Living together

Combining diversity
and freedom in 21st-century Europe

Report of the Group of Eminent Persons
of the Council of Europe

Contents

Executive summary 4

Introduction 4

Part one – The threat 4

Part two – The response 4

Appendix 1: Terms of reference of the Group 4

Appendix 2: Meetings of the Group and people interviewed 4

Appendix 3: Summary bibliography 4

Appendix 4: Members of the Group 4

Executive summary

In the summer of 2010, the Council of Europe’s Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, asked an independent “Group of Eminent Persons” (the Group) to prepare a report on the challenges arising from the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination in Europe. The report assesses the seriousness of the risks, identifies their sources and makes a series of proposals for “living together” in open European societies.

The Group is headed by the former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. It is composed of nine members – four women and five men – each from a different member state of the Council of Europe. Besides Mr Fischer, it includes Emma Bonino (Italy), Timothy Garton Ash (United Kingdom), Martin Hirsch (France), Danuta Hübner (Poland), Ayşe Kadıoğlu (Turkey), Sonja Licht (Serbia), Vladimir Lukin (Russian Federation) and Javier Solana (Spain). The rapporteur is Edward Mortimer (United Kingdom).

The Group bases its findings and recommendations firmly on the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights, especially individual freedom and equality before the law. It finds that discrimination and intolerance are widespread in Europe today, particularly against Roma and immigrants, as well as people of recent migrant background, who are often treated as foreigners even in countries where they are both natives and citizens.

The report holds firmly that identities are a voluntary matter for the individual concerned, and that no one should be forced to choose or accept one primary identity to the exclusion of others. It argues that European societies need to embrace diversity, and accept that one can be a “hyphenated European” – for instance a Turkish-German, a North African-Frenchwoman or an Asian-Brit – just as one can be an African- or Italian-American. But this can work only if all long-term residents are accepted as citizens and if all, whatever their faith, culture or ethnicity, are treated equally by the law, the authorities and their fellow citizens. Like all other citizens in a democracy they should have a say in making the law, but neither religion nor culture can be accepted as an excuse for breaking it.

The report is divided into two parts: “The threat” and “The response”.

In the first part, the Group identifies eight specific risks to Council of Europe values: rising intolerance; rising support for xenophobic and populist parties; discrimination; the presence of a population virtually without rights; parallel societies; Islamic extremism; loss of democratic freedoms; and a possible clash between “religious freedom” and freedom of expression. Behind these risks, it suggests, lie insecurity (stemming from Europe’s economic difficulties and sense of relative decline); the phenomenon of large-scale immigration (both as actually experienced and as perceived); distorted images and harmful stereotypes of minorities in the media and public opinion; and a shortage of leaders who can inspire confidence by articulating a clear vision of Europe’s destiny.

In the second part, the Group begins by setting out 17 principles which it believes should guide Europe’s response to these threats, starting with the statement that “at a minimum, there needs to be agreement that the law must be obeyed, plus a shared understanding of what the law is and how it can be changed”. It then goes on to identify the main actors able to bring about the necessary changes in public attitudes: educators, mass media, employers and trade unions, civil society, churches and religious groups, celebrities and “role models”, towns and cities, member states, and European and international institutions. In most of these categories, the report includes short pen portraits of particular groups or individuals whose work the Group finds “commendable and worthy of emulation”. The report then concludes with 59 “proposals for action”, the first 17 of which are labelled “strategic recommendations”, while the remainder, “specific recommendations”, address mainly the European Union, the Council of Europe, and their member states.

Principles

The 17 guiding principles at the beginning of part two constitute a kind of handbook for diversity which all policy makers, opinion leaders and civil society activists could memorise or keep close at hand. The Group insists on both the rights and the obligations of citizens in a democracy, and particularly those of newcomers and minorities, on the equal rights of men and women; and on the fact that provided they obey the law, immigrants should not be “expected to renounce their faith, culture or identity”. It states that special measures to ensure that members of disadvantaged or marginalised groups enjoy genuine equality of opportunity are both justified and necessary, and that effort is needed to ensure that members of different religious, cultural or ethnic groups get to know each other and work together in voluntary associations. Finally, it upholds the right to freedom of expression, while adding that “public statements tending to build or reinforce public prejudice against members of any group – and particularly members of minorities, immigrants or people of recent migrant origin – should not be left unanswered”.

Proposals

The report’s strategic recommendations closely follow these principles. States are urged “to extend the full rights and obligations of citizenship, including the right to vote, to as many of their resident population as possible” and, as an interim step, to give all foreign residents the right to vote in local elections. They are also urged to correct “misleading information and stereotypes about migration”, and to give their citizens “a more realistic picture of the situation of migrants and of Europe’s current and future needs in the field of migration”. Their right and duty to control immigration is acknowledged, but all Europeans are called on “to treat asylum seekers and migrants arriving in Europe fairly and humanely”, with appropriate solidarity and burden-sharing among member states. The Council of Europe and the EU are asked to work together on “a comprehensive, coherent and transparent immigration policy” for the whole of Europe. Finally, the peoples of Europe are urged to reach out to “their neighbours in the Middle East and North Africa who are now so courageously demonstrating their attachment to universal values of freedom and democracy”, notably by offering them the chance to participate, “with an appropriate status”, in European institutions and conventions.

Among its specific recommendations, the Group suggests that the Secretary General of the Council of Europe should appoint a high-level special representative to bring the content of the report to the attention of political leaders and to monitor its implementation, and that Poland and Ukraine, as presidents respectively of the EU and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in the autumn of this year, should convene a joint summit on diversity to “consider the issues raised in this report and agree on a joint strategy for action in the field of diversity and human rights”.

Introduction

In the still young 21st century, Europeans have much to be thankful for. Overall, their lives are freer, healthier, safer, richer, more peaceful and likely to be longer than those of their forebears in earlier centuries – and, alas, those of their contemporaries in many other parts of the world. They have eschewed many inhumane practices of times past, including the death penalty, and have accepted a degree of responsibility for each other’s welfare in times of misfortune. Not only in the 27 member states of the European Union (EU), but in all 47 member states of the Council of Europe, their rights and freedoms – though still too often violated and neglected – are anchored in the European Convention on Human Rights and supported by the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

And yet, Europe is troubled by malaise. Europeans are not confident that their prosperity can withstand the rise of new powers, whose economies appear more dynamic and competitive than theirs. They fear that longer lives and falling birth-rates may leave them with too few people of working age to support and care for the growing number of pensioners. But they also fear the arrival of large numbers of people from other continents – people moving in search of a better life, as so many Europeans did in the past; people whose hard work and enterprise might help Europe solve that problem. Why do Europeans fear this instead of welcoming it? Because they fear that the newcomers will simply be too numerous, and aggravate the pockets of persistent unemployment and poverty already found in the midst of their prosperity; and because they are reluctant to share their lives with people they perceive, rightly or wrongly, as different from themselves.

To assuage the first of those fears, states have the right and the duty to control migration. But in doing so they must keep reminding their citizens why at least some immigrants are needed and should be welcomed; and, true to Europe’s humane values, they must respect the fundamental rights that belong to every human being, of whatever nationality or of none. Indeed, stateless persons, lacking the protection of a mother country, are often the ones for whom universal rights are most desperately important.

The second fear – the fear of diversity – is the one this report seeks to address. So let’s begin by recalling that European societies have always been diverse. It is to this diversity that Europe owes many of its greatest achievements – though diversity mishandled has also played a part in some of its greatest tragedies.

And diversity is Europe’s destiny, for two reasons.

First, most of those who have come to Europe in recent decades, and their descendants, are here to stay. Many remain attached to the cultural heritage of their countries of origin. What is wrong with that? So long as they obey the law, people who come to live in a new country should not be expected to leave their faith, culture or identity behind. Indeed, this diversity can contribute to the creativity that Europe needs, now more than ever. But it also means that living together in Europe requires looking beyond Europe. What happens in parts of the world where these new Europeans come from, and especially among Europe’s neighbours, is likely to affect all of us, for better and worse. We cannot decide our neighbours’ fate, but we must be ready to help them, and also to learn from them, as much as we can.

Second, the very fact that Europe is ageing means that more immigrants are needed. Without them, the European Commission calculates that in the EU, over the next 50 years, the workforce would decrease by nearly 100 million, even while the population as a whole continues to rise. That is a recipe for decline.

So diversity is here to stay. It is shaping Europe’s future in a fast-changing world, and will continue to do so. It is therefore vital that Europeans respond to its challenges in a more effective and wholehearted way – and, to be blunt, much better than they are currently doing. They cannot afford to mishandle it this time. Unfortunately, there are signs that they are in danger of doing just that.

In the first part of our report we describe some of those signs, and suggest briefly what may lie behind them. In the second part we lay out some guiding principles for doing better, identify the main actors for change and end with a list of recommendations – some strategic, some specific – addressed to those actors.

While we were preparing the report, a debate raged around us, in which many European leaders joined. Each in turn, the political leaders of Germany, United Kingdom and France asserted, in almost identical words, that “multiculturalism” had failed.1

We are of course well aware of this debate, but find that the term “multiculturalism” is used in so many different ways, meaning different things to different people and in different countries – is it an ideology? a set of policies? a social reality? – that in the end it confuses more than it clarifies. We have therefore decided to avoid using this term and instead to concentrate on identifying policies and approaches that will enable European societies to combine diversity and freedom.

In preparing the report, the Group has held hearings in five European cities with a number of witnesses, and made use of a wide range of documentation from the Council of Europe and other international and national organisations. (Both witnesses and documents are listed in the appendices at the end.) We owe a special debt of gratitude to our rapporteur, Edward Mortimer, for the engaged, responsive and skilful fashion in which he consolidated our discussions into a coherent argument. While we are grateful for all this support, without which we could not have completed our task, responsibility for the opinions expressed is ours alone.

              Joschka Fischer (Chair)
              Emma Bonino
              Timothy Garton Ash
              Martin Hirsch
              Ayşe Kadıoğlu
              Danuta Hübner
              Sonja Licht
              Vladimir Lukin
              Javier Solana
               

              April 2011

Part one – The threat

Our terms of reference require us to assess “the seriousness of the risks to the Council of Europe values posed by rising intolerance”, and then to identify the sources of these phenomena. In this first part of our report we attempt to do that, first enumerating the phenomena in question and then, more briefly, suggesting what may lie behind them.

A. What are the risks and how serious are they?2

We take the Council of Europe values to be those spelt out in the Organisation’s Statute and in the European Convention on Human Rights – essentially those of peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We find that these values are indeed threatened by rising intolerance and other related phenomena which we list below.

1. Rising intolerance

This is the phenomenon that causes us greatest alarm, and seems to us to be manifested in the hostile and discriminatory treatment to which members of various groups are subjected in Europe today. We do not pretend to have established an exhaustive list of these groups. We are for instance aware that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons face deeply rooted prejudice, hostility and widespread discrimination all over Europe and that in particular the rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression of these persons are violated in a number of Council of Europe member states.3 We are also well aware that other minority groups, including national and religious minorities, are also victims of various forms of discrimination throughout Europe, but we note particularly the spread of intolerance and hostility against the following groups.

a. Roma

The Roma, together with the Sinti (a closely related group which arrived in Europe from India earlier in the Middle Ages), form Europe’s largest minority, estimated at between 10 and 12 million people throughout the continent, and have been present for many centuries in virtually all Council of Europe member states. In some states they comprise close to 10% of the population. Unlike other minorities, they are neither “newcomers” nor do they have a compact “homeland” in which they could aspire to self-determination. The vast majority of them are citizens of European countries.4 They have neither a religion of their own, nor a “kin-state” which might give them support or make claims on their behalf. They are distinguished from the rest of the population to some extent by physical appearance, but mainly by their culture and traditions (although most are no longer nomadic), and above all by their social exclusion. In every country, their average income, educational attainment and levels of employment place them at the bottom of the social scale. No other group suffers from such high levels of discrimination and prejudice, and no European country can be proud of the way it treats them. Their condition is a standing reproach to the entire continent, and is one of the most persistent violations by Europeans of what we like to think of as “European values”.

The Roma people are still in many cases victims of intolerance, discrimination and rejection, based on deep-seated prejudices, which in some cases are echoed or encouraged by government members and other elected officials, who make public statements asserting, for instance, that Roma are “genetically prone to crime”. They are very often negatively perceived by the majority of the population. As the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg, has pointed out, “it must be recognised that a major aspect of the social misery of Roma is widespread anti-Gypsism”.5

In some member states (especially those which formerly had planned economies) the unemployment rate of the Roma is now around 80% – even 90% among women. Roma are usually the first to be dismissed when employers need to downsize their workforce. In many states they have restricted access to education, housing and healthcare, in a pattern which shows clear evidence of discrimination. Roma often live in precarious conditions, in dwellings without access to potable water, electricity or sewer networks, and in areas with still very limited healthcare provision. According to Romani interest groups, municipalities use a variety of techniques to prevent Roma from living in more desirable urban neighbourhoods. Access to education is also a serious concern in some member states. The school drop-out rate among Roma children remains disastrous, putting them at high risk of becoming victims of trafficking. There are also cases where mayors deny school registration to children whose parents live in illegal campsites. In some places Romani children are segregated from the rest of the population for educational purposes, for instance by being placed, in disproportionate numbers, in special schools for children with mental disabilities.

The Roma’s participation in public and political life throughout Europe is correspondingly limited. They are sometimes denied the right to vote because they lack birth certificates, identity cards or a registered residence. They remain heavily under-represented in elected bodies, and also in high-status professional categories such as lawyers, doctors and police officers. Some member states have also recorded a recent upsurge of violent acts and physical assaults against Roma.

Especially since the enlargements of the European Union in 2004 and 2007, large numbers of Roma have migrated, in search of work and better living conditions, from eastern to western Europe – where, in most cases, they have been made to feel anything but welcome. Despite being EU citizens, they have been threatened with, and in some cases actually subjected to, deportation to their country of origin.

b. “Immigrants” and asylum seekers

We use inverted commas here because, while “immigrants” is the term most often used by people expressing hostility towards this group, the individuals they refer to are often not immigrants under any legal or technical definition of that term. In fact there is little or no prejudice expressed against foreigners who come to live and work in a country where they are visually indistinguishable from the majority of its inhabitants, speak the same language, have broadly the same life-style and are able to earn their living. But people whose appearance or life-style clearly mark them out from the majority are often referred to as “immigrants” even when they, and sometimes their parents and grandparents, have been born in the country and lived there all their lives. Such people are seen as part of a group which is growing rapidly and is often considered a threat to the indigenous population and its way of life. Also included in this group are asylum seekers – widely depicted in the media as “bogus” and as “welfare scroungers” – and sometimes even people who have been accepted as bona fide refugees from persecution in their home countries.

