It is often said that no country is immune from the plights of racism and intolerance. However, in recent years, it seems that European countries are experiencing an upsurge of these phenomena, with an increasing number of episodes of hate speech and physical violence targeting ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, as well as foreigners and immigrants.
This trend is not only visible in society but also in political discourse, with political parties promoting racist ideas gaining representation in national parliaments. Racism and intolerance find a fertile ground in the deteriorating social and economic situation, due to the economic crisis.
The Parliamentary Assembly should express concern over the rise of racism and intolerance in Europe, in all its forms, and firmly condemn them, reiterating that diversity is an inherent feature of European societies. The Assembly should also propose that the Committee of Ministers set up a Council of Europe strategy to prevent all forms of racism and intolerance in Europe, including anti-Semitism, xenophobia and islamophobia. This strategy should involve the different dimensions of the Organisation, including amongst others the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the youth sector, and propose an Action Plan for its implementation.