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Counteraction to manifestations of neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism

Reply to Recommendation | Doc. 13749 | 10 April 2015

Committee of Ministers
Adopted at the 1224th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (1 April 2015).
Reply to Recommendation
: Recommendation 2052 (2014)
1. The Committee of Ministers has carefully examined Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2052 (2014). It has forwarded it to a certain number of bodiesNote for information and comments.
2. The Committee of Ministers fully shares the Assembly’s profound concern at the rise of neo-Nazism in Europe, which is totally at variance with the values of respect for human rights, tolerance and mutual understanding promoted by the Council of Europe. It is necessary to resolutely combat all forms of extremism while complying with the standards set out in the relevant Council of Europe instruments, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5).
3. Like the Parliamentary Assembly, the Committee of Ministers considers that concerted action by all the member States is essential if manifestations of neo-Nazism are to be effectively combated. Action to this effect is already being taken by various Council of Europe bodies, such as the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) or the youth sector. Particular mention may be made of the campaign currently in progress against hate speech, and of the country monitoring reports and general policy recommendations of ECRI, which has decided to undertake work on a new recommendation concerning hate speech in public discourse. The Committee of Ministers can only encourage these actions and calls on the governments of member States to play an active part, where possible, in their implementation in order to maximise their impact.
4. Where the Committee of Ministers itself is concerned, it has already had occasion to take several initiatives regarding the fight against extremism, including neo-Nazism, and its manifestations. In this connection, the Committee refers in particular to its Recommendation Rec(97)20 on hate speech. More recently, the Committee held a thematic debate in September 2013 on the role of the Council of Europe in addressing the rise of extremism. During this debate, the same concerns as those of the Assembly were expressed in response to the rise of extremism, including neo-Nazism, in Europe. Initiatives and good practices developed in several member States were also mentioned, notably as a means of raising awareness among those concerned and promoting tolerance and integration.
5. Following this thematic debate, the Committee adopted several decisions which partially meet the Parliamentary Assembly’s recommendations. Believing that it is for States in the first instance to take action to address this issue at national level, it urged them to pursue effective national policies in this area and to share their good practices for combating the threats associated with extremism, in line with what the Assembly suggests in paragraph 2 of its recommendation.
6. In the same spirit, the Committee will carefully consider possible follow-up action to the Assembly’s recommendations contained in paragraphs 3.1 and 3.2 when preparing the next biennium, while also taking into account the relevant conclusions and recommendations contained in the Secretary General’s report on the situation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe.
7. With regard to recommendation 3.3, in the absence of consensus, the Committee of Ministers is not in a position to declare 22 July “European Day for Victims of Hate Crime”.
8. Lastly, the Committee of Ministers has decided, as requested by the Assembly, to bring to the attention of the member States the specific recommendations contained in Resolution 2011 (2014).