Popular attitudes to migrants

The following views about immigrants have been noted as widespread, on the basis of a series of inquiries, meetings and field research in several European countries carried out for the Council of Europe publication Migrants and their descendants – Guide to policies for the well-being of all in pluralist societies.6

      i. “Immigrants cause an increase in crime.” This is widely repeated by the media, officials and certain “security experts”, and accepted unquestioningly by a large proportion of the population, in terms such as: “migrants, especially illegal migrants, are criminals”; “migrants are less law-abiding than nationals”; “migrants are responsible for much of the crime that takes place”; “they come to our country to commit crimes” and “now that they are here, our towns and streets are less safe”.

      ii. “Immigrants bring diseases into the country”, or “migrants are to blame for the return of certain diseases that were eradicated in Europe decades ago”. Proponents of these arguments claim that irregular or undocumented migrants and their children often have poorer health than the rest of population, and that certain infectious and transmissible diseases are more common in migrant communities than in the indigenous population.

      iii. “Immigrant workers take our jobs.” This view is extremely common in European societies, especially among workers in sectors where there are large numbers of immigrants. It is applied not only to immigrants stricto sensu but also to their children, the so-called second generation, who are still seen as being “not part of the nation” on account of their physical appearance, culture or family ties.

      iv. “Immigrant workers drive down our wages.” Many people who accept that there is no proof that migrants and nationals are in direct competition for jobs nevertheless subscribe to the idea that through their presence, immigrants drive down wages. This view is especially widely held in the workplace and even in trade unions, at least among the rank-and-file members.

      v. “Immigrants abuse the welfare state.” Migrants and their families are accused of abusing the services provided by the welfare state in three ways. First, it is claimed that they make excessive, unfair use of public services and assistance, to which they are believed to have wider, more liberal and less tightly regulated access than other citizens. Second, they are alleged to have access to provision and services to which they are not legally entitled, and thus to be committing outright fraud, to the detriment of the indigenous population. Third, it is alleged that during their stay, which is assumed to be temporary and prompted chiefly by the desire to benefit from the European welfare state, they get more out of the economy than they put in.

      vi. “Immigrants behave as if the place belonged to them.” This attitude is especially common among older people, who have the impression that newcomers do not respect them, that their familiar way of life is being eroded and that “immigrants’ culture and way of life are respected more than ours”.

      vii. “Immigrants build parallel societies.” Migrants are often described as a social and political group alien to the members of their host society. Attention is paid to cases where they behave like a closed and self-contained community, and much less to cases where they are open and seek friendly relations with members of other groups. Typical claims are “they like to keep themselves to themselves”, “they have no desire to integrate”, “they cannot speak our language” and “all they want is rights without duties”.

      viii. “Immigrants’ children are lowering standards in our schools.” Immigrants’ children are said to “perform poorly at school because their parents lack the skills and education to bring them up properly”, and are often blamed for their own difficulties: “they do not speak their host country’s language”; “they enrol at school in the middle of the school year”; and “they don’t know which culture they really belong to”.

      ix. “Immigrant women live as a minority.” Non-European immigrants are often regarded as “backward” in terms of civilisation in general and gender equality in particular. This prejudice is now directed mainly against Muslims and Arabs.

There may be some truth in some of these statements, in some specific contexts. We shall examine that point when we come to the sources behind the risks. But all are sweeping generalisations, and all are constantly bandied about throughout Europe, in both private and public discourse. Taken together, they express a deeply and widely felt hostility to a very large category of people, all of whom are liable to suffer both morally and materially as a result.

c. Muslims

The increase of negative attitudes to Muslims in Europe is confirmed by opinion polls carried out by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.7 In some European countries, the percentage of those interviewed who have either a “somewhat unfavourable” or a “very unfavourable” opinion of Muslims has substantially increased between 2004-05 and 2010 or, in specific cases, has remained at a high level, sometimes close to 50%.

Other surveys in Europe confirm the prevalence of negative opinions about Muslim minorities. Islam is even perceived as a major threat to Europe by many Europeans because they feel that the minority is growing and that Islam is incompatible with “modern European life”.

The 2009 report of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency confirms that this persistent anti-Muslim feeling across Europe is by no means confined to the expression of opinion. One in three Muslim respondents polled for this report said they had been discriminated against, and 11% said they had been victims of racially motivated “in-person” crime (assault, threat or serious harassment) at least once in the previous 12 months. The highest levels of discrimination were found in employment and in services provided by the private sector.8 Other surveys also show increasing numbers of attacks and instances of discrimination against Muslims, as well as rallies and public gatherings with anti-Muslim messages.

Many observers and organisations, including the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,9 agree that there is a drastic growth of hostility to Muslims throughout Europe. Often they use the term “Islamophobia” to describe this phenomenon. We have chosen not to use that term in this report, because it could be taken as implying that Islam as such should be exempt from criticism, or that those who criticise it are necessarily motivated by racial or religious prejudice. We do not share that view, since we believe that in a free and pluralist society people must be free to hold any or no religious belief, and to express their opinions about Islam as much as any other religion. At the same time it is important to notice that distorted or inaccurate accounts of religious beliefs or practices, or assertions that those of particular groups or individuals are characteristic of a religion as a whole, are often expressions of prejudice and also help to spread it. Statements about Jewish belief or practice, for instance, have historically been a major vehicle for anti-Semitism; and many widely current statements about Islam seem to fall into the same category.

Extreme right-wing parties (see below) have exploited fears of terrorism (especially since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States, 15 and 20 November 2003 in Istanbul, 11 March 2004 in Madrid, 7 July 2005 in London, and a whole series of comparable ones in the Russian Federation), as well as demographic changes (increase in the Muslim population in many European countries, mainly through immigration), with great success. Even in many mainstream parties, vilification of Islam is becoming frequent if not standard. Because increased immigration of Muslims to Europe in recent decades has resulted in more “visible” Muslim communities and coincided with the growth of political Islam, many Europeans have acquired the conviction that Islam per se is radical, militant and incompatible with European values, and that Muslim immigrants and their descendants therefore cannot be integrated into European societies in the way that earlier waves of migrants have been.

In October 2010, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe declared that these prejudices “are combined with racist attitudes – directed not least against people originating from Turkey, Arab countries and South Asia. Muslims with this background are discriminated in the labour market and the education system in a number of European countries. There are reports showing that they tend to be targeted by police in repeated identity controls and intrusive searches. This is a serious human rights problem”.10

d. Jews

Anti-Semitism has plagued the world for centuries. In Europe, it is a deeply rooted cultural trait which in the 19th century found a specific political expression in the context of ethnically-based nationalism as well as racist theories of human development. This culminated in the ideology of national socialism. Taken to its most far-reaching and violent extreme, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism caused the deaths of six million Jews and the suffering of countless others. Subtler, less genocidal but still vile forms of anti-Semitism have disrupted lives, decimated religious communities, created social and political cleavages, and complicated relations between countries as well as the work of international organisations.

Although negative opinions of Jews are less common in Europe than in some other parts of the world, they have increased in recent years according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

A survey conducted in 2009 in some European countries by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also points to the alarming trend of blaming Jews in the financial industry for the current global economic crisis. Nearly one third of respondents blame Jews in the banking sector for the current economic crisis. A similar proportion believe that Jews have “too much power” in business and finance and are not loyal to their country.11

In western Europe generally, traditional far-right groups still account for a significant proportion of attacks against Jews and Jewish properties, but in recent years, an increasing number of these have been committed by disaffected Muslim youths.

In eastern Europe, skinheads and members of the radical political fringe are responsible for most reported anti-Semitic incidents.

e. Christians

In most European countries, where Christianity was the dominant religion for the last millennium or so, the majority of the population are either Christian or of Christian background, and the general public’s view of Christians is largely positive. There are, however, some European countries, predominantly Muslim ones, where Christians still face some forms of discrimination or are the victims of hostility and occasional violence based on religious but also ethnic grounds (physical assaults, attacks against churches, restrictions of freedom of association and freedom of expression).

Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE-ODIHR), declared in March 2009 that “intolerance and discrimination against Christians is manifested in various forms across the OSCE area. While denial of rights may be an important issue where Christians form a minority, exclusion and marginalisation may also be experienced by Christians where they comprise a majority in society”.12

The other phenomena listed below are all in some degree the products of intolerance and prejudice, but also tend to aggravate them, in a series of mutually reinforcing vicious circles.

2. Rising support for xenophobic and populist parties

In the previous section, we gave a brief and schematic survey of popular prejudice against some specific groups in the population. In this section, we examine the political parties in different parts of Europe that have sprung up, or significantly increased their support, by giving political expression to these prejudices and encouraging them. The rise of such parties, and their impact on “mainstream” politics, is probably the phenomenon that has caused greatest anxiety among European liberals, prompting the fear that Europe’s “democratic acquis” might be at risk.

Without doubt, significant social and ideological changes are taking place in Europe’s political landscape. From northern Europe to the Mediterranean, we are witnessing a wave of radical populism. The parties concerned are generally assigned to the right or far right of the political spectrum, but it would be a mistake to classify them as neo-fascist. While there are elements that connect them with the “traditional” neo-Nazi or neo-fascist movements of post-war Europe, which generally remained a marginal phenomenon, the new parties have a much broader base, stretching into virtually all strata of society, regardless of education level, gender or status. They can appeal to almost anyone who feels that his or her livelihood and way of life is threatened by the economic crisis, and by immigration. In fact, some of them combine these xenophobic attitudes with an appeal to social liberalism, defence of the welfare state and seemingly left-wing economic policies (as well as strongly positive views of Israel). In western Europe, hostility to immigration is their common theme. In many central and eastern European countries, similar anxieties are directed against the Roma, and sometimes other national minorities, including Jews.

In recent months, anti-immigration parties have notched up impressive gains, including in countries with a reputation for liberal politics and tolerant electorates. Over the last two years, election results and polling data in a wide range of European countries have shown an increase in voter support for movements which claim to be defending the interests and culture of the “indigenous” majority against immigration and the spread of Islam. While not yet in the majority, these parties are a growing force in European politics. In some countries, they have even established themselves as the second largest party with around 30% of the votes, sometimes denying their rivals a governing majority, securing the formation of a government dependent on their support, or even forming part of a ruling coalition. Increasingly, their electoral success prompts politicians who belong to mainstream political parties to compete with them in anti-immigrant or xenophobic rhetoric, which in turn legitimises, and contributes to, the spread of racist attitudes among the general population.

3. Discrimination

Prejudice against immigrants, people of recent migrant origin or members of minorities is frequently reflected in discrimination, whereby the people concerned are denied services or advantages to which they are entitled, and which are accorded to members of other groups. Such treatment serves to alienate them and contributes to their isolation from the rest of society. It is contrary to the fundamental principles to which all member states of the Council of Europe are committed, and is in itself one of the most serious obstacles to the establishment or maintenance of open and harmonious societies in Europe. Discrimination appears to be especially widespread, and to have very harmful effects, in the following areas: employment; housing; education; healthcare and social services; and the actions of the police and law courts.

Employment. In almost every European country the unemployment rate among Roma, immigrants and people perceived to be of foreign origin is significantly higher than that of the population as a whole. This is not always evidence of direct discrimination by employers, since sometimes it is caused by the collapse of industries, in particular construction, where predominantly immigrants worked; by the application of a “last in, first out policy”; or, in the case of the Roma, by the disappearance of traditional Roma trades as well as the de facto residential segregation which is a feature of their social exclusion. But in some countries, even when specific instances of racial discrimination in access to employment have been sanctioned by the courts, anti-racism non-governmental organisations (NGOs) consider that the penalties are not always sufficiently dissuasive, particularly where large corporations are concerned; while in others employment continues to be the area of social life where discrimination is reported the most.

Housing. Reports from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe note with concern that, according to a number of sources, direct and indirect racial discrimination towards immigrants, persons of immigrant origin and other visible minority groups remains a problem in both the private and the public housing sectors in a number of European countries. Even in countries where housing discrimination based on ethnicity is prohibited by law, NGOs report that some municipalities nonetheless apply municipal regulations in a way that discriminates against certain socially disadvantaged groups, including by basing housing decisions on the reputation of the applicant and his or her family in previous residences.

Education. This is considered to be an important tool for combating racism and intolerance, but it is also seen as an area in which racism and racial as well as religious discrimination can exist, with harmful consequences for children and society as a whole. We have already mentioned the situation of Roma children who are in some cases educated in segregated schools or in schools for children with mental disabilities. There also seems to be in some European countries a disproportionate representation of children of immigrant backgrounds in certain schools, which is apparently linked to the formation of ghetto housing estates and also to the allegedly poorer school performance of immigrant children or children from immigrant backgrounds.

Benefits and social services. Policy makers often seek to respond to complaints that immigrants are abusing, or placing undue burdens on, the welfare state by imposing restrictions on migrants’ access to benefits and services – for instance tying it to an extensive set of criteria such as length of stay (normally not less than five years); legal status (including work permit and hence availability of income), nationality, absence of criminal record; limiting it to essential and emergency services; or making it subject to more rigorous means tests than are applied to the general population. Even where foreign residents are formally recognised as having the same rights as other claimants, the climate is often so hostile, and the bureaucratic hurdles pitched so high, that they are deterred from applying in the first place. Indeed, even at the point of entry to the country, the very fact that someone needs social assistance is considered sufficient reason not to admit them.

Police and law courts. Immigrants or members of minorities are reported to be disproportionately subject to police checks in some European countries and are sometimes verbally abused in a racist way, harassed or even physically abused by law-enforcement officials. The fact that these groups are more often subjected to police stop and search operations increases the likelihood that they will end up in the criminal justice system. These groups indeed seem to be over-represented in almost every prison system in Europe. And yet “the question of discrimination and justice is one of the key political questions of our society, and still it is not given much importance”, according to Sebastian Roche, who has studied judicial discrimination as research director for the French National Centre for Scientific Research. He adds further that “we can’t blame a state if its companies discriminate; however, we can blame the state if its justice system and its police discriminate”.13

It is clear from the country reports of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance that in some countries, at least, the police are not active enough in recording the complaints of victims of racist attacks or hate speech. They often refuse to take a complaint or do not record it properly. In other cases, the victim from a visible minority who has gone to the police to complain against a racist act finds him- or herself in a difficult situation because the police, instead of investigating the behaviour of the alleged author of the racist acts, start to harass the victim. Moreover, police officers accused of misconduct against immigrants or members of ethnic minority groups are by no means always prosecuted, and even less often successfully.

4. The presence of a population virtually without rights

Virtually all European states, under pressure from public opinion, have done their best to control immigration and limit it to certain categories of people. Clearly they have the right to do so. But since Europe’s relative prosperity and its shrinking domestic workforce continue to create employment opportunities which tempt more and more migrants to come, the effect is to create more illegal migration, as people evade the controls and take up residence, temporary or permanent, on the continent. And this in turn results in a situation which is hard to reconcile with Europe’s claim to uphold human rights and the rule of law. “Illegal”, “irregular” or “undocumented” migrants lead a semi-clandestine existence which makes it difficult to collect reliable data about them, but their numbers are certainly high. Some indication may be gleaned from the EU Commission’s estimate that, between 2005-07, around 1.4 million people were apprehended for being illegally present in EU countries, and almost 760 000 were deported. (Few data are available for countries outside the EU, but in some of them, at least, the figures are almost certainly comparable.) If we assume that those apprehended are likely to be only a fraction of the total, it is clear that we are talking about a population of many millions.

Equally clearly, this is a population deprived not only of civil and political rights, but in practice even of the most basic human ones. They are in fact “without the law” in the most literal sense: since the law threatens them with apprehension and deportation, they cannot invoke its protection. Indeed it is clear that this very fact often renders them more attractive to employers: having few resources and no recourse, they have little choice but to accept whatever work they can get, no matter how low the pay or how unsafe, unhealthy or degrading the conditions. In short, they are vulnerable to every kind of exploitation. And at the same time their “illegal” status makes them even more unpopular than other immigrants with the rest of the population – though it also tends to tar other immigrants with guilt by association.

Like other migrants, therefore, but to an even greater extent, irregular migrants can be found in some of the most dangerous, difficult, and dirty jobs. They usually work on farms, in small and medium-sized firms, in the service sector (restaurants, hotels, domestic service) and, for many undocumented women migrants, in the sex industry.

Births of children to undocumented migrants often go unregistered, with the result that the children themselves are undocumented from birth. They may then find themselves barred from health services and education. An increasing number of them have to sleep on the streets. They remain especially vulnerable to abuse by crime syndicates engaged in smuggling, human trafficking and modern forms of slavery.

Women migrant workers face additional threats of marginalisation, job losses and deprivation of economic and social rights. Many industries do not provide equal pay for equal work, and women lack legal protection. According to the available data there are also many cases of violence against undocumented women, and they are the primary victims of the odious crime of human trafficking.

Although not strictly undocumented, asylum seekers – of whom there were 355 000 in OSCE countries in 2008, with increasing numbers in countries bordering the Mediterranean – are in many ways in an analogous situation, and exposed to many of the same dangers. The quest for asylum is generally perceived by public opinion, with much encouragement from the media, as simply an attempt to circumvent immigration controls. In many cases this may be quite accurate – although it is also true that individual circumstances vary enormously, and there is a wide grey area between the “pure” political refugee and the “pure” economic migrant. Unfortunately, European states have a strong tendency to treat asylum seekers as guilty (of making “bogus” claims) until proved innocent, and to put the burden of proof firmly upon them, even though there are many reasons why genuine political refugees cannot always give definite proof of their story.

