BRUSSELS: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) to implement the bloc's new action plan against racism.
At the opening of the first European Summit Against Racism, von der Leyen on Friday said that the plan recognises that structural racism exists in all areas and that the member States must act, reports Xinhua news agency.
She stressed at the virtual meeting that "anti-racism is a founding principle of the Union", and that the Commission will not hesitate to "resort to justice when necessary" to alert countries that violate the directive. She said that "a European anti-racism coordinator will be appointed soon" who will have the mission of "bringing the voices of racialised people to the heart of the European institutions".
The European Commission President recalled that this plan against racism was motivated by the "many Europeans who took to the streets" to support the "Black Lives Matter" movement, created after the killing of African-American man George Floyd under police custody.
According to her, this is "the beginning of a common path of constant dialogue and commitment" to "continue to speak about racism, listen to people and associations" and recognise that "knowledge is the basis for change".
EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also said the EU has an "unwavering commitment to the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including its contemporary forms".
He pointed out that the EU's new action plan against racism recognises that the problem "is not only perpetrated by individuals, it is also structural," which requires "concrete actions".
The summit, co-hosted by the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and in cooperation with the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup of the European Parliament, was the first time for the 27 member states to meet to discuss the topic. (IANS)
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