Racism against black people widespread across EU in work, housing, and policing, watchdog warns

Almost a third across EU have suffered racial harassment in last five years

Jon Stone
Brussels
Wednesday 28 November 2018 17:23
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Protesters at an anti-racism demonstration in the UK
Protesters at an anti-racism demonstration in the UK

Almost a third of black people living in the EU have suffered racial harassment in the last five years, and one in 20 has been physically assaulted, according to the bloc’s equality watchdog.

A report by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) released on Wednesday found that discrimination across the continent is still widespread in areas such as work, housing and policing.

The FRA warned of a “dire picture” across the continent, while campaigners said “structural” racism embedded in European society in turn needed structural solutions to address it.

The EU agency found that 1 in 7 people of African descent had found private landlords would not rent homes to them, with 45 per cent left living in overcrowded housing compared to just 17 per cent of the EU general population.

Around 1 in 4 black people also report being stopped by the police in the last five years, with 41 per cent of those stopped believing the stop to be based on racial profiling.

Discrimination was also event in the workplace: in some countries as many as 76 per cent of black people are out of work or training, compared to 8 per cent of the general population.

The EU agency said diversity audits, recruitment drives, and police reforms could be examples of policies that might address the problems.

We need concrete plans to address structural racism

Amel Yacef, European Network Against Racism

Amel Yacef, the chair of European Network Against Racism NGO said: “These findings document what we have been saying for a long time: racism experienced by black people in European society is structural, and we are in need of structural solutions.

“We need concrete plans to address structural racism, such as national action plans against racism that put in place specific measures to correct the disadvantages and inequalities experienced by people of African descent and other groups.”

FRA director Michael O’Flaherty said member states needed to come forward with such policies.

“In the 21st century, there is no excuse for racial discrimination. Yet black people in the EU today are still victims of widespread and unacceptable levels of discrimination and harassment simply because of their skin colour,” he said.

“We need to stamp this out once and for all. For this, Member States need effective and targeted policies and laws to ensure black people are fully included in our society.”

The FRA’s research is based on its regular EU minorities and discrimination surveys and the data for the report is drawn from interviews with 6,000 black people in 12 EU member states.

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