Many asylum seekers are subject to detention while their claims are being investigated, and many even when “free” are not allowed to work and are given minimal, if any, social security – again, largely in deference to a public opinion conditioned to regard them as “scroungers”. All this puts them in a situation very similar to that of undocumented migrants. Virtually barred from earning their living legally, they are almost bound to try and do so illegally; and any complaint they make is liable to be greeted with the response that they are “free” to return to their home country – a response which effectively pre-judges the issue at the heart of the claim that is meanwhile being examined. Thus they too have very limited legal protection, and are vulnerable to most of the same abuses as undocumented migrants. In both cases the absence of alternatives to detention, and the related tendency to detain everyone who has entered a country in an irregular manner, including pregnant women and families with small children, make the situation even harder to reconcile with proclaimed European principles.

Even those whose claim to asylum has been granted, or who are given “temporary leave to remain”, often find themselves required to leave, under threat of deportation if they do not do so “voluntarily”, if or when the host country deems the conditions that led them to flee their home country to have ended. Such judgments are often debatable, to say the least, and even when well founded their effects can be very inhumane, particularly when children who have been growing up in the host country find themselves sent back to a “home” country of which they have little direct knowledge.

The European Network against Nationalism, Racism, Fascism and in Support of Migrants and Refugees (United) regularly publishes a list of those who die at Europe’s borders or in detention camps awaiting deportation. Since 1993 more than 11 000 such deaths have so far been documented, with the help of a wide range of network organisations. No doubt many of these deaths were natural ones, and certainly not all of them can be blamed on European authorities. Yet it is hard not to see these unfortunate people as, in part at least, victims of Europe’s lack of a clear, coherent and humane migration policy, and some of them as victims of appalling callousness in applying whatever national policies exist. Many who have drowned at sea, for example, might have been saved if the unseaworthy boats they were in had been given timely assistance, as international humanitarian law requires. The responsibility for their deaths must also, in many cases, be shared by the countries from which they set off, which could and should have taken firmer measures to prevent them doing so.

5. Parallel societies

The word “ghetto”, which historically referred to the Jewish quarter of various European cities, is used today to denote a compact urban district where members of ethnic, religious, national or other communities, which are minorities on the national level, form a large majority of the local population.

Such concentrations are not invariably or necessarily unhealthy. Historically they have been common in many societies, and have often been a useful stage in the gradual integration of immigrant groups into a host society.

The term “ghetto”, however, is usually applied in a more pejorative sense, when a district becomes largely separated from the rest of the city, in conditions of social and economic exclusion (or self-exclusion). The typical ghetto is a run-down, inner-city area with high rates of unemployment and juvenile crime. Alternatively, it may denote an area whose inhabitants keep themselves to themselves, hardly speaking the main language of the country; where members of the “indigenous” population, if they stray into it at all, feel unwelcome and insecure, while local schools there often find their classrooms filled only with children from minorities, and lack the resources to ensure that these children become fully fluent and literate in the national language. This has become a familiar pattern in western European cities. It contributes significantly to the fear and resentment of immigrants and minorities voiced by many Europeans.

The resentment is further fuelled by the belief that these communities have chosen to isolate themselves, and seek deliberately to live in a “parallel” society, minimising contact with the rest of the population even while gradually “colonising” more and more of the city – even though, in some cases at least, members of the community in question feel that it is the host society which has rejected and isolated them.

In reality, ghettoes and parallel societies are two distinct phenomena, which are sometimes but by no means always found together. In many cases the ghetto is not mono-ethnic, but contains a number of minorities living intermingled, and often at odds with each other. Equally, parallel societies can sometimes be geographically spread-out, living intertwined with the wider community but minimising real social contact with it.

The emergence of parallel societies has several dangerous consequences. First, social and economic deprivation can lead to unrest, which is not necessarily related to cultural or religious grievances. Second, members of the new, better educated middle class, growing up in a closed society within an open one, become increasingly indignant at the lack of upward social mobility, and may suffer from a kind of “cultural schizophrenia”. Members of this group are prone to radicalisation. Third, due to their closed nature, parallel societies often provide cover for criminal activities, and in some cases for terrorist networks. (See next section.)

Clearly such isolation contributes to mutual alienation between the society in question and the larger community surrounding it. It is inimical to any meaningful notion of “living together”. Whether or not it is the result of deliberate “multicultural” policies, any serious integration policy must surely aim to overcome it.

6. Islamic extremism

Although Islam has existed in Europe for many years, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, as well as subsequent similarly dramatic attacks in Europe (notably those in Madrid, March 2004; London, July 2005; and a whole series of attacks in Moscow, most recently at Domodedovo airport in February 2011), have given rise to the perception that terrorism is a feature of Islam as such. It is sometimes even claimed that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but nearly all terrorists are Muslims”.

Official statistics tell a different story. A 2009 Europol report concluded that “Islamist terrorism is still perceived as being the biggest threat worldwide, despite the fact that the EU only faced one Islamist terrorist attack in 2008. Separatism, rather than religion, remains the ostensible motive for the largest number of attacks in the EU”; and a year later the same report noted that in 2009, although Islamist terrorists
had threatened EU member states with indiscriminate terrorist attacks, aiming
at indiscriminate mass casualties, “the number of arrests relating to Islamist terrorism (110) decreased by 41% compared to 2008, which continues the trend of a steady decrease since 2006”.
14

However, the impact of terrorism cannot be measured simply by the number of attacks, but more by the number of casualties they cause, and above all by their success in traumatising society, creating a climate of fear and – if possible – provoking reactions which tend to radicalise and enlarge the pool of people among which the group behind the attacks can hope to win support for its ideology and new recruits for its activities – in the case of Islamist terrorism, alienated Muslims in Europe and those in the Islamic world who feel anger against the West. Judged by these criteria, Islamist terrorism is clearly the most effective and dangerous in Europe today. The high level of casualties in a few attacks early in the last decade, and the repeated warnings of possible new attacks, both from Islamic groups such as al-Qaeda and from authorities in the United States and Europe – all intensively reported and commented on in the media as well as by anti-Muslim propagandists – have induced the public to see radical or militant Islam as a major security threat. Thus the existence of Islamic extremism – meaning not only actual terrorist plots or explicit advocacy of violence but, also groups and preachers who denounce western values or call for “jihad” (often, but not always accurately, translated as “holy war”) – is a serious threat to peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe, if only because it reinforces, and appears to justify, fear and resentment of Muslims among the non-Muslim population.

7. Loss of democratic freedoms

Tormented by the twin fear of being “swamped” by an uncontrolled influx of immigrants and/or massacred by Islamic terrorists, Europeans look to the state to protect them, and political leaders fear they have little chance of re-election if they are seen to fail on either front. States are thus under constant pressure to tighten controls on immigration and to keep potential or suspected terrorists under very close observation. Too often, it is assumed that there is a direct trade-off between security and civil liberties, and governments feel obliged to restrict the latter in the hope of guaranteeing the former. Yet the trade-off is highly questionable: civil liberties are the essential prerequisite of democracy, and the citizen’s freedom to live as he or she chooses is the essence of what security is there to protect. And although the majority may at times need to be protected from the designs of a small and violent minority, unless members of minorities also feel free and secure the number of those willing to resort to violence is likely to grow. Therefore we believe that the overreaction of the state and the imposition of excessive controls do indeed represent a serious risk to the health and strength of our European democracies.

In struggling to restrict immigration many European states have resorted to detaining asylum seekers and “illegal” immigrants for increasingly long periods, often without charging them with any offence, and sometimes in very unhealthy and overcrowded conditions. In at least one case this has attracted the attention of the Council of Europe’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), which found that these conditions “could even amount to inhuman and degrading treatment”. Governments or local authorities have also used bulldozers to destroy camps where undocumented migrants were squatting, arresting those who failed to run away in time; have criminalised irregular entry into their countries, and then encouraged citizens’ patrols to help apprehend the “criminals”; have imposed long prison sentences on landlords who rent premises to undocumented migrants; and have introduced “fast-track processes” for determining refugee status, thereby violating various procedural guarantees of human rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Even worse are some of the measures taken in the name of preventing terrorism. At the first Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Media and New Communication Services (held in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 28 and 29 May 2009) member states committed themselves, somewhat belatedly, “to review [their] national legislation and/or practice on a regular basis to ensure that any impact of anti-terrorism measures on the right to freedom of expression and information is consistent with Council of Europe standards, with a particular emphasis on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights”. This, however, is by no means the only freedom affected by such measures. In many states the period during which citizens can be held without charge on suspicion of involvement in conspiracies to commit terrorist acts has been steadily increased, and the rights of the police to exercise surveillance of such suspects or to enter their homes and otherwise infringe their privacy have been steadily extended.

Moreover, many European countries have been unduly complaisant about the operations of foreign security services. Citizens have been kidnapped, arbitrarily detained in secret prisons and transferred to other jurisdictions where they could be tortured, on the mere suspicion of terrorism and in defiance of international law. Two investigations by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe into the high-value detainee (HVD) programme set up by the US Administration after the attacks of 11 September have revealed a global “spider’s web” spun by the Central Intelligence Agency. The so-called “extraordinary renditions” programme has resulted in numerous serious human rights violations. It has only been able to function through the co-operation of certain Council of Europe member states, despite the fact that they are bound by the European Convention on Human Rights.

8. A possible clash between “religious freedom” and freedom of expression

Finally, there is also a threat to freedom – specifically, freedom of expression – from a different quarter, namely the sensibilities of groups who demand that it be curbed in the name of respect for their own religious beliefs or cherished symbols. This first arose as a major issue in Europe at the time of the “Rushdie affair” in 1989, when many Muslims, even among those who did not endorse the fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini and related threats of murder or violence, demanded the suppression or censorship of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic verses because of a passage in it where, in a dream experienced by one of the characters, the wives of the Prophet Muhammad are represented as prostitutes. (Their position was strengthened in some countries by the fact that laws prohibiting blasphemy against the Christian religion were still on the statute book, although rarely enforced.) An important factor in the protests was the bitter resentment felt by members of an underprivileged minority at the apparent contempt of the majority for them and their religion. In at least one country, this led to proposed extensions of laws on “incitement to religious hatred”, which were widely seen as an assault on freedom of expression.

The same issue arose again in 2005-06, in an even more acute form, over the publication by a Danish newspaper of disrespectful cartoons or caricatures representing the Prophet himself. This time there was no doubt that the publication was deliberately provocative. Indeed, it was widely felt even among media professionals that the newspaper had behaved irresponsibly. Yet at the same time there was strong feeling, well beyond the media, that freedom of expression, if it is to have any meaning at all, must include the right to say and do things that other people find objectionable, and should only be curtailed when this was clearly and objectively necessary in order to protect the rights of others. On the Muslim side, it was pointed out that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, on freedom of expression, follows Article 9, which protects “freedom of thought, conscience and religion”; but this argument did not find favour with most non-Muslims, or even with all Muslims, since it was hard to see how the publication of cartoons could prevent anyone from, in the words of Article 9, “manifest[ing] his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance”. (It was also pointed out that many of the same people who invoked freedom of religion were themselves opposed to the freedom to change one’s religion or belief, which is included in freedom of religion according to that same article.)

There is thus a danger that a fundamental freedom, that of expression, may come to be eroded through the anxiety of some European elites to avoid further alienating an important minority, or through the fear of provoking acts of violence. The alleged conflict between freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and the lack of consensus about how and exactly where the frontiers of freedom of expression should be drawn, do therefore pose a threat to some of Europe’s most cherished values.

B. What is behind these risks?

1. Insecurity

Objectively, Europe today, with all its contrasts and contradictions, is one of the safest, freest, healthiest, most prosperous, comfortable and humane parts of the world in which one could live. Yet many Europeans do not seem to feel this – or if they do, their attitude is that of Docteur Knock: “La santé est un état précaire qui ne présage rien de bon.” (Health is a precarious state which can only get worse.) Europe’s wealth is by no means evenly divided, so that many Europeans look with jealousy and resentment at those better off than themselves, and with nervousness at those lower down the slope. Many, if not most, have been affected by the global economic crisis. Some have lost their jobs, while many more are affected by cutbacks in public expenditure and services, as governments struggle to regain financial and fiscal equilibrium. Despite signs of recovery in some countries (notably Germany), at the end of 2010, Europe’s overall unemployment rate remained at 10% – the highest for 12 years.

Europeans are also well aware – because politicians, economic pundits and the media are constantly telling them – that their position in the world pecking order is slipping, as emerging economies, especially in East and South Asia, recover much faster from the crisis than the already industrialised world, competing successfully for export markets and attracting investment from employers who sometimes close factories in Europe while opening new ones in the “global south”. They know that their society is aging, and that their education system is less and less competitive on the world market. And they are more aware than people in most other parts of the world that their current way of life may not be sustainable, because they are consuming non-renewable resources and risking catastrophic climate change.

Their mood is therefore defensive – worried about their future in a fast changing world; anxious to protect their wealth; worried about their children’s future in a rapidly globalising world; and feeling threatened in their way of life by the unfamiliar cultures and traditions of new neighbours living in their midst.

2. Immigration

While economic hardship and insecurity tend to sharpen competition for scarce resources between individuals and groups in general, in many parts of Europe today there is a marked tendency to blame them on “immigrants” in particular. (See the public attitudes to “immigrants” and asylum seekers summarised above in section A.1.b) In identifying the sources of the phenomena described in section A, it is therefore important to look both at the reality of immigration into Europe, and at the ways society has reacted to it.

Immigration into European countries, and especially into those of the European Union, has risen rapidly in the last two decades thanks to a combination of multiple factors, including: a global rise in mobility, facilitated by easier international travel; economic difficulties following the collapse of communism in many east European countries; and violent conflicts and instability in South-Eastern Europe and other areas. In addition, the admission to the EU of 12 new members – mainly former communist countries – in 2004 and 2007 has facilitated economic integration and labour mobility, leading to significant increases in migration within Europe, mainly from east to west.

Thus the estimated number of migrants living in Europe and Central Asia rose from 67.5 million in 2005 to 72.6 million in 2010. One in three of all international migrants in the world today lives in Europe, and migrants represent 8.7% of the total European population.

All parts of Europe have shared in this increase of the migrant population since 2005, but southern Europe has received the largest share (3.4 million people, with an annual average growth rate in migrant stock of 5.2%).

Not surprisingly, most of the new migrants are found in urban centres. London, Paris and Moscow each host more than 1 million foreign-born residents. Among 85 cities in the world with between 100 000 and 1 million foreign-born residents, 30 are in Europe. In Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and London, foreign-born persons represent over a quarter of the total population. But the phenomenon can also affect very small towns and even rural communities, for instance when national governments insist that they provide housing for refugees and asylum seekers.

Impact on employment

According to certain academic studies, immigration has only a very slight impact on the employment of the native population. It may, however, have some effect on youth employment in sectors where employers prefer immigrants to native-born workers because “they usually have a better attitude to work”. This has led some to conclude that “although clearly benefiting employers, immigration that is in the best interest of individual employers is not always in the best interest of the economy as a whole”.15

In some countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, which have been importing immigrant labour for several decades, relatively high levels of overall unemployment exist side by side with severe labour shortages in specific sectors which require mainly skilled workers. Thus some have argued that allowing more skilled workers to come in as immigrants and fill these gaps would actually help create more jobs for the indigenous population,16 while others put it in a more negative way, suggesting that “because immigration expands the overall economy, it cannot be expected to be an effective policy tool for significantly reducing vacancies. Vacancies are, to a certain extent, a sign of a healthy labour market and economy. They cannot be a good reason for encouraging large-scale labour immigration”.17

In other countries whose experience of immigration is more recent, there is greater complementarity in the labour market between immigrants and natives. In Spain, for instance, the majority of immigrants hold low-skilled or unskilled jobs, and so rarely come into competition with indigenous workers. Unskilled workers make up 15% of indigenous workers and 37% of immigrant ones – and the figure rises to 42% among immigrant women. Clearly, therefore, immigrant workers are heavily concentrated in unskilled and low-skilled jobs. Between 2001 and 2006 there was a marked increase in the number of foreign workers in the service sector, but this industry was also the one with the highest growth in employment among native Spaniards.

