firstname.lastname@example.org