Letter: Measures against racism in the European Community

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was interested to see your article 'EC 'will extend role to race relations' ' (29 April). As a recipient of Jacques Delors' letter, I have to say I was disappointed that Mr Delors did not take the opportunity with a new Commission to implement recommendation 14 of the European Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia, for which I was rapporteur. This called upon the Commission to entrust the President of the Commission 'with ensuring co-ordination of the Commission activities pertaining to racism, anti- Semitism and xenophobia and all matters relating to nationals of third countries within the European Community, and that to this end a task force be set up spanning both the relevant directorates-general'.

More disappointing and bewildering, however, was your report that Tory MEPs on both sides of the Maastricht debate were 'alarmed at the prospect of the Commission extending its powers into these areas' as there is no remit under the Treaty of Rome. On 6 June 1986 the Thatcher government signed the Solemn Declaration on Racism and Xenophobia signed by the Commission, the Council, member states and the European Parliament, asking that action be taken on these issues, and anyone who reads a recent copy of the Treaty of Rome will find this declaration embodied as an annexe, giving the necessary legal basis for action in respect of countering racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

One can only imagine that the relevant Tory MEPs have not read the Treaty of Rome recently, or that the Tory government, upon signing this Solemn Declaration, had imagined it was only rhetoric and would not lead to action.

Yours etc,


MEP for Greater Manchester East (Lab)

Mossley, Lancashire

30 April