Black Lives Matter. In a resolution passed in the summer of 2020, the European Parliament denounced white supremacy, condemned the “appalling” death of George Floyd in the United States, and supported peaceful protests. The Parliament also urged concrete steps to address structural racism and discrimination. Will those calls be answered by action at the Member State level?

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Bart, who believes racism has actually decreased in his country (Belgium). His view seems at odds with reports from organisations such as the Fundamental Rights Agency and the Council of Europe, the latter of which has expressed alarm at the “increasing influence of ultra-nationalistic and xenophobic politics across Europe”.

To get a sense of the current state of racism across Europe (and whether it is growing worse), we spoke to Ojeaku Nwabuzo, Senior Research Officer at the European Network Against Racism. What would she say?

I wonder how he came to that conclusion. What was his comment based on, and which data sets has he seen? If you look at general hate crime figures, specifically for Belgium, officially I think they were around 1,568 recorded in 2019. In 2015, the number of hate crimes recorded officially was around 880. So, each year between 2015 and 2019 there has been an increase. Now, these are overall hate crime statistics but they predominantly include those with a racial bias, and so the most physical forms of racism (in the form of hate crimes) has definitely gone up in Belgium. I would say that this is a trend you would see in most countries. The annual figures can fluctuate a little bit, but the general overall trend is that those sorts of crimes are increasing; definitely in Belgium, and I think we can see the same in many other reports.

There was a recent report produced by the Council of Europe looking at racism, and they were very clear in saying that there’s a rising tide across Europe of racism, xenophobia, and intolerance – and not just in the form of hate crimes, but also other, more structural institutional forms of racism that you would see with the police and in the job market, for example. It affects migrants, and it affects black people, and it affects Muslims, Jewish people, and Roma across Europe. So this is the Council of Europe saying that there is a rise in racism and discrimination and xenophobia. However, we also have to acknowledge that it’s not so easy to track the more subtle forms of racism. Hate crimes are very easy to track, and in some cases you can test to see racism and discrimination in employment. But the more structural, systemic forms of racism are hard to track. It’s hard to know how that is either increasing or decreasing over the years. So, yes, I would say that’s my answer to that question. And I’m really interested to know where Bart’s assumptions came from.

For another perspective, we also put Bart’s comment to Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, a German Green MEP. How would she respond?

I don’t think it’s easy to determine a trend across Europe. It’s difficult to confirm without curated data on discrimination for each country, which we don’t have. But, in any case, if you look at all the structural barriers to inclusion, I see it as a bit of a red herring to say that ‘racism has decreased’. That’s my opinion.

Moreover, in recent years we have, unfortunately, witnessed a number of suspicious deaths and aggravated violence against people from minorities at the hands of police. This was the case in Belgium, with the recent case of the young man Ibrahima B. who was stopped by the police and died during his arrest. In addition, we can see the rise of extremist politics and political rhetoric which contributes to racism.

My question would be, rather: How can we proceed in order to eliminate structural racism? How can we tackle the roots of the problem? I believe that European society is increasingly attentive to the problem of racism and this is already a good start.

Have Black Lives Matter protests had an impact in Europe? Are European countries doing enough to tackle structural racism? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

59 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Kars Jansens

    in contrast to America, the police in europe have had no budget reductions. As most intulectuals predicted this would have a reverse impact. In Seattle, the police budget has been reduced by 20% and is likely to be further reduced to 50%. This is already having the effect of making wait times increase after calling the police. The areas with the most crimes, often the African-American immigrant neighborhoods, are feeling the effects of this. Populism has to stop. Everyone knew what the effects would be, yet many were in favor. Sometimes politicians should resist public pressure, and enlighten them with reasoning. Politicians should work for the people, even when they don’t realize what they are asking or the unforseen consequences of those requests. The politicians are smart enough to understand the effects of their laws, regulations and budgets. They have yet to realize their morals. The only way to tackle racism is integration. It’s called ‘The contact theory’, and has been proven succesfully.

  2. avatar
    EU Reform Proactive

    Seemingly a never-ending, but sensitive topic!

    “We need to talk about racism with an open mind”. Yes, why not!