In general, studies on how immigration affects the wages and employment opportunities of native-born workers produce varied and sometimes confusing findings, but on the whole their conclusions support the idea that the impact is slight.

Crime rates

Official statistics do show higher-than-average crime rates among certain minorities (notably Roma) and immigrants or people of recent migrant background. But these statistics should be treated with care. There is abundant evidence of prejudice and discrimination within the criminal justice systems of many (probably most) European countries. Someone identifiable as an immigrant or member of a minority is more likely to be stopped and searched by police, more likely to be arrested, and more likely to be charged with a criminal offence than a comparable member of the “native” population. Thus the popular conviction that these groups are more prone to crime is, to some extent, self-fulfilling. It does almost certainly have some basis in fact, but this does not mean that people commit crimes because of their ethnic origin or immigrant status. In the case of undocumented migrants and some asylum seekers they may have little choice, since the system has effectively predetermined that they are “illegal” and left them with no legitimate means of supporting themselves and their families. In other cases, the significant correlation is the one between high crime rates and high juvenile unemployment or other indicators of economic and social exclusion. Economically disadvantaged people tend to concentrate in certain neighbourhoods of cities, which become “ghettoes”, where high numbers of “immigrants” or members of ethnic minorities coincide with high unemployment, low living standards, failed or failing schools and other social services, cramped and neglected housing – and high rates of crime, particularly among juveniles. Those citizens from the majority community who can do so are likely to move out of these areas, thereby reinforcing their “ethnic” character and also the perception that crime is linked to the genetic or cultural traits of the remaining population.

***

Owing to the economic crisis, the current situation for immigrants in Europe
is particularly difficult. One of the most common motives for migration is the search for employment, but – perhaps because of employers pursuing a “last in, first out” policy – it is immigrants who are currently experiencing the sharpest decline in employment, particularly in the countries hardest hit by the crisis. If it continues, this is likely to make their long-term integration in their new homelands more difficult. Having been important contributors to the national economy when times were good, they are often now seen as a burden, or as unwanted competition with local workers for the few available jobs (even though research shows that the actual effect of such competition on local workers’ employment is rather small). All this feeds into prejudices against immigrants and, as a result, leads to increased discrimination against them.

Ultimately, much of the public hostility to immigrants, and to people of recent migrant origin, can be traced to an argument about entitlement. Migrants – and even more so, of course, their descendants born in the country – naturally believe that, as contributors to the national economy, they have the same rights to fair treatment, social services and solidarity when stricken by unemployment or other economic difficulties, as other residents and citizens. Yet the “native” majority in each country seeks, consciously or unconsciously, to exclude persons of foreign origin from social rights or at least restrict their access to them, believing instinctively that the needs of “our own people” should be met first. They therefore react to the claims of “newcomers” by accusing them of “scrounging off the taxpayer” or “living off the locals”, and/or of being less than completely loyal to the host country and hence of not deserving the rights that are bestowed on them.

3. Distorted image of minorities in the media and harmful stereotypes

No doubt the combination of economic and physical insecurity with large-scale immigration would be enough by itself to produce a certain amount of prejudice and hostility against migrants and people of recent migrant origin, as well as more traditional targets of racism such as Roma and Jews. But this would hardly have reached its current proportions in Europe without the active intervention of the mass media. Many of these, in different parts of Europe, have taken it upon themselves to demonise immigrants and other minorities, not only reporting the anxieties and myths about such groups circulating in the general population, but actively building them up by highlighting real or alleged “scandals” about crime and welfare abuse, while accusing the authorities of covering these up as well as allowing too many foreigners into the country.

The written and broadcast media have done much to reinforce the feeling that migrants are “milking” the system, by consistently reporting instances of benefit fraud committed by immigrants. Leaving aside the fact that these alleged frauds are partly the result of increasingly stringent laws that tie residence permits and welfare entitlements to employment and income level, and that similar if not more serious frauds are also committed by nationals, the news items focusing on crimes of this sort are seized upon with particular eagerness, because they help to justify curbs on migrants’ social rights. In most cases, the people at the centre of these stories are asylum seekers.

In many cases the media seem to be formally or informally allied with xenophobic or conservative parties that use these fears to win electoral support, warning that their opponents are “soft on crime” or willing to “open the floodgates” to new waves of immigration.

Various studies18 show that: photographs of visibly “foreign” or minority suspects are much more common in the media than of those who look “native”; crimes committed by immigrants or members of minorities against “natives” get much more media attention than those within the same ethnic group; crime is more intensively reported in the period preceding an election than after it (even when official statistics show that the crime rate has dropped); and the European public is more prone to link its fear of crime to worries about immigration in election years than at other times – which is striking testimony to the power of political discourse and media representation to shape the public perception of social phenomena.

The media thus bear considerable responsibility for helping to form the image that the majority society has of others, including migrants and their descendants. It may be asked why they so often exercise this responsibility in a negative way. One reason may be that, in the competitive conditions of a media market dominated by privately owned commercial companies, journalists – especially those working in media with the largest circulations or audience ratings – have fewer and fewer opportunities to continue their vocational training, conduct in-depth research or become fully conversant with a subject, and are under pressure to give space and time to the most sensational stories, even at the expense of accuracy, let alone “balance”, context or careful analysis.

Secondly, the groups thus targeted have little access to the mainstream media, being under-represented in it and generally considered less credible by it. The media, like the advertising industry, tends to ignore immigrants and minorities, and makes little effort to cover problems that particularly affect them, or to give their point of view about problems of general interest. Thus journalists, often quite unwittingly, help to exclude millions of human beings from the “national conversation”.

New media

The problem is by no means limited to the “traditional” media – newspapers and broadcasting. Today, these are being displaced as the main source of information, communication and entertainment for more and more people by the World Wide Web. This is much harder to control and, unfortunately, a growing number of Internet users are abusing the Web to spread racist or xenophobic propaganda, and to incite others to hatred – to such an extent that the Internet has now become the number one dissemination tool for hate speech and creating fear.19 To make matters worse, new interactive web 2.0 services allow extremists to leverage technologies such as blogs and video-sharing to promote their agenda on popular “social media” sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube. According to the 2010 “Digital Hate Report”, the Internet grew 20% uglier in 2009, with terrorists and racists increasingly turning to social media sites, and targeting children.20 (There are, of course, more positive examples of the use of media, both new and old. See the “Mass media” section in part two.)

4. Crisis of leadership

Finally, if Europe is reacting in a defensive and unimaginative way to the challenges of the 21st century, including its own diversity, it must in part be because there seem to be few leaders – whether at national level or at that of European institutions, whether political or religious, whether found among opinion formers or in other areas of civil society – who can inspire confidence by articulating a clear vision of Europe’s destiny and a convincing strategy for getting there. This lack of leadership may be in part a symptom of the crisis but it must also contribute to it, and surely helps to explain the attraction of populist and xenophobic parties campaigning on deceptively simple slogans. Too often those who lead “mainstream” political parties and are elected to high office, knowing that their opponents and the media are waiting to pounce as soon as they make a false move, seem to believe that their only hope of remaining in office lies in following public opinion rather than leading it.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in their handling of immigration policy. There is probably no head of state or government in Europe who does not privately believe that Europe’s demography, with a steady decline of the number of working-age people in proportion to those who need support, makes it inevitable that more immigrants will be needed over the coming decades; or who has not been told firmly by business leaders in his or her country that denying visas to skilled workers from abroad means hampering industry and slowing the economic recovery. Surely they should be able and willing to explain this clearly to the public, and to insist on carrying out policies they know to be necessary and right, while also giving convincing responses to the public’s real and legitimate concerns. Surely they should have the courage to confront the xenophobic populism we have described, and resist the temptation to try and compete with it by stealing its clothes.

History suggests that the latter approach, which involves sacrificing principle to expediency, is seldom successful in the long term, and often not even in the short. Once certain policies are on offer, electorates tend to entrust their implementation to those who espouse them out of conviction.

Part two – The response

A. Guiding principles

We believe that, in a free society, peaceful coexistence between people of different race, religion and culture can be achieved, if all agree to accept certain fundamental principles discussed below.

    1. At a minimum, there needs to be agreement that the law must be obeyed, plus a shared understanding of what the law is and how it can be changed. That is why it is so important that all member states of the Council of Europe have agreed to abide by the European Convention on Human Rights; and that each of them expects its citizens and residents to abide by its national laws so long as they are in force.

    2. No individual and no group can expect to be exempted from this obligation on account of his, her or its cultural particularity. And no individual should be treated as a member of a cultural or religious group that he or she does not freely choose to belong to. But all citizens are entitled to share in the process of deciding what the law should be, both as individuals and, when they choose to do so, as members of groups.

    3. The fundamental principle of democracy is that those affected by decisions should have a say in them. All residents on the territory of a state are required to obey its laws, and therefore as many of them as possible should have a say in the making of those laws. All states should therefore strive to extend the full rights and obligations of citizenship, including the right to vote. And as a step towards this, non-citizens of whatever origin should be allowed to vote in local elections in any city or region where they have established residence – as is already the case for citizens of the European Union residing in a member state other than their own.

    4. Eligibility for citizenship should be determined by civic criteria, applied equally to all, and not by virtue of a candidate’s culture, ethnicity, religion or country of origin.

    5. Once citizenship is granted, the rights and responsibilities it confers should belong equally to all.

    6. The equal rights of men and women, proclaimed in the preamble to the United Nations Charter, cannot and must not be denied or ignored, least of all in a democratic society. Under no circumstances can respect for group identity or religious belief be invoked to justify the exclusion of girls from any form of education which is available to boys, or the seclusion of adult women from normal interaction with society outside their home.

    7. All people – majority or minority, citizen or alien, resident or non-resident – are subject to the law of the state in which they find themselves, and states should apply the law equally to all. This does not mean that the law should be used to enforce cultural uniformity on the population. As a general principle, it should protect the individual’s freedom of choice, so long as he or she does not endanger the freedom or safety of others. Like everyone else, immigrants and people of recent migrant origin are expected to obey the law, to learn the official language of the country (or at least one of them, where there are more than one), and to do something useful for their fellow citizens.

    8. But they are not expected to renounce their faith, culture or identity. Neither Islam nor any other religion should be considered a priori incompatible with European values. None of us has only one identity – we identify differently according to context. “Hyphenated” Americans – proud and patriotic US citizens, who nonetheless treasure and affirm their connection with the country or region from which they or their families came – are considered quite normal. Why not “hyphenated Europeans”?

    9. The citizens of each state must decide among themselves, through their national constitutional processes, the precise extent of the rules and values that they need to share in order to live together in a democracy. But they should do so in such a way as to enable the largest possible number of them to feel that they are fully accepted as citizens, with whichever identity or identities they ascribe to themselves, rather than being required to renounce their identity or conform to someone else’s culture.

    10. Compulsion should be minimised. We should distinguish between what is required by law and what is merely desirable for good citizenship and for “living together” not just in peace but in mutual enrichment. The first category includes basic rights and freedoms such as those guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, while the second comprises such things as “mutual respect” – which is clearly important, but needs to exist in people’s hearts and minds. It goes without saying that respect should also be reflected in their outward behaviour, but it is not practicable, and may be counterproductive to treat it as a right which can be claimed and enforced by law. People should show respect for each other, but failure to do so is a subjective matter, except when it goes so far as to infringe clearly defined rights, violations of which can be objectively determined. The burden of proof should always be on those who seek to extend legal restrictions and create new punishable offences, thereby imposing new limits on the rights and freedoms of others.

    11. Persuasion should be maximised. We already have many good laws in Europe, starting with the European Convention on Human Rights. There may be cases where national or sub-national legislation needs to be improved to bring it in line with European standards. But the more urgent task, in our view, is to implement and enforce the existing legal and human rights standards – and, indeed, to ask why, in so many cases, this is not currently being done. Excuses will always be found. Member states which fail to apply the conventions will argue, for instance, that they lack the resources to do so, or that special national circumstances should be taken into account. But in the last resort it is always a matter of priorities. Authorities will enforce the law when they are fully convinced that it is right and necessary to do so, and in a democracy their view on that matter will inevitably be influenced by public opinion, or by what they believe the public will accept. Laws perceived by much of the public to be unjust, excessive or unreasonable will often prove impossible to enforce. Thus even the best laws are of little use if mainstream opinion is not convinced that they are right. For this reason, we believe that a better common life in 21st-century Europe depends relatively little on compulsion, and much more on convincing people of different cultures and beliefs that they actually need to live together, and on finding ways to make that easier.

12. All human beings are entitled to the protection of the law, and the most vulnerable, or those most frequently exposed to illegal abuse or exploitation, are entitled to expect the authorities to make a special effort on their behalf. It should be clear from the examples given in part one that this applies particularly to members of minorities – especially the Roma – and to immigrants and those of recent immigrant descent.

      13. Equally, it should be clear that all citizens, and – excepting only where rights are clearly reserved by law to citizens – all residents, are entitled to equal treatment under the law and equal access to educational and employment opportunities, as well as goods and services, in both the public and the private sector. Here too the discrimination described in part one is unacceptable, and clearly demonstrates the need for public vigilance and firmness on behalf of vulnerable groups.

      14. It is also clear, however, that in some cases purely legal equality will not be enough to enable immigrants or members of minorities to enjoy full equality of opportunity and become full participants in the common life of European societies, because they suffer from socio-economic disadvantages which have the effect of excluding them or confining them to the margins of society. Such socio-economic handicaps are liable to become hereditary and permanent unless special measures are taken to improve the situation of those groups, and especially to ensure that careers and other opportunities are genuinely open to their children and young people. This justifies, and indeed necessitates, special measures in favour of such groups on the part of public authorities, with an appropriate allocation of public resources, notably in the areas of pre-school and school education and professional training, perhaps also in active job placement, or at least in the form of relocation grants to enable such people to move to areas where their employment opportunities are better.

      15. While all the above measures are necessary, they may not be sufficient to ensure that people of different cultural, religious or geographical background will live together in genuine harmony and friendship in all the different countries and cities of Europe. There is still the danger that people of a particular background will in some places be confined, or confine themselves, to a largely separate communal existence, and that people of other communities, especially those who consider themselves as belonging to the historic or indigenous majority of a country’s population, will make false and hostile assumptions about members of minorities and immigrants or people of recent immigrant origin, based on rumour, superficial encounters or misleading reports and statements in the media. Research and election results in many parts of Europe have shown that such prejudices and misconceptions are more prevalent in areas where there are relatively few actual members of the groups in question, or where different “communities” lead a largely separate existence, and less common in areas where people have everyday contact with members of other groups, and opportunities to work with and get to know them. We believe, therefore, that among the most important ways in which Europeans of different background can be helped to live together are those which, particularly at city and local level, bring members of different groups into close and constructive contact. Only when we know each other as individual fellow-citizens, colleagues and friends, rather than at second hand through images and stereotypes, can we truly be said to “live together”.

      16. Freedom of expression lies at the heart of a free society, and is a fundamental human right. Under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the exercise of this right “carries with it duties and responsibilities”, and therefore “may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary”. Devout believers in a religion can be deeply hurt, or feel that their identity or their community is being victimised, if the religion in question, its founder or its sacred symbols are subjected to public ridicule or vilification. Freedom of expression should therefore be exercised responsibly and with due consideration for such feelings, particularly in the mass media. But it is not the province of the law or the public authorities to enforce such consideration.

