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Proposal for a Council Decision designating 1997 as European Year against Racism

/* COM/95/0653 final - CNS 95/0355 */

OJ C 89, 26.3.1996, p. 7–10 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
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Proposal for a Council Decision designating 1997 as European Year against Racism /* COM/95/0653 FINAL - CNS 95/0355 */

Official Journal C 089 , 26/03/1996 P. 0007

Proposal for a Council Decision designating 1997 as European Year against Racism

(96/C 89/07)

COM(95) 653 final - 95/0355(CNS)

(Submitted by the Commission on 29 January 1996)


Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community and in particular Article 235 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament,

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee,

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions,

Whereas the Member States, in the preamble to the Single European Act, stressed the need to 'promote democracy on the basis of fundamental rights recognized in the Constitutions and laws of the Member States, in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Social Charter, notably freedom, equality and social justice`;

Whereas Article F (2) of the Treaty on European Union provides that the Union 'shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed in Rome on 4 November 1950 and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as general principles of Community law`;

Whereas the promotion throughout the Community of a high level of employment and of social protection, the raising of the standard of living and quality of life among Member States are aims of the European Community;

Whereas the promotion of economic and social progress through the strengthening of economic and social cohesion are objectives of the European Union;

Whereas the continued existence of racism and xenophobic attitudes prejudices economic and social cohesion in the European Union;

Whereas racist and xenophobic attitudes can constitute an obstacle to the effective exercise of the rights of free movement;

Whereas the increase in economic difficulties excludes many in the European Union from all economic, social and political participation and represents fertile ground for racist and xenophobic attitudes;

Whereas racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism must be tackled mainly at local, regional and national level;

Whereas there is nevertheless a fundamentally European dimension to the problem; whereas exchanges of information and experience as well as cooperation and consultation on measures taken against racism and xenophobia between the Commission, the Member States and representatives of bodies engaged in combating racism are important for the development of solidarity within the Community;

Whereas the measures to be carried out at European level are intended to coordinate and complement measures carried out in Member States at various levels;

Whereas on 5 April 1977 a Joint Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on fundamental rights provided that 'fundamental rights, as derived in particular from the constitutions of the Member States and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms`, would be respected by the institutions (1);

Whereas on 11 June 1986 the European Parliament, the European Council, the representatives of the Member States meeting within the Council, and the Commission adopted a joint declaration against racism and xenophobia which stressed 'the importance of adequate and objective information and of making all citizens aware of the dangers of racism and xenophobia, and the need to ensure that acts or forms of discrimination are prevented or curbed` (1);

Whereas on 29 May 1990 the Council and the representatives of the Member States meeting within the Council passed a resolution on the fight against racism and xenophobia (2);

Whereas the European Council has on several occasions condemned racism and xenophobia, demanding that effective measures be taken by the Member States (3);

Whereas in June 1994 the Corfu European Council agreed to step up its efforts to develop a global strategy at Union level aimed at combating racism and xenophobia;

Whereas in June 1995 the Cannes European Council welcomed the conclusions of the final report of the Consultative Commission on Racism and Xenophobia, dated 30 May 1995, and the report of the Justice and Home Affairs Council;

Whereas in its report on 23 July 1990, the European Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia recommended that a European Year of Racial Harmony be designated;

Whereas the resolutions of the European Parliament against racism and xenophobia, particularly those of 21 April 1993, 3 December 1993, 27 October 1994, 27 April 1995 and 27 October 1995 condemned racism and xenophobia in strong terms (4).

Whereas on 19 January 1995, in its resolution in response to the Commission's White Paper on European Social Policy, the European Parliament invited the Commission to present proposals with a view to guaranteeing equal opportunity in the work place, irrespective of age, race, sex, disability or beliefs (5).

Whereas on 25 November 1992 the Economic and Social Committee, in its resolution on racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance, urged Member States to take urgent and effective action and called on the European Council to provide guidelines for proposing the adoption of practical measures to combat racist prejudice and violence;

Whereas in their resolutions on racism and xenophobia of 5 and 23 October 1995, the Labour and Social Affairs and Education Councils respectively, noted the Commission's intention to present future action for the purposes of combating racism and xenophobia (6);

Whereas the United Nations proclaimed 1995 'International Year of Tolerance` and the Council of Europe has carried out, on the basis of the Vienna Declaration of 9 October 1993, a European youth campaign against racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and intolerance as part of its activities in this area;

Whereas it is important to build on this experience at European Union level, in particular to avoid duplication of work, as was stressed in the quadripartite meeting between the European Union and the Council of Europe held in Madrid on 6 November 1995;

Whereas on 21 October 1995, at the summit of the social partners in Florence, a joint declaration on the prevention of racial discrimination and xenophobia and the promotion of equal treatment in the work place was adopted;

Whereas the Commission has addressed a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council setting out its action against racism;

Whereas the Treaty provides no powers other than those in Article 235 for the adoption of this Decision,


Article 1

1997 shall be designated as 'European Year Against Racism`.

Article 2

The objectives of the European Year against Racism shall be to:

(a) raise awareness of, and disseminate information on, racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism in the Community;

(b) highlight the threat posed by discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, religion and national or ethnic origin to the economic and social cohesion of the Community;

(c) bring to public notice the benefits of integration policies, in particular in the fields of education, training, accommodation and employment;

(d) encourage reflection and discussion on the action required in order to combat racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism in the Community;

(e) undertake a wide dissemination of information relating to measures and actions taken at national and European level in the fight against racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism;

(f) promote the principle of solidarity between all members of society;

(g) involve those who suffer from racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism in the process of European integration.

Article 3

1. The measures designed to meet the objectives set out in Article 2 above shall include, in particular:

- the use of a common logo and slogan,

- the organizing of competitions and prizes at Community level,

- the organizing of local and travelling information events to highlight and promote the achievements of projects concerned with social integration and campaigns against racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism at national and Community level by public and private bodies as well as by the social partners,

- cooperation with the media in relation to information campaigns, notably on the contribution of immigrants and ethnic minorities to the prosperity of the Community,

- the publication of information at national and Community level, inter alia, on events for the Year.

2. Details of the measures referred to in paragraph 1 are set out in the Annex.

Article 4

1. The Commission shall be responsible for the implementation of this Decision.

2. The Commission shall be assisted by a committee of an advisory nature composed of the representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.

The representative of the Commission shall submit to the committee a draft of the measures to be taken. The committee shall deliver its opinion on the draft, within a time limit which chairman may lay down according to the urgency of the matter, if necessary by taking a vote.

The opinion shall be recorded in the minutes; in addition, each Member State shall have the right to ask to have its position recorded in the minutes.

The Commission shall take the utmost account of the opinion delivered by the committee. It shall inform the committee of the manner in which its opinion has been taken into account.

3. At the initiative of its chairman or upon the request of one of its members, the committee shall examine any matter connected with the implementation of this Decision and the national measures undertaken as part of the European Year.

Article 5

1. Each Member State shall ensure that a National Coordinating, Committee or an equivalent administrative body is set up to organize the participation of the Member States - and, where appropriate, of local and regional authorities - in the European Year.

2. The Committee or body referred to in paragraph 1 shall ensure that it is representative of the whole range of bodies and organizations involved in the struggle against racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism.

Article 6

1. Applications for financial support for programmes provided in accordance with Section B of the Annex shall be submitted to the Commission by the Member States concerned, after consulting the National Coordinating Committee or equivalent administrative body set up under Article 5.

2. Decisions on programmes under Sections A and B of the Annex shall be taken by the Commission in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 4. The Commission shall ensure a balanced distribution among Member States and among the different organizations involved in combatting racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism.

Article 7

The Commission shall ensure that the programmes envisaged by this Decision shall be consistent with, and complementary to, other Community action, in particular education and training programmes, action to combat social exclusion, as well as activities undertaken by the Council of Europe.

Article 8

The Commission shall inform the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of the progress of the work and shall submit to them a final report on the implementation of the programme no later than 31 December 1998.

(1) OJ No C 103, 27. 4. 1977, p. 1.

(1) OJ No C 158, 25. 6. 1986, p. 1.

(2) OJ No C 157, 27. 6. 1990, p. 1.

(3) Dublin, June 1990; Maastricht, December 1991; Edinburgh, December 1992; Copenhagen, June 1993.

(4) OJ No C 150, 31. 5. 1993, p. 127; OJ No C 342, 20. 12. 1993, p. 19; OJ No C 323, 21. 11. 1994, p. 154; OJ No C 126, 22. 6. 1995, p. 75. (The resolution of 27. 10. 1995 is as yet unpublished).

(5) OJ No C 43, 20. 2. 1995, p. 63, point 24.

(6) OJ No C 296, 10. 11. 1995, p. 13; OJ No C 312, 23. 11. 1995, p. 1.



A. Projects to be funded solely from the Community budget

1. Organization of seminars at European level to increase transnational cooperation including opening and closing events of the Year.

Estimated cost: 17 %

2. Information and publicity at Community level, including the:

- design and promotion of common logo and slogan for the European Year,

- preparation and distribution of written and audiovisual material in order to stimulate public interest

- cooperation with the media.

Estimated cost: 25 %

3. Prizes and competitions, including the:

- organization of competitions at European level, highlighting achievements in the fight against racism,

- the awarding of prizes to the media at European level to reward tolerance and comprehension.

Estimated cost: 25 %.

4. Other actions

Surveys and studies, for the purpose of raising awareness on the themes of the European Year; evaluation study concerning the impact of the European Year.

Estimated cost: 5 %.

5. Administrative cost of the European Year

Technical assistance for putting into effect the activities referred to in Article 3 of the Decision.

B. Measures co-financed by the Community budget

Projects and events at regional or national level revolving around the themes of the European Year.

Financial support of up to 50 % of the cost of these measures may be granted. Applications for reimbursements shall be submitted to the Commission by Member States, which shall make an initial selection of the projects on the basis of the contribution they could make to meeting the objectives of this Decision.

Estimated cost: 28 %

C. Measures with no financial implications for the Community budget

Voluntary actions to be undertaken by public and private operators:

- the use of the common logo and the slogan of the European Year in awareness raising campaigns and for events,

- dissemination of information on the European Year in the media.