    But please not time & time again & for opportunistic reasons! It gets counterproductive. No doubt, these questions pose challenges to all of us.

    “How racist are you? It’s a question we often feel the urge to ask of those who doth protest too much, and one we secretly fear to ask of ourselves.”

    Q: Understand- where does racism come from?

    Judging from the recent stampedes into Europe, surely, everyone entering & living in Europe or the EU27 legally can count him/herself lucky to be sufficiently protected by its advanced institutions, stability, law & order. Transgressions & complaints on a personal level are dealt with fairly by police, prosecution & courts. Please use them- not parliaments.

    Regrettably, Africans in particular who lament over racism should get their houses in order first- before demanding standards from others like the EU27 & the CoE- while failing to provide proper governance & HR protection for all in Gaddafi’s founded AU55. (Racism is not colonialism)

    On a personal level, everyone is genetically hardwired- without exceptions. Has pc come so far to seriously entertain calls by some in the EP to introduce not only gender but also (global) race quotas in their political institutions? That would be the pinnacle of absurdity!

    Why not use findings of greater minds than those of some of our politicians are endowed with- be they of whatever shades God (evolution) made them?

    Sorry, it is easier to quote:
    “Recognizing that our biological heritage has produced very different behavioural propensities in human males and females, can also lead to a solution of decreasing violence and warfare in modern times. By empowering women to be leaders in cultural, social, and political spheres, the violent propensities of men can be restrained……………” follows-

    The male warrior hypothesis (again, applicable to all humans)

    “Evolutionary scientists argue that human cooperation is the product of a long history of competition among rival groups. There are various reasons to believe that this logic applies particularly to men. In three experiments, using a step-level public-goods task, we found that men contributed more to their group if their group was competing with other groups than if there was no intergroup competition. Female cooperation was relatively unaffected by intergroup competition. These findings suggest that men respond more strongly than women to intergroup threats. We speculate about the evolutionary origins of this gender difference and note some implications.”

    Consider, EU’s Von der Leyen “knee-jerked” several times. Apparently even as Germany’s defence minister. Does that bod well for a strong EU?

  3. avatar

    Yes they have, anyone in the Netherlands watching the recent looting of stores and riots saw that they had taken a page out of the same playbook. In that way, the worse part of the protests, (where other people with other agendas joined in as an excuse to loot and destroy) had a ‘copycat’ impact here in Europe. There has been an increased social backlash against racists which was overdue but often the things like BLM protests are used as a means of opening a door so a person or group can usher in a vastly different cause or agenda .

  4. avatar

    yeah… we saw how EU kept quiet, did nothing and showed how subjugated it is to the USAn plutocracy.Meanwhile it plays charades with Navalni (capitan america) who drank WMDs, got a hangover, and returned to Russia to stage illegal protests and more charades.Again Merkel and Germany need to be investigated by EU for their part of those charades, and foreign interference in Russia. When will that happen?

  5. avatar

    Why should have it.. Are we obliged to import all stupid behaviour and movement from US

  6. avatar
    catherine benning

    Have Black Lives Matter protests had an impact in Europe?

    Yes, BLM, has an impact on the Western world generally and the organisation is not of the essence of ‘goodness’ they currently want mankind to take on board.

    This is emanating from a West African connection having a dark premise. Not openly revealed. Now why is that?

    And, somehow, our public are subdued without freedom to speak out. Why are Western people being denied the right to expose what is going on here? The impact of this group not being part of Western culture but working secretly to conceal their real intention.

    The cover being the cry of ‘racist.’ When that is a well know sham, Anti Semitism being created within this group of people.

  7. avatar

    I do think the death of George Floydd made a huge difference..he did not die in vein…however ..i dont think it should be necessary to march or demonstrate….being kind to everyone needs to be thaught in schools and in family homes..try to teach your police to be tollerand and to help to difuse t just to hit out or bash people..its the type of policing that needs to be ireland we have community listen to the woes of the people and try to help them resolve things..we also have a very small armed squad ..who can be deployed throughout the country as necessary for a very bad shooting incident..but they are very rare..thank god..anyway its not easy ..try to listen to people ..with all your attention..and help with positive solutions..or a “ah sure itll be grand..lets just keep going” empatize more..anyway :D

  8. avatar

    Blacklivesmatter is pure racism. Why? Because all lives matter.