     

      17. We do, however, consider it very important that public statements tending to build or reinforce public prejudice against members of any group – and particularly members of minorities, immigrants or people of recent migrant origin – should not be left unanswered. We believe that all citizens, and especially those in positions of authority or enjoying privileged access to the public ear, have an obligation to condemn racial or religious abuse, and to refute misleading generalisations or stereotypes, wherever they may encounter them. If the battle for public opinion does not belong mainly in the law courts, it must be fought where it does belong, namely in the media and public debate.

Note: We recognise that there are contexts in which the application of these principles is not self-evident. There is still the question of how far, in making the law, states should take account of the particular views, beliefs or traditions of minority groups. On such matters the citizens of each democracy must decide where to draw the line. Opinions may legitimately differ, and on at least one such issue – whether women (or men for that matter) should be allowed to appear in public with their face fully covered – even the members of our Group were unable to agree.

B. Main actors for change

In this section we identify particular sectors of society and institutions, which we believe have the capacity to change the way people in Europe think about each other, and so enable them to live together better.

1. Educators

While our immediate knowledge of other groups is often derived from mass media, our basic preconceptions about them and the way we assimilate or react to new information will often have been fixed early in life. Clearly the family environment can be decisive here, and the responsibility of parents in passing on attitudes to their children is very great. But so is that of more formal education.

Education has an obvious and essential role in preparing people – especially newcomers, and, among them, especially women and children – to find jobs and otherwise participate in society. Beyond that, however, it should equip them with knowledge about the role and working of societal institutions and regulations, as well as the norms and values that form the binding element in the functioning of society. Failures in this respect are easily transmitted from one generation to the next. Therefore, it is essential that those who face difficulties within the school system – underachievers and those who risk becoming drop-outs or delinquents – receive special attention.

According to the Council of Europe’s 2008 White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, “Living together as equals in dignity”,21 in order to live together in peace people need skills or “competences” which are not automatically acquired, but if they are to be maintained for life, they need to be taught and practised from an early age. School teachers obviously have a vital role to play in helping children develop these skills, but informal education and life-long educational programmes can also play an important role in sustaining them, as well as helping adults who have missed out on this aspect of full-time education.

This is particularly important for migrants or members of minorities (including those of recent migrant origin), who often badly need appropriate education to help them become more successful and more active participants in society. And the most urgent need of all is to improve the integration of newly-arrived children of migrants into the education system, by providing them with adequate language skills at a pre-school level, preparing them for a successful transition from school to the labour market as they approach school-leaving age, and helping them overcome the difficulties they face when living in segregated or disadvantaged areas.22

Pen portraits23

La mallette des parents
La mallette des parents24 is an interesting experiment carried out in secondary schools in Créteil (on the outskirts of Paris) by the “J-Pal” laboratory at the Paris School of Economics. The object was to show how results attained by pupils could improve when their parents were more involved. Two sets of classes, with more than 5 000 pupils in each group, were chosen by lot and compared throughout the school year 2008-09. In one set, the parents were invited to meetings with the team of teachers. Interpreters were provided for those who did not speak French. These meetings dealt with the way the school worked and the best way to help the children interact with the teachers. Three to five meetings were organised during the year, so that only a small investment was required (about €1 500 per year for each school), but the effect was very striking: more parents made appointments to talk to individual teachers, more signed up to join parents’ associations, and the children were kept under better parental control. A definite improvement in pupils’ behaviour was noted: less absenteeism, fewer suspensions, fewer formal warnings, more pupils congratulated for good work. This effect was noticeable both among the children whose parents had spontaneously volunteered for the experiment and for those drawn in because the programme was made part of the class curriculum. The programme, evaluated by an independent team of researchers, was so successful that the following year it was decided to extend it to all secondary schools in France over a period of three years.

Council of Europe Youth Peace Camps
Since 2004 the Council of Europe’s annual Youth Peace Camps25 have brought together young people from different regions which are still experiencing, or have just emerged from, acute conflicts, for a week-long training course on conflict resolution, human rights education and intercultural dialogue. In recent years, participants have included young people from the different communities of Kosovo;26 Israel and the territories under the Palestinian Authority; the northern and southern parts of Cyprus; and Armenia and Azerbaijan. In practically all these cases, participants met their peers from “across the community divide” for the first time in their life, in a peaceful, protected environment. By bringing together youth activists from conflict or post-conflict regions and inviting them to discuss their own experience, perceptions and aspirations, the camps set a dynamic process in motion, and make a valuable contribution to democratic and community development. Participants undergo a very intensive learning process in a very short time. They find themselves obliged to see “the other” – a member of a community perceived previously as hostile or even life-threatening – as a fellow human being with similar aspirations and expectations. Letting go of stereotypes under these circumstances is painful and can be destabilising. A very careful, sensitive educational approach is essential.

2. Mass media

Thirty years ago the political scientist Benedict Anderson coined the phrase “imagined communities” as the title of his influential work on nationalism. It is indeed true that any society much larger than a family or a small village needs to be in large part “imagined” by its members, since it is not possible for more than a fraction of them to know each other personally. This means that in relating to our fellow citizens, and to many of those whom we call – perhaps metaphorically – our neighbours, we rely on indirect ways of knowing who they are, how they behave and what they think. We receive this information mainly through the mass media. Therefore the mass media, and those who work in them, have an overwhelming responsibility for what we know, or think we know, about the various groups of which our societies are made up. In part one, we noted how far they often fall short of that responsibility, and indeed are often responsible for creating or strengthening false but widely held assumptions made by many Europeans about groups to which they do not themselves belong.

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), what is needed is to find new ways of instilling and embedding the first principles of journalism in the culture of modern media. The IFJ summarises these principles as:

    “1. Truth Telling – an addiction to factual accuracy, checking and rechecking; the skill of anticipating the possibility of error; establishing authenticity through questioning; being ready to admit and correct mistakes; recognising that underlying truths can only be revealed by rigorous research, in-depth interviews and good understanding of the issues.

    2. Independent and Fair – stories that are complete, without suppression of significant facts; striving to avoid bias; rejecting pejorative terms; allowing space for valid and reasonable disagreement; giving those attacked space to have their say; no surrender to the seductive influence of commercial or political interests.

    3. Humanity and Solidarity – doing no direct, intentional damage to others; minimising harm; being open-minded and thoughtful; having due regard for the rights of the public and the moral quality of journalism itself.”

Pen portraits

The Romedia Foundation
Since 2006 the Romedia Foundation,27 supported by the Open Society Institute and in co-operation with the Hungarian satellite TV channels, delivers a short documentary each month showing Roma communities, each time from a different country. This is the only news documentary series about Roma running on a mainstream TV channel anywhere in Europe.

With these short films, the foundation has been able to provide viewers with much new information about Roma communities, and a different narrative from that provided by the mainstream media, which tend to mention the Roma only in the context of crime, and whose journalists seldom take the time to visit the Roma communities or investigate the essence of their situation. The foundation tries to make itself the voice of these people by visiting different countries, going to the settlements and asking Roma people about possible solutions to their problems.

The foundation sends its films to media festivals, and organises screenings all around Europe. In 2009, it was nominated for the European Civic Award of the European Parliament, and it has also won awards at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival (2008), and twice at the International Festival of Audiovisual Programmes (FIPA). All its films are available on the Internet, but they are not often broadcast on major European channels. “We lack a big country to lobby for us, or strong political support from someone with a voice in this game”, the foundation’s director, Katalin Bársony, told the Group. In the past three years, she has entered and listened to Roma communities in about 30 Council of Europe member states. She describes her work as “a daily fight to be able to distribute our objective journalism because mainstream media are not open to this new narrative”. She suggested that an effort is needed to monitor regular entertainment and soap operas to see whether, and how, they are presenting minorities (this has been done successfully in the US, and to some extent in the UK). She also stressed that it is important to convince people at the top of the TV bureaucracies – directors, senior officers and people organising high-level media festivals.

The Rapid Response Media Mechanism
The Rapid Response Media Mechanism (RRMM)28 implemented by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations aims to show that through balanced news coverage, analysis and debate, journalists and editors can play a positive role in reducing cross-cultural tensions, and allow for a broad diversity of voices to be heard on divisive issues. The mechanism has three components:
1. Providing journalists with access to a network of individuals who can speak on divisive cross-cultural issues (such as the Danish cartoons or the Pope’s remarks on Islam) with a level of knowledge and discernment that helps improve mutual understanding. This is done through an online database of experts that contains profiles and interviews of experts on multiple issues, including globalisation, integration, law and so forth.
2. Providing media training to the above experts in order to better prepare them for radio, television and press interviews.
3. Generating, translating and placing op-eds and statements from experts in times of cross-cultural crises. In collaboration with civil society partners and media organisations, the alliance produces op-eds signed by global experts and high-profile personalities, and places them in international and regional media outlets.

3. Employers and trade unions

We noted in the first part of this report that it is when they are legally, socially and economically excluded or marginalised that members of minorities, including immigrants and their descendants, are most likely to become objects of fear and resentment among other members of society; and that such fear and resentment is often reflected in discrimination against them in the labour market, while exclusion itself renders them more vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace, against which they have little or no means of redress. While the remedy for this lies partly in the hands of the law and of public authorities – who should take stronger measures to prevent all citizens and residents against discrimination and exploitation – an important responsibility falls also on employers and fellow employees, who should obey the law without waiting to be coerced, and should treat fellow human beings fairly and humanely whatever the law may say. Trade unions can also play an important role in helping undocumented workers, by providing advice and legal assistance for claims of non-payment of wages, exploitation, abuse, accidents at the work place and so forth.

4. Civil society

Research both in and beyond Europe29 has shown that ethnic conflict is less common, or more easily contained, where there are strong civil society groups bringing together people from different communities. Such groups can range from trade unions and professional associations to sports clubs, charities and voluntary bodies working to solve local problems, help the elderly or infirm, or improve the neighbourhood in any number of ways. They are important because they form bridges across ethnic and cultural divisions, ensuring that in each community there are significant numbers of people, often playing leadership roles, who are in touch with members of other communities. These people are thus in a position to set the record straight when there are misleading reports or rumours about their own community, and to verify reports on others – refuting them where necessary or setting them in context. Such ethnically mixed associations are usually not successful when organised “top-down” by official or state-sponsored bodies, but much more so when genuinely voluntary and growing up from the grassroots.

Thus the role of various civil society actors in answering all the questions considered in this report – the challenges to open and diverse societies, the difficulties of “living together”, and the future of European values – is more important than is generally recognised by the major decision and opinion makers in Europe. Civil society is often setting the agenda of public debates about various aspects of these challenges: from official treatment of asylum seekers and other people of migrant background to responses to hate speech, xenophobic and extreme right-wing policies. Civil society facilitates horizontal and vertical communication among various communities, and is also often better equipped than state institutions to detect and report on major violations of individual human and civil rights. Civil society groups very often provide services for the most vulnerable and the most frequent victims of discrimination. And civil society mobilises public opinion for intercultural dialogue on various levels, from national to neighbourhood. Yet all these activities are under permanent threat if policy makers only pay lip service to civil society’s role, and then go on to ignore it in practice. Who will mobilise people for genuine inclusion at the grassroots level, if not civil society organisations and initiatives? Who will start to discuss unpopular issues – those which do not win votes in elections – if not civil society actors (working with and through responsible, serious mass media)? Who will help citizens of migrant origin to express themselves, if their civic actions and organisations are not taken seriously? Who will build partnership with those organisations, if not their counterparts from the local population? Who will advocate and mobilise for diversity and for basic European values, if civil society is not understood and accepted as a fully-fledged partner in addressing the future of the European project?

Pen portraits

Bielany Cultural Centre
The Bielany Cultural Centre30 in northwest Warsaw is a good example of measures aimed at improving integration at local level through a local public cultural institution. Several years ago it started a series of events called Poznajemy kulturę i obyczaje innych narodów (“Let’s get to know the culture and customs of other nations”). These events currently take place every two months and are organised by the various local communities. Participation is free and all are welcome. The events include lectures, films, artistic performances, orientation courses on the culture and civilisation of selected countries, meetings with diplomats, artists, travellers, and photography and art exhibitions.
The main aim of organising these events is to ensure that people from different communities learn more about each other by becoming acquainted with differences and similarities, as well as cultural specifics, and eliminate and deconstruct common stereotypes such as the “cold Swede” or “phlegmatic Englishman”. There is no censorship or preference for one country over another. “We meet with everyone, even when it may appear to be controversial.” Soon after the evening on South Korea, one on North Korea was organised. After a Cuban evening there was a Colombian one. China was a guest, and a few months later so was a group demanding Tibet’s independence. The Israeli evening (held at a time when conflict was escalating in the Middle East) went ahead even though the institution was surrounded by a cordon of security guards. At the Iranian meeting, discussions on discrimination against women carried on till late in the night. Such heated but peaceful confrontations gave many participants a chance to improve their knowledge of each other, and of the complex modern world.

Fraternal Association of European Roma Law Enforcement Officers
The Fraternal Association of European Roma Law Enforcement Officers (Faerleo)31 was set up in Budapest in 2006, with the support of the Open Society Institute, the Hungarian Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement and the British and US National Black Police Associations. It was initiated by Hungarian police officers of Roma and non-Roma origin, but actively supported from the start by law enforcement representatives from six European countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. Others are expected to follow.
The association directly helps combat discrimination, but also fosters the education and employment of Roma and improvement of their housing conditions, and gives them a chance to break out of poverty by joining the law enforcement professions. It promotes equal opportunities in the law enforcement agencies of Hungary and other European countries, and aims to:

    · reduce mutual prejudice between law enforcement agencies and Roma communities;
    · increase the number of staff of Roma origin in law enforcement agencies;
    · improve the life and service conditions of current Roma staff members, and help overcome their identity problems;
    · mediate in Roma-police conflicts;
    · reduce prejudice against the Roma in majority societies, thereby fostering integration of the Roma minority at both national and European levels;
    · support Roma participation in national and international law enforcement training courses;
    · collect best practices from police all over Europe.

Hope not hate – Searchlight’s campaign to counter racism and fascism32
Searchlight magazine has appeared monthly since 1975 and is the first port of call for activists, journalists, politicians and academics seeking information on organised racism in Britain.
Searchlight’s “Hope not hate” campaign mobilises everyone opposed to the “politics of hate” promoted by the British National Party (BNP) and English Defence League (EDL). It was formed in 2005 as a positive antidote to the BNP and has the support of the Daily Mirror, trade unions, celebrities and community groups across the country.
Its supporters believe in localised campaigning, working within communities – for example by going into pubs and joining in or striking up conversations – where organised racists are attracting support. They try to build relationships, give confidence to those who dislike racism and empower communities to provide a more positive alternative to the politics of despair. They both challenge the myths and lies put out by the BNP and their ilk and also positively mobilise those people who are opposed to racism. Searchlight wants to make sure that people know the full story about who the BNP and EDL are and what they really stand for.

Group 484
Group 48433 is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) founded in 1995 to support the organisation of 484 refugee families who had found refuge in Serbia after fleeing Operation Storm of the Croatian Army in Krajina. Since then, it has worked in more than 70 towns in Serbia and provided support and assistance to over 100 000 beneficiaries. Direct assistance has gradually given way to educational and research work aimed at influencing decision makers. Group 484 also works with migrants, local residents – especially young people, organisations and individuals who share its values to build a society of equal opportunities where diversity and equal rights are respected. For instance, through the programme “We and the Others”, young people have been encouraged to gather objects and materials from their fellow citizens and cultural institutions, especially those showing that “newcomers” and representatives of different ethnic groups had brought with them something that enriched the community. They have gathered information about the life of ordinary people, as well as the everyday life of historical personages – doing the research in archives and museums, but also in their families and neighbourhood, writing down the stories of their elderly fellow citizens, going though old family photographs and drawers, and reading old books and newspapers.


5. Churches and religious groups

Where intolerance and discrimination are manifested on religious grounds, religious groups and leaders have a particular responsibility to combat them. This applies not only to those who represent the faith professed (at least nominally) by the majority – in most parts of Europe, Christian churches – but also, no less importantly, those who represent (and may provide spiritual guidance to) the victims. Many churches in Europe – including notably, since the second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church – have made an effort to engage representatives of other faiths in dialogue, and on some issues have made common cause with them against trends in society and in government policy which they see as materialistic and “Godless”. At the same time, some representatives of minority faiths – notably Islam – have sought to promote liberal and modern views within their own community, both for their own sake and in order to refute prevalent stereotypes and misconceptions among the wider society.

Pen portraits

Connecting European Dynamic Achievers and Role Models – European Muslim Professionals Network (Cedar)
It is a moot point whether Cedar34 should be described as a religious organisation or not.35 It describes itself as a “major civil society initiative”, but also as “Europe’s first Muslim professionals’ network”. Thus, even though it has no specifically religious activities, it brings together people identified by their religion, and seeks to correct both the negative images of Islam prevalent in the wider European society and the identity crisis which affects many European Muslims and renders some of them vulnerable to extremist or fundamentalist ideologies.
Founded in 2008 at a conference hosted by the Salzburg Global Seminar, Cedar aims to represent a growing generation of successful young Muslim professionals in Europe, and to bolster their influence within wider professional, political and social networks. It also facilitates its members’ engagement as role models and mentors with youth in marginalised communities, thus expanding pathways to career opportunities and development for the next generation.
This “network of networks” facilitates a series of projects in order to:

      · support professional development among members of the network and wider Muslim communities;
      · raise aspirations and increase access to career opportunities for marginalised young Muslims, through mentoring schemes and targeted training;
      · increase the visibility of successful Muslim professionals within the wider European mainstream, and as prominent role models within local communities;
      · turn ideas into action by becoming a platform for the development of significant social enterprises and business ventures that will empower European Muslims through innovations in information technology, business/finance, media, culture and politics/policy.

6. Celebrities and “role models”

While educators and the media have the biggest responsibility for forming public attitudes, and the role of voluntary groups in bringing people of different faith or culture together in their neighbourhoods and workplaces is crucially important, we have to face the fact that a significant part of society, perhaps especially among the young, remains largely beyond the reach of the various groups mentioned above. Many children and young people slip through the education system unconvinced, or – especially once they reach adolescence – react against it. While some may become involved in labour, civil society or religious groups, many remain apathetic, or are even liable to join xenophobic groups – in search of excitement, or an outlet for feelings of insecurity and aggression. Such people will easily “tune out” any high-minded messages directed at them by political or religious leaders, but they are very often passionate followers of sport, rock music or other forms of popular entertainment.

Individuals who are prominent in these areas receive intensive media coverage, including for their activities and statements outside the specific field in which they excel, and few world leaders can refuse the chance to share the media spotlight with them. Thus such celebrities have a unique opportunity to reach an audience that others cannot, and are often also to win pledges of support from national leaders for a campaign. And those who themselves come from minorities or from an immigrant background have a dual opportunity: they can both act as role models for other members of those groups, showing that the effort of integration is worth making, and improve the image of their group in the eyes of the wider majority or “host” society, by showing that people from that group can indeed make a valuable, even spectacular, contribution if given the chance to do so.

Pen portraits

Fatih Akın German film director
Fatih Akın36 was born in 1973 in Hamburg to parents of Turkish origin. In Akın’s cinema, the lives of German Turks, including their struggles and their confusion about two different cultures, are a recurring theme. In Head-On (Gegen die Wand, 2004), two different cultures are presented: the conservative Muslim and Turkish views of Sibel’s family (Sibel is played by Sibel Kekilli), and Sibel’s own open ideas about sex. Cahit (Biral Ünel), the male lead, is presented as a mixture of these two ideas and cultures, representing a struggling Turk. In 2007 The edge of heaven, a German-Turkish cross-cultural tale of loss, mourning and forgiveness (original German title: Auf der anderen Seite, Turkish title: Yaşamın Kıyısında), won the prize for best screenplay at the 60th Cannes Film Festival. Akın himself has never denied his Turkish roots, and even accepted the Cannes award in the name of Turkish cinema.

Andrei Arshavin – Russian footballer
Andrei Arshavin37 plays for the English Premier League team Arsenal and captains the Russian national team. He was one of many celebrities to back the Council of Europe “Speak out against discrimination” campaign: “I want everyone to support the campaign against discrimination,” Arshavin declared, adding that: “Football gives every player the opportunity to express his or her talent and contribute to the team, regardless of race, religion or social origin. It is also a sport which gives every player the chance to compete on the basis of ability. This is how life should be.”
Arshavin’s endorsement confirmed Arsenal’s reputation as a club active in the fight against bigotry and prejudice. (Club manager Arsène Wenger had already declared his support for the Council of Europe’s campaign).

Famile Arslan – Dutch lawyer
The Group learned about the above-mentioned Cedar from a member of its management board, whose website describes her as “the first lawyer in the Netherlands to wear a hijab”. She told us that her family had moved to the Netherlands from Turkey when she was a small child. She had been educated as a Dutch citizen, but found that Dutch society considered her a Turk, and later became more aware of her Muslim identity. “I personally feel that my identity is plural. When I was young, Islam was only one part of my identity and I could not imagine that one day I would be more radical and orthodox than my family from eastern Turkey. This is partly as a result of my life in Europe, so I would like to thank Europe for this.” Ms Arslan came to Istanbul to meet the Group, and told us that when she fastened her seat-belt in the taxi coming from the airport, the driver had said, “Ah, I see you’re from Europe”.38

Cem Özdemir – German politician

Cem Özdemir,39 co-chair of the Green Party/Die Grünen (Germany), is the first party leader in Germany to come from an immigrant background and has become the de facto expert on immigration and integration issues for his party. Özdemir was born in Bad Urach, Swabia, in 1957. His parents came to work in Germany as Gastarbeiter, or guest workers. The implication of the term was that these people were only temporarily in Germany, and would return in due course to their homeland. Even those who were born and grew up in Germany were not seen as Germans, but as Turks.

Today, people are starting to realise that there is more than one kind of German. The problems are not yet solved, as Özdemir himself points out: “There are some Germans who feel that somebody who is called Cem Özdemir cannot be a German.” He says he faces problems on both sides: “There are some on the Turkish side who say, if you are called Cem Özdemir, you must be the Turks’ man. You must only represent the Turks. I don’t like this thinking in ethnic terms.”

When Özdemir’s parents’ generation came to work in Germany, they kept up their own language and traditions. For them, being both Turkish and German would have been inconceivable. But that is now changing. Özdemir’s hairdresser, Canan Ozgün, grew up in Turkey and Germany, and feels at home in both countries, like many Berliners in their 20s and 30s. She notes how much things have changed: “From my parents, I know how things were 20 years ago. They were only here as guest workers, in hard jobs. Now, Turks and other foreigners have become employers, too. Cem Özdemir shows Germans that one can be integrated into German society.”

Lilian Thuram – French footballer

Lilian Thuram, born in Guadeloupe (French Antilles) in 1972, is the football player who has played the most games with the French national team. He has also played for some of the best clubs in Europe – Monaco, Parma FC, Juventus and FC Barcelona. He is an adviser to France’s Haut Conseil à l’intégration (High Commission for the Integration of Immigrants), a position which allows him to come to the defence of his fellow players when they are victims of racist attacks, and was a guest speaker at a Council of Europe sport seminar on “Sport and discrimination: the media perspective” in 2008. In the same year, he also set up the Lilian Thuram Foundation: “Education against Racism”.40

Tomi Ungerer – Alsatian artist

Tomi Ungerer,41 the internationally-known artist from Alsace, was appointed Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador for Childhood and Education in October 2000. In his children’s books such as Flix, Otto and the small blue cloud, and also in many of his drawings, Ungerer makes notable efforts to promote tolerance and introduce children to the idea of human rights.

7. Towns and cities

Throughout history, towns and cities have been the main sites of human diversity, where people of different geographical background and culture came together and lived side by side. They are places where goods and ideas are exchanged, and this has always been the main motor of human economic and cultural progress. Latin and the languages derived from it are not the only ones in which the words for “city”, “citizen”, “civil” and “civilisation” are all related to each other.

Today, towns and cities are also where a large majority of Europeans live. So it is there that the main encounters happen between people of different faith, or culture, or ethnic identity. While debates about “multiculturalism” are carried on at the national or European level, it is in Europe’s towns and cities that the reality of culturally diverse societies is lived day by day, with all its excitement and creativity, and all its problems. A sense of place is a vital element in identity formation – and this can include the place where people live now, as well as the one they are from. By helping define the place, civic leaders can also help each resident to define her or his identity.

A special responsibility falls, therefore, on both the elected and the professional officials who govern towns and cities at the local level. National leaders may set the legal framework for their actions, and to some extent define the terms of debate. But it is the mayors and city or district councils, working with the various voluntary groups mentioned above, who have to deal with the issues as they arise. In the last resort it is often their wisdom, or lack of it, that determines whether or not people in a given area can live together successfully, without conflict or unmanageable stress.

Cities bear the main responsibility for ensuring that culturally diverse societies are open societies, in which people belonging to different cultural groups, including those who are perceived as recent arrivals or temporary residents, can feel at home and make their own contribution, in their own way, to the city’s overall social cohesion. Thus local and regional authorities have a key role to play in the process of building harmonious relations between different community groups, and reducing tensions which often arise along ethnic, religious or cultural fault lines. “Living together” means interaction, and if this is to happen peacefully and fruitfully in diverse communities there must be dialogue between members of different ethnic, religious and cultural groups. It is necessarily a two-way exercise: the majority population has to accept the minorities, while they have to accept certain local “rules of the game” and responsibilities which may be new to them. This process of mutual adjustment can involve friction and difficulties, which local and regional authorities have to face.

Participation of foreign residents in local life and politics

The right of foreign residents to vote in local elections is generally a matter for national legislation. But it should be noted here that the 1992 Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level aims to ensure that foreign residents who are legally resident in a territory, rather than being excluded from local public life, are recognised as valuable partners in a functioning local democracy. This can improve relations between foreign residents and other sectors of the community (political authorities, administrative bodies and “natives”), thereby benefiting not only foreign residents but the whole of society. Democracy begins at the local level, and true local democracy requires the participation of all residents of the community.

Pen portraits

Neuchâtel
The Canton of Neuchâtel42 in the French-speaking part of Switzerland has about 170 000 inhabitants of whom 40 000 are foreigners. In Switzerland, immigration is feared by many “indigenous” citizens who see it as likely to dilute their national values and see immigrants as unlikely to be loyal to their adopted country. So now the canton is proposing a charter of citizenship and civil values which are explained to newcomers.
Neuchâtel has built a solid legal and operational foundation for its integration policy, including:

    · an Office of the Commissioner for Foreigners whose 11 staff are all of foreign ethnic origin or nationality and speak between them many of the 95 languages present in the community;
    · a Committee for the Integration of Foreigners, with 40 members, which functions as a consultative body for the Conseil d’Etat (cantonal government).

The canton encourages, but does not force, residents to learn French. Language learning is seen as a result of social and cultural integration, not a condition for it – and this approach works. In a 2007 referendum the majority of citizens decided to give voting rights to all residents – showing that foreigners are regarded more positively than before. This can partly be explained by the nine-month Neuchàtoi (“Neuchâtel is yours”) campaign the previous year, which had great success in attracting 260 000 people to activities such as theatre shows, events in schools, film projections, exotic meals in local restaurants, radio and TV broadcasts, a book with poems and articles by journalists, thematic exhibitions, conferences and debates, poster campaigns, and press conferences.
The overall employment situation in the canton is satisfactory, thanks partly to the economic dynamism of the region, but also to relentless efforts by the authorities in favour of workers’ integration, which is the focus of several local projects.
Schools take part in the integration effort, for instance by organising adaptation classes with an accelerated French language programme, for which they can request support from the canton’s “intercultural mediation” service. Information sessions are organised for parents, and there is a “youth in transition” class for pupils beyond compulsory school age who need to improve their language skills before continuing regular education.
The Service du Délégué aux Etrangers offers a mediation service to individuals or groups who request it (and sometimes even when they don’t). This plays an active role in negotiation between parties involved in specific conflicts. It works through non-salaried mediators and interpreters, and a centre for consultations in the mother tongue.
All this may have something to do with the fact that Neuchâtel was one of four cantons in Switzerland to vote against the ban on minarets in 2009.

Reggio-Emilia
Reggio-Emilia an affluent city in north-central Italy (Emilia-Romagna), has a higher proportion of foreign residents in its population than any other Italian city. Its current public policy priorities are: training to support intercultural integration; social cohesion; improving qualifications; and cultural services. These policies are intended to give citizens access to a range of cultural opportunities, thus promoting a growth model that avoids social exclusion and gives everyone equal access to goods and services. Thanks to these policies, Reggio-Emilia has gained a reputation as an “open, safe and collaborative city”. Its educational policies encourage a positive approach to diversity among young people, and explain how stereotypes and prejudices that may lead to discriminatory behaviour are formed. In the sphere of housing the city has formed a Local Framework Pact with its various neighbourhoods. A civil society and social services working group is focusing its effort on children’s issues, having proposed a children’s parliament as a flagship trial project. Through annual Mondinpiazza festivals and a sports event, “Due calci al razzismo” (“two kicks to racism”), the city encourages collaboration between municipal operators, local associations, citizens, artists, various minority communities, the police force, Italian and/or foreign women, individuals with disabilities, local administrators, secondary-school pupils and so forth. Particular progress has been achieved in making the healthcare system more accessible to the Chinese community. The six hospitals around Reggio all benefit from an intercultural mediation service, with a detailed strategy and action plan as well as published information on the service’s performance. There is also a project, in collaboration with the local health authorities, to improve linguistic and cultural relations between foreign citizens and health services. Basic Italian language courses are provided for mothers of children attending primary schools, to offer initial language support and good communication with the school. There are also summer events to teach Italian to secondary-school pupils whose knowledge of the language is weak.

Subotica
Subotica is a multiethnic city in northern Serbia (Vojvodina). In 1999 the suburb of Pescara had 5 000 inhabitants of Hungarian, Croatian, Serbian, Bosniac and Bunjevac ethnic backgrounds, and just a dozen Roma, when more than 500 Roma arrived there from Kosovo*. Problems began when it became clear that they had settled on the land (which was very cheap in the area) and did not want to return. In February 2006, 147 non-Roma inhabitants of Pescara signed a complaint against the newcomers and their everyday behaviour. The director of the Roma Educational Centre in Subotica called a joint meeting of representatives of all the citizens from Pescara, local government, the police, the Centre for Social Work, the local school, and the local health centre. They agreed that the Roma should address the problems the petitioners were worried about, such as late night gatherings of Roma youth, loud music, etc. At the same time they all agreed to form the nine-member Commission on Interethnic Relations (still active today), and concluded that the major problem of the whole settlement was lack of a proper road. With a grant of €1 000 from Save the Children, support from the city authorities and voluntary labour by all the citizens (Roma and non-Roma alike), they finished the road and celebrated it at both city and neighbourhood level.
Roma remain involved in the commissions dealing with social, educational and inter-ethnic issues in Pescara, and are now well integrated in the life of the community. The local elementary school has more than 100 Roma pupils, more than 90% of whom are children of the Roma from Kosovo* – whereas before this sequence of events the same school refused to admit even local Roma children. Today Roma parents participate in the Council of Parents, and Roma children are also included in the pre-school programme, with the help of one Roma assistant.44

Tilburg
Tillburg is a city in the south of the Netherlands with over 200 000 inhabitants, 23% of whom are of non-Dutch origin, coming from nearly 200 different countries.
Tilburg’s experience in dealing with migrants or people with a migration background is a good example of a city which for many years took a community or ethnic approach, targeting some specific migrant groups in its education, housing or security policies. But in autumn 2010, as Alderman Berend de Vries explained to the Group,45 Tilburg’s municipal council decided to abandon this policy and adopt another approach, “All Residents of Tilburg”, which instead of treating unemployment, premature school-leaving, language barriers or antisocial behaviour as ethnic problems requiring ethnic solutions, will make them the responsibility of mainstream services and institutions.
“The guiding principle behind this,” Mr de Vries added, “is that the responsibility for full participation in society is to rest with the individual citizen. This will require our mainstream institutions and agencies to become colour-blind. When a Tilburg resident of Turkish origin comes to the small business information desk, he or she should be helped as an entrepreneur and not, as occasionally happens now, given a reference to the integration service. At the same time, mainstream services and institutions also have to become more culture-sensitive. A welfare worker or homecare assistant has to acknowledge that some city residents are different from others. When efforts are made to reach and assist vulnerable groups, it is important that people with different ethnic backgrounds are also able to benefit. We will be monitoring this in a number of areas in the coming years, meaning we will also continue to consider ethnic background. In doing so, it is emphatically not the case that ethnicity is the answer, but rather that you have to acknowledge deprivation before you can create opportunities.
The new method will mainly be given concrete form in the neighbourhood approach. Three basic goals will be set for five deprived neighbourhoods: for young people to do well at school and graduate; for every household to have a breadwinner; and for residents to live above the poverty line. No distinction will be made here in terms of ethnic origin, but the focus will be squarely on the problems. The municipal council and its partners (housing corporations, welfare and health agencies) have set a timetable of 10 years to achieve these goals. We will use the Results-Based Accountability (RBA) method. When using this method you focus on the goals, and periodically monitor the effect of your interventions. If the effect is judged to be inadequate, then you modify your interventions immediately.
Tilburg’s official statement of its intercultural policy: “Each resident of Tilburg, regardless of his or her background, forms part of the community of the city of Tilburg, shoulders the responsibility to maintain the quality of life of this city, and works at it. At the same time we admit and appreciate the diversity of the people and groups in the city, because we are all residents of Tilburg.”

8. Member states

All the actors listed above operate below the level of the sovereign nation-state, and to be effective they need to be genuinely independent and self-motivated. Yet they can also benefit from, and will often need, financial and moral support from national governments, and it is generally at national level that the legal framework for integration is set. It is therefore vital that national authorities have integration strategies in place, and be ready to take specific measures where needed. These strategies should include measures to do all of the following:

    a. bring communities together;
    b. use education to promote awareness of cultural and religious diversity;
    c. give special assistance to those with socio-economic disadvantages;
    d. remedy educational disadvantages;
    e. teach immigrants and their children the national language, while enabling them also to maintain or attain proficiency in their language of origin;
    f. help with job placement;
    g. extend voting rights and citizenship to the maximum number of residents;
    h. adopt more humane policies towards undocumented migrants and asylum seekers.

9. European and international institutions

Many intergovernmental institutions, at both European and global level, are concerned with issues covered by this report. Among them are the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations, particularly through its Alliance of Civilisations. But the two which have a decisive role to play in helping Europeans to live together are the European Union and, especially through its Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe.

Over the last two decades the European Union has played an increasingly important role in co-ordinating the migration and asylum policies of its member states, especially those adhering to the Treaty of Schengen, which have dismantled passport and visa controls at their internal borders. Both the Commission and the European Council46 have adopted numerous policy documents on migration, inclusion, integration and citizenship over the years. Yet member states can still not be said to have agreed on a fully comprehensive strategy in any of these areas. Efforts to achieve one on Roma inclusion have intensified since the autumn of 2010, when several west European states resorted to large-scale expulsions of Roma who had migrated from eastern to western Europe since their home countries became EU members in 2004 and 2007. The Commission’s “Europe 2020” Strategy has already set targets for member states in two areas: education (90% of Roma children to finish primary school) and employment (75% of working-age Roma to get jobs). On 6 April 2011 Viviane Reding, the EU Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Commissioner, imposed an eight-month deadline on member states to come up with their national plans on this issue, and in June the Commission is expected to present a new Communication on Integration.

As for the Council of Europe, which commissioned our report, fighting all forms of discrimination and promoting diversity and mutual understanding form the core of its mission and activities. It has a whole range of bodies and departments designed for that purpose, including the Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).47 Its most important, and indeed unique, institution is, however, the European Court of Human Rights,48 which interprets and applies the European Convention on Human Rights and deals with complaints brought against contracting states either by other contracting states or by individual applicants. About 800 million individuals and 47 states fall within the scope of the Convention and thus the jurisdiction of the Court.

Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by the Court in recent years has been the need to balance diversity and unity, and to reconcile the universal principles and standards embodied in the Convention with the cultures and traditions of increasingly diverse European societies. It is however firmly established in the statements of the Court that practices amounting to human rights abuses can never be justified by invoking culture, religion, tradition or custom. 49

Recent judgments of the Court have established important principles in the following areas relevant to the theme of this report.

Freedom of religion

There has been a noticeable increase over the last 10 years in the number of cases concerning this right. In particular, the regulation of religious dress has given rise to considerable controversy. As regards the internal aspect of freedom of religion, the Court has generally considered that the state may not require individuals to disclose their religious convictions.

Ethnic minorities, including Roma

The Court has refrained from giving its own definition of what constitutes a national minority. Instead, it seems to favour references to one of the characteristics of a particular minority group such as their “ethnic” identity. Generally, it has afforded indirect protection to individual members of minority groups by referring to the principle of respect for democratic pluralism and through the provisions of the Convention prohibiting discrimination. The Court has also recognised that ethnic identity is an essential element pertaining to the identity of an individual; and has accepted the right of persons belonging to minorities to form associations in order to promote their culture and consciousness as a minority.

The Court has also recognised the particular vulnerability of Roma people, and has often upheld complaints brought by Roma applicants in different areas. In particular, it has confirmed that the state is obliged to investigate and prosecute persons who commit violence against Roma, whether they are private actors or state officials. It has also reaffirmed that school segregation of Romani children (in schools for children with disabilities and in separate schools or classes in mainstream schools) constitutes illegal discrimination.

Religious minorities

Protection of religious minorities generally involves the same rights as that of ethnic minorities and Roma people. The most pressing issue, however, concerns the manifestation of one’s beliefs. In addition to the issue of religious dress mentioned above, the display of religious symbols in classrooms of a state school has been very controversial.50

In some cases concerning convictions for inciting hatred against Muslim communities and immigrants, the Court has recognised a wide margin of appreciation for states in assessing the need for interference with a person’s freedom of expression, given the varying scale of the problems they confront in the context of their policies towards communities of recent migrant origin and the need to maintain public order. In some other judgments the Court has insisted that it is crucial for politicians, when expressing themselves in public, to avoid comments that might foster intolerance.

The challenges of immigration

The vast majority of the Court’s case law on “migrants” can be broadly divided into two groups of cases. The first concerns situations where the applicants claim that expulsion will expose them to torture or ill-treatment. This will often be a refugee case, where the applicant applied unsuccessfully for asylum under the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva Convention) or where refugee status has been revoked. (In this first type of case, the Court has recently been giving great weight to the special vulnerability of asylum seekers.) The second type of case concerns decisions by immigration authorities to expel, or refuse entry to, persons seeking to remain with or join other family members. In addition, there is the issue of detention pending expulsion; and also related issues of private life: denial of education where children are obliged to accompany a parent who is being expelled; discrimination, where immigration rules appear to treat some groups less favourably than others; and the problem of whether remedies allowed by national authorities for applicants claiming to be at risk of torture and ill-treatment or interference with their family lives are effective. Finally, other issues arise concerning the social rights of “migrants” and their ability to marry or have their marriage recognised.

This brief survey illustrates both the variety and complexity of the human rights issues that arise in the context of “living together”, and also the vital roles played by the Court, which is often the last line of defence for those whose rights are violated, and by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, whose essential function is to ensure that member states comply with the Court’s judgments.

C. Proposals for action

I. Strategic recommendations

    1. People who come to live in a new country, and their descendants, should not be expected to leave their faith, culture or identity behind. But, like everyone else, they must obey the law, should learn the language used by the majority of their new neighbours, and should strive to make themselves useful to the society in which they live.

    2. Since residents on the territory of a state are required to obey its laws, we believe, as a matter of fundamental democratic principle, that they should have a say in the making of those laws. All states should therefore strive to extend the full rights and obligations of citizenship, including the right to vote, to as many of their resident population as possible.

    3. We encourage all member states of the Council of Europe that have not already done so to move in the direction of a modern citizenship law, under which eligibility for citizenship is judged by civic rather than ethnic criteria.

    4. Once citizenship is granted, the rights and privileges it confers should belong equally to all.

    5. As a step towards this, non-citizens of whatever origin should be allowed to vote in local elections in any city or region where they have established residence (as is already the case for citizens of the European Union residing in a member state other than their own).

    6. We urge European leaders, at all levels and in all professions (politics, culture, media, education, civil society), to show true leadership by condemning extremist, racist, xenophobic and anti-migrant statements whenever and wherever they encounter them; and to insist that all criminal threats of violence based on racial, ethnic, religious or other grounds be systematically investigated and prosecuted, on the basis of existing domestic and international legal instruments.

    7. All citizens should be ready to condemn verbal abuse and correct distorted images of any group, wherever they encounter them. Those in positions of authority have a particular responsibility to do this, and to give wherever possible a fair and accurate account of the beliefs, culture and activities of other groups – as do those whose celebrity or profession gives them privileged access to the media and to public attention.

    8. As the current political debate in Europe is fuelled by misleading information and stereotypes about migration, we urge Council of Europe member states to give European citizens a more realistic picture of the situation of migrants and of Europe’s current and future needs in the field of migration, and to promote a better informed political discourse on migration and diversity.

    9. The authorities, the police and the courts at all levels, in all member states of the Council of Europe, must do everything in their power to ensure that immigrants (whether documented or not), people of recent migrant origin and members of minorities are protected, and that those who subject them to violence or illegal abuse or exploitation are apprehended and punished according to the law. They must also take extreme care to treat all sections of the population equally, and neither to exercise themselves, nor to tolerate on the part of any other groups or institutions, any discrimination against immigrants or members of minorities, whether in education, in employment or in allowing access to goods, lodgings, public spaces and facilities, or services. Where such access is unfairly denied to anyone on grounds of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, that person must be able to gain full and prompt redress under the law.

    10. Competent authorities at all levels should identify groups suffering from particular socio-economic disadvantages (such as disproportionately high unemployment, low levels of educational attainment and/or family income, inadequate housing) and make special efforts, with allocation of appropriate resources, to enable members of such groups, especially children and the young, to overcome these disadvantages and enjoy genuine equality of opportunity with the rest of the population.

    11. We encourage all member states that have not yet done so to improve and implement their laws against all forms of discrimination in all areas of public life, including the media. This should be backed up by solid mechanisms that are well understood by the general public and applied by governments.

    12. Since the condition of the Roma people throughout Europe is a standing reproach to the entire continent, and one of the most persistent violations by Europeans of what we like to think of as “European values”, we call on European leaders at all levels to channel the long overdue interest in their plight kindled by recent large-scale repatriations of Roma from western to eastern Europe into actions which will effectively eliminate discrimination against them.

    13. States have the right and the duty to guide and control immigration, but people who are denied the right to enter or remain do not thereby forfeit their fundamental human rights. We call on all Europeans to treat asylum seekers and migrants arriving in Europe fairly and humanely.

    14. Those further removed from the areas of arrival must be willing to play their full part in this effort. This requires solidarity and burden-sharing by member states of the European Union, and of the Council of Europe.

    15. We call on all member states of the European Union and the Council of Europe to work towards a comprehensive, coherent and transparent immigration policy, since the lack of such a policy creates acute problems, which often have to be dealt with at the local level.

    16. We recommend mediation as a tool to be used in resolving disputes at all political levels, especially the local level, and urge the authorities to make sure that an adequate number of people are trained to undertake this function.

    17. We call on all the peoples of Europe to reach out in solidarity to those in other parts of the world, particularly their neighbours in the Middle East and North Africa who are now so courageously demonstrating their attachment to universal values of freedom and democracy. We salute especially the courage and wisdom of those who have striven or are striving to achieve freedom without violence, even when threatened with extreme violence by those who would deny it to them. We therefore urge the main European institutions (Council of Europe, European Union, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) to develop comprehensive policies towards the southern and eastern Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and Central Asian countries, and to enable them, as and when they request and are able to do so, to benefit from Europe’s experience and expertise in building societies based on the rule of law, democracy and human rights, notably by participating, with an appropriate status, in European institutions and conventions. Such a policy must also allow Europeans to benefit from the experience and wisdom of their neighbours, and to better appreciate the historic and cultural legacy brought to Europe by many of those who have settled here in recent times.

II. Specific recommendations

Although this report was commissioned by the Council of Europe, we were asked to “define a new concept of ‘living together’ which could be proposed to the citizens of European societies”. Indeed, we believe that this is an effort which cannot be undertaken by any one institution, but in which all Europeans need to play their part, both through their elected representatives at all levels and through voluntary action, whether in organised bodies or as individuals. Accordingly we address these recommendations not only to the Council of Europe but to all its member states, and to local and regional authorities and civil society within them.

The recommendations are grouped under subject headings. Some are addressed specifically to the European Union. This may seem anomalous in a report commissioned by the Council of Europe, but all of the EU’s members are also members of the Council, and a process is now in train whereby the Union itself will adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights. In many policy areas covered by this report, decisions taken by the EU affect not only its own member states but also their neighbours. In the areas of migration and asylum policy, especially, it is essential that the EU should take the lead, but also that it take due account of the views and interests of other Council of Europe member states.

A. Integration of migrants and people of recent migrant origin

    18. We urge all member states to address legislative gaps, practical shortcomings and failures of implementation, particularly as regards equal access to housing, employment, education and health; and to make greater use of the findings of Council of Europe bodies (especially the European Court of Human Rights, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and the European Committee of Social Rights), in which these gaps are clearly identified; and we urge the Council of Europe to develop better indicators for measuring the success of member states’ integration policies.

    19. We urge the European Union to make full use of the European Commission’s forthcoming Communication on Integration, and of the June 2011 European Summit, to deliver a strong and clear political message to EU member states, calling on them to give their populations a full, clear and honest account of Europe’s current and future need for immigrants, and to abide by European and international norms and standards when dealing with migrant integration, asylum and irregular migration.

    20. We call on the European Union to develop a comprehensive migration policy with a sound constitutional and legal framework based on respect for and promotion of fundamental rights, as requested in the Stockholm Programme and Action Plan for the years 2010-2014 and the Europe 2020 Strategy; and in particular:

        a. to further develop the EU global approach to migration by increasing co-operation with non-EU countries;

        b. to support migration to fulfil the needs of EU countries’ labour markets;

        c. to further promote integration and the rights of migrants (as well as people of recent migrant origin);

        d. to take into account the situation of unaccompanied migrant minors and further co-operate with the Council of Europe on this issue (particularly on the basis of Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)9 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors);

        e. to establish European Economic Migration Information Offices in selected third countries, particularly those of the eastern and southern Mediterranean littoral.

    21. The Council of Europe should as a matter of priority promote its standards in this field through several European Union instruments, in the context of the Stockholm Programme and Action Plan for 2010-2014, aimed inter alia at developing a comprehensive EU policy to combat discrimination, racism and xenophobia, and to promote equality and integration.

    22. We invite the Council of Europe Development Bank to pay particular attention to supporting projects aimed at better integrating migrants in all member states.

    23. Considering that past standard-setting work in the migration field has tended to emphasise migrants’ rights, while saying less about their responsibilities, the Council of Europe should in its future standard-setting activities in this area develop guidelines addressing both rights and responsibilities, and the links between them.

B. Citizenship and voting rights

    24. We urge all member states to encourage and facilitate the acquisition of citizenship by all permanent residents on their territory; and not to treat citizenship of another state as an obstacle, disqualification or sign of disloyalty.

    25. To encourage active participation in public life at local level by all those legally resident in their jurisdiction, we urge all member states that have not yet done so to allow non-citizens who have established residence in a given city or region to vote in local and municipal elections – as is the case within the European Union for all citizens residing in a member state other than their own. This can be extended to all immigrants who have been in residence for a given period, and used as an intermediate stage on the way to full citizenship. We also call on member states that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local level (so far signed by 13 member states but ratified by only 8 of them).

    26. We urge the Council of Europe to help member states by commissioning a comparative study of the effects of different citizenship laws on the integration of immigrants, people of recent immigrant origin and minorities.

C. Asylum and humanitarian issues

    27. We call on the Council of Europe and the European Union, working closely together, to design and implement a coherent and humane asylum regime which would be applicable in the pan-European context, and to elaborate a long-term perspective for Europe in this field as well as a strategy for solidarity between states and “responsibility-sharing” between migrants and other residents or citizens, and to:

        a. ensure that all migration and asylum policies of member states are fully compatible with Council of Europe standards, in particular with its human rights instruments, notably the European Convention on Human Rights and other documents drawn on by the European Court of Human Rights, and provide member states with clear guidance on how to implement these standards in practice and increase the efficiency of their procedures when large numbers of asylum seekers arrive in one country or area in a short time;

        b. make sure that the European Union asylum framework, in the context of the review of its asylum policies initiated under the Stockholm Programme and Action Plan, does not generate risks of structural violations of the European Convention on Human Rights;

        c. consider the pertinence of new standard-setting work on the conditions of reception and detention of asylum seekers and irregular migrants, taking into account, inter alia, the Dublin II Regulation, relevant judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, and activities undertaken by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment (CPT);

        d. consider drawing up common guidelines on the treatment of irregular migrants, asylum seekers and stateless persons;

        e. consider creating a migration trust fund, similar to the existing Council of Europe Human Rights Trust Fund and financed mainly by voluntary contributions from member states, with a view to ensuring the flexibility of their work in the field of migration and making it possible to react more rapidly to emerging migration issues.

    28. We strongly urge all member states to avoid detaining asylum seekers and irregular migrants unless absolutely necessary, and to provide and make use of alternatives to detention, which could include:

        · probation with social service;
        · home detention (house arrest);
        · work permits;
        · semi detention (spending part of the day in prison);
        · restricted liberty (confinement to the city of residence);
        · release on bail.

    29. We encourage the Council of Europe to offer its experience and training tools to actors on the front line such as border guards, notably by giving expert advice to member states on how to design the powers, competencies and procedures of these “frontline authorities” in an efficient and human-rights-compatible way. For this purpose the Organisation should work together with European Union bodies such as the Malta-based European Asylum Support Office (which the European Union is currently reinforcing), the Warsaw-based Frontex and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    30. Given that parliamentarians have the right to visit detention centres, Parliamentary Assembly members could follow the lead taken by members of the European Parliament and highlight the often appalling conditions facing migrants and asylum seekers. Whilst such activities should not replace or duplicate the work of designated national monitoring instances such as ombudspersons or special officers, they could be a useful alert mechanism and a way for the Council of Europe to raise awareness of the need for procedures that are both swifter and more humane.

D. Education, youth, intercultural dialogue

    31. We urge educators and education authorities in all member states to develop “intercultural competencies” as a core element of school curricula, and to extend these beyond formal education to non-formal settings such as museums and cultural institutions, cultural events and festivals, and in particular the media; the Council of Europe should continue its work on a conceptual framework to assist this development.

    32. We recommend that member states take the necessary measures to further facilitate the mobility of students and education staff at all levels as an important means to promote intercultural education, for instance by reviewing their regulations and policies, particularly in but not limited to such areas as visa and immigration regulations, social-security regulations, and work permits for education staff (as well as for students who need to work part time to finance their studies). The Council of Europe could consider launching a specific mobility scheme for this purpose and elaborating a normative text with provisions to facilitate school and academic mobility with a view to strengthening intercultural education.

    33. We invite the Council of Europe to establish pilot projects on intercultural dialogue with a limited number of primary and secondary schools and higher education institutions in member states, and to consider creating a Council of Europe prize to be awarded to education institutions for their work in this field. The Council of Europe could also produce or commission a European handbook on the incorporation of different perspectives and “the image of the Other” in history teaching, while encouraging education authorities in Europe’s neighbouring regions, in particular the Mediterranean basin, to adopt a multi-perspective approach (to which the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe could contribute).

    34. We encourage the Council of Europe to work with member states and civil society organisations to implement its new programme entitled “Youth ambassadors for peace”, aimed at raising awareness among young people and the general public of standards and instruments of the Council of Europe, particularly in post-conflict areas; and to apply the innovative educational approach developed in the “Youth peace camps” programme to other contexts of conflicts involving young people, for instance in the context of young Roma and municipal authorities, or young inhabitants of disadvantaged urban areas and law-enforcement officers.

    35. We recommend the creation of a regular process of follow-up or assessment of the development of intercultural dialogue in Council of Europe member states (in the form of a European Forum every three years or a European report) with the 2008 White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue as a reference; a “junior” edition of the White Paper for use in primary and secondary schools, as well as in youth work, could be considered; Building upon the Exchanges on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue, the Council of Europe and member states should also design a stable and recognised platform to improve their relations with high-level representatives of religions and non-denominational organisations and further co-operate with the OSCE Personal Representatives of the Chairperson-in-Office responsible for promoting greater tolerance and combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

E. Media

    36. We encourage journalists and media professionals to exercise special care not to disseminate myths and stereotypes about members of particular ethnic or religious groups, and to ensure that members of such groups are given the chance to express their own views and give their own version of the story; and with this in mind we invite the Council of Europe to organise regular encounters involving the main European media networks, with a view to further implementing the Council of Europe recommendations on training, ethical and content production issues; and to compiling and distributing a compendium of successful initiatives taken at national level to combat discrimination in the media, ensure ethical media coverage of minority issues and improve access to the media for minorities.

    37. We call on all member states to ensure that media literacy programmes are included as a core element in school curricula, and that children and young people are alerted to expressions motivated by racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic or other related bias which they may encounter on the Internet. Member states should also make sure that law enforcement officers and prosecutors are trained to deal with similarly motivated hate crimes on the Internet, and work with the Internet industry to encourage it to take a more active role in addressing this issue.

    38. We encourage the Council of Europe to continue working with representative bodies of media organisations and their journalist counterparts to develop guidelines for ending discrimination in the workplace and creating an internal culture that actively fosters non-discrimination, notably in the recruitment of journalists and on-air talent.

    39. We call on the Council of Europe to launch a diversity co-production fund within the framework of the Eurimages Fund – as already suggested by the Parliamentary Assembly in its Recommendations 1277(1995) and 1768(2006). This diversity co-production fund would support films and documentaries highlighting the culturally diverse dimensions of today’s European societies, in such a way as to complement existing national initiatives in this field.

    40. We invite the Council of Europe, in a possible partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations’ Rapid Response Media Mechanism (RRMM) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE-ODIHR), to support the creation of an independent structure (an observatory or a website) which would monitor coverage to ensure that media are doing their job properly when dealing with discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.

F. Roma inclusion

    41. While reminding all member states of their primary responsibility for policy measures to promote Roma inclusion in employment, education, health and housing, we urge the European Union to use its new Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies to effectively address all forms of violations of the fundamental rights of Roma, including discrimination, segregation, hate speech, ethnic profiling and unlawful fingerprinting, as well as unlawful eviction and expulsion, while also putting an end to the practice of returning Roma to countries where they might be subjected to torture or degrading treatment.

    42. We urge the European Union also to use this new framework to promote the abolition of school and classroom segregation by employing Roma school mediators and increasing the number of Roma teachers, and to ensure equal access to early childhood education, adult vocational training and lifelong learning.

    43. We also consider it essential that the new framework be used as a tool to ensure effective access of Roma to the labour market, by making micro-credit available to Roma entrepreneurs and self-employed workers. We call on European Union member states and the Commission to adopt measures to promote the hiring of Roma staff in the public administration.

    44. We call on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, as a follow-up to its High Level Meeting of 20 October 2010, in full co-ordination with the European Union’s new framework and in partnership with the OSCE-ODIHR, to further develop a comprehensive pan-European strategy for the social inclusion of Roma; and in particular to:

        a. issue annual monitoring reports to accelerate progress, as an essential contribution to the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, and devise a road-map to ensure that action on this issue remains a high priority after the Decade comes to an end;

        b. further work with member states to set clear goals with fixed time-frames to end Roma segregation in schools and the invidious practice of misdiagnosing Roma children as mentally handicapped and routing them into special schools in defiance of existing judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Member states should establish comprehensive early childhood and pre-school programmes to ensure that multiply disadvantaged children are ready for school; that the integrated learning environment is one where Roma children will not face discrimination; and that teachers are properly trained to work with diversity;

        c. considering that the lack of disaggregated data has often been perceived as putting additional barriers to progress and weakening the impact of policies to promote equality and non discrimination, undertake a European comparative study in this field and make corresponding recommendations, possibly in co-operation with the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). These data should be anonymous, and should record only those ethnic or other identities which individuals voluntarily ascribe to themselves;

        d. further strengthen Roma civil society and promote Roma as active citizens rather than passive recipients, notably through a Europe-wide drive to support voter registration, informed choice and civic education programmes to promote active citizenship in the Roma community.

G. Support for action at local and regional level

    45. Recalling that Europe’s towns and cities are the key battleground in the struggle to combine diversity and freedom, we call on all member states to establish country-wide programmes for civil servants and employees in local and regional social services, to train those who are working with migrants and people with migrant background.

    46. We call on all member states to strengthen the framework for inter-municipal and inter-regional co-operation, allowing in particular for co-operation between European and non-European municipalities and regions from the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, bearing in mind that the initial framework for cross-border co-operation, based on the 1980 European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities and its protocol, is already in place and should be developed further.

    47. We invite the Council of Europe to further develop its “Intercultural cities” programme and in particular to encourage the creation of national networks of intercultural cities in order to adapt the concept as much as possible to specific national contexts; and also to facilitate the extension of the “Intercultural cities” programme beyond Europe, with the support of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.

    48. We invite the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to co-operate with the Committee of the Regions of the European Union and other European networks of local and regional authorities (including the intercultural cities network) to:

        a. establish a permanent mechanism monitoring manifestations of discrimination, racism and xenophobia at local level;

        b. create the legal and financial basis for institutionalising local anti-discrimination offices in areas with a high level of immigration. National legislation should set basic standards for the working of such offices.

H. Political extremism, racism, xenophobic and anti-migrant discourse

    49. We urge all political leaders, while striving to respond convincingly to real and legitimate public concerns about excessive or irregular immigration, to resist the rise of xenophobic or racist parties and take care not to seek political advantage by inciting or playing on public anxiety about migrants or members of minorities; and with this in mind we urge the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to continue its efforts to promote higher ethical standards in the political handling of issues related to race, ethnic and national origin and religion, making full use of the Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society signed by its President and the President of the European Parliament in 2003.

    50. We invite the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to nominate a rapporteur on political extremism, and to organise an annual forum on extremism – perhaps to be called the Stieg Larsson colloquium.

I. Working with neighbours

    51. We urge the Committee of Ministers to offer a special status in the Council of Europe – involving a closer relationship than Observer status – to countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean littoral and in Central Asia which request it, and which are willing to adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights.

    52. Countries accorded this status should be encouraged to become full members of specific Council of Europe bodies, such as the North-South Centre or the European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission; they should also be invited to join the full members of the Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy, and in founding and administering a school of political studies.

    53. All activities conducted jointly between the Council of Europe and neighbour countries enjoying the new status – including those mentioned in the previous paragraph – should be grouped together and co-ordinated by a “neighbourhood facility”, supported by a fund to which members can make voluntary contributions.

    54. The Council of Europe should approach the League of Arab States with an offer of partnership, under which the two organisations would work together to ensure that Arab countries can make fuller use of all available instruments for human rights.

J. Implementing our proposals

    55. We invite the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to appoint a high-level special representative who would be mandated to bring the content of this report to the attention of political leaders and to monitor its implementation, with the assistance of a task-force responsible for ensuring coherence in implementing the recommendations of this report within the Organisation.

    56. We call on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to draw up an action plan reflecting the main recommendations in this report, with a view to presenting it for adoption at a high-level meeting in the near future.

    57. We invite the Council of Europe to elaborate a code of good practice on “living together in diversity and freedom in Europe” based on the recommendations of this report as well as on existing Council of Europe legal standards and other reference texts such as the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue adopted in 2008.

    58. We urge the Secretary General to make proposals to the Committee of Ministers for simplifying and streamlining the machinery of the Council of Europe, so that it produces fewer but more incisive and readable reports which can have a greater impact on public opinion and decision makers in the member states.

    59. We call on the governments of Poland and Ukraine, as presidents respectively of the European Union and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in the autumn of 2011, to convene a joint Council of Europe-European Union high-level meeting on diversity, at which member states of both organisations should consider the issues raised in this report and agree on a joint strategy for action in the field of diversity and human rights.

Appendix 1: Terms of reference of the Group

1. Study

Being a European citizen means being a member of a community based on full enjoyment of individual rights – guaranteed by democratically elected governments and protected by an impartial and independent judicial system – as well as tolerance, mutual respect and acceptance of diversity. It also means accepting certain obligations in respect of others, complying with the rules of democracy and contributing to the development of a fair and cohesive society.

This “European model” is now under threat because of the resurgence of intolerance and discrimination. Over the past few years all Council of Europe member states have been affected by deteriorating social ties, radicalisation and increasing gaps between different communities within our societies. These worrying developments are undermining the cohesion of our European societies and may compromise the democratic acquis of Europe.

The Council of Europe, as the guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights, has the responsibility to defend – together with other international partners – the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, which are fundamental preconditions for security and stability in Europe. Learning how to “live together” is a key part of the concept of “soft security”. Harmonious coexistence between the members of a society offers the best safeguard of its solidity and progress.

In order to help the Council of Europe to deal with these challenges, the Secretary General and the future Turkish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers proposed at the May 2010 Ministerial Session to create “a Group of Eminent Persons” to prepare a report as a basis for possible future Council of Europe action. The terms of reference of the Group would include:

1. assessment of the seriousness of the risks to the Council of Europe values posed by rising intolerance and the spread of “communitarian” approaches;

2. identification of the sources of these phenomena (ideological, moral, religious, economic, social and cultural and so forth);

3. definition of a new concept of “living together” which could be proposed to the citizens of European societies.

2. Membership of the Group

The Group will comprise nine high-ranking individuals who have the expertise and a particular interest in the subject. Its membership ensures, as far as possible, balanced geographical distribution, equal representation of women and men, and diversity of professional backgrounds. A rapporteur will be responsible for preparing the draft report.

The members are:

1. Joschka Fischer (Germany, Chair)
2. Emma Bonino (Italy)
3. Timothy Garton Ash (United Kingdom)
4. Martin Hirsch (France)
5. Danuta Hübner (Poland)
6. Ayşe Kadıoğlu (Turkey)
7. Sonja Licht (Serbia)
8. Vladimir Lukin (Russian Federation)
9. Javier Solana (Spain)

The rapporteur is Edward Mortimer (United Kingdom)

Methodology

The Group of Eminent Persons will be supported by the Council of Europe Secretariat (Policy Planning Directorate) for the organisation and preparation of its meetings. It will meet six times between October 2010 and May 2011. Its operational costs will be met by the Government of Turkey.

Appendix 2: Meetings of the Group and people interviewed

1st meeting (Strasbourg, 15 October 2010)

· Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue and for the Anti-Discrimination Campaign of the Council of Europe

· Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

· Niels Muiznieks, Chair of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

2nd meeting (Budapest, 2 December 2010)

· Zoltán Balog, State Secretary for Social Inclusion, Hungary

· Costel Bercus, Chair of the Board, Roma Education Fund

· Video message from Lívia Járóka, Member of the European Parliament

· Rob Kushen, Executive Director, European Roma Rights Centre

· Osman Balić, Co-ordinator of the NGO League for the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, Serbia

· Istvