With the number of hate crimes and xenophobic parties growing across the continent, members of the European Parliament passed a resolution in Strasbourg that condemned the lack of serious action against extremist groups, including neo-Nazis.
The text, which was endorsed by 355 parliamentarians, specifically pointed to incidents such as the attack by right-wing terrorist Anders Brevik that killed 77 people, 48 of whom were under 18, in Norway in 2011, the murder of UK MP Jo Cox by a supporter of Brexit in 2016, and a recent attack by neo-Fascist gangs in Italy against European Parliamentarian Eleonora Forenza.
The text also warned of the rise of right-wing extremist groups like the German National Socialist Underground, as well as Golden Dawn’s growing presence in Greece, and the spike in the number of hate crime-related shootings and murders that have targeted immigrants in Italy.
The European Parliamentarians, or MEPs, also warned that right-wing groups and neo-Nazis are beginning to act with impunity, which has led to further speculation about alleged collusion between politicians and police with far-right and neo-Nazi groups in some countries.
According to the text, the lack of a police crackdown on far-right organisations in some EU countries is one of the reasons behind the rise in the number of hate crimes that have targeted people of African descent, Jews, Muslims, Roma, non-EU nationals, and the LGBT community.
The European Parliament has proposed setting up anti-hate crime units in the national police forces to ensure that the crimes are investigated and prosecuted and to urge the governments of the EU members to “effectively ban neo-Nazi groups and any other association that glorifies Nazism and fascism”.
The EU member states also hope to set up “exit programmes” to help individuals leave hate groups while providing educational courses dealing with diversity, history, and the Holocaust.