  9. avatar

    BLM is sponsored by Soros. Says enough.

  10. avatar

    1) één persoon wordt met geweld gearresteerd ergens in America en heel de wereld komt in opstand … 2) honderden vreedzame mensen worden , zonder reden , mishandeld en letterlijk afgeslagen in Nederland … geen reactie er klopt iets niet

  11. avatar

    yes where taking this idiocracy over!

  12. avatar

    Beaucoup Plus de morts de personnes noire par des noirs

  13. avatar

    Of course! Its a white thing! lol

  14. avatar

    BLM brought us violence and riots

  15. avatar

    It shouldn’t change anything. George Floydd was a drug user and if you watch the film of what happened then you see he acted very weirdly. It’s even worse : we suffer of lots of riots of the migrant population and the police are not allowed to do anything. The rioters and looters all go free and start over and over again.

  16. avatar

    It doesn’t have to change anything in Europe. That is the American problem.

  17. avatar

    Not to be disrespectful, but we have people in Europe dying as the result of police interventions, too — and it never has any significant impact in Europe. So why should we expect that after someone dying in another continent?

  18. avatar

    nothing changed in europe and also the BLM in europe is total bull. Since when have european cops done the same as in the states almost never. The BLM in the States is just. The BLM in Europe is a joke.

  19. avatar

    The armed black army demanding Texas opened a few eyes. BLM has set race relations back a couple of decades and made white people aware that anti-white racism is a thing.

  20. avatar

    The Belgian Monkey Caste: #racism #antiracism #belgium #monkeycaste#allemaalvanbelang #zwartezondag #discriminatie #racisme #antiracisme #de_NVA #Bart_DeWever #vlbelang #tomvangrieken #belgië #apenkaste #tumia

  21. avatar

    I bet it increased intolerance towards minorities. It sure didn’t help.

  22. avatar

    zeker niet ten goede, ze denken nu al dat ze onaanraakbaar zijn

  23. avatar

    L’Etat condamné par le tribunal de Bruxelles qui juge les mesures covid «illégales» Le tribunal de première instance de Bruxelles a ordonné à l’Etat, ce mercredi, de mettre fin aux mesures exceptionnelles prises dans le cadre de la pandémie !!!

  24. avatar

    Black lives matter… for blacks.Next file!

  25. avatar

    Yes it is, BLM in europe can do what they like without have the consequents. Rape, steal, fraud its all allowed when your blm

  26. avatar

    Oui, cela a généré d’autres manifestations qui ont fait plusieurs morts et blessés !

  27. avatar


  28. avatar

    BLM IS SCUM the only thing they do is destroying ordanairy People stores, en business. Have nothing to do with antiracist.

  29. avatar

    Only thing these BLM protest have impacted on is that we got more seperated than before all this! That and a lot of broken windows, and plundered shops!

  30. avatar

    These Burn, Loot and Murder criminals would be prosecuted in any democracy. But they are heroes in our deranged woke society.

  31. avatar

    Everi slave is better of than those left behind . They should say “thank you “.

  32. avatar

    All lives matter ! Whole world matters ! Also in Europe ! No to extreme right ! No to extremisme !!

  33. avatar

    we steunen geen terroristen die te lui zijn om te werken en overal krijgt iedereen even veel kans dat zij er niks van maken is niet onze schuld maar wel die va, hun zelf te lui om naar school te gaan te lui om te werken waarom zouden wij ons schuldig moeten voelen dat ze hun land eens gaan opbouwen gewassen zetten en onderhouden in plaats van alles ka^pot te schieten

  34. avatar

    It”s becomes black looters mob at the end

  35. avatar

    Europe is headed to the same world of racial disparities in crime leading to racial disparities in police brutality leading to periodic race riots in “sensitive” areas. The future our governments have chosen for us!

  36. avatar

    All life matters? In EU the police doesn’t shoot on sight yet.

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