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EU: Racism and Xenophobia Directive

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the European Union's proposed framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia (5118/07); and whether they have given an assurance to the Government of Germany that they will support its adoption by the end of the German presidency. [HL3746]

The framework decision to combat racism and xenophobia is intended to ensure that all citizens across the EU are afforded equal protection against discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, descent, religion or belief, and national or ethnic origin. It is not intended to restrict free speech or remove political opposition. The Government believe that it reaches a balance between free speech and protecting the public from racist behaviour.

The Government participated in a general approach at the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council on 19 April, thereby indicating that we are content with the measure as it currently stands. The UK and some other member states did, however, note their scrutiny reserves at that time.

The measure cannot be formally adopted until these have all been lifted.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the effect on United Kingdom domestic law that would arise if the European Union's proposed framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia (5118/07) is adopted. [HL3747]

The UK will be able to comply with the council framework decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of current criminal law without making changes to domestic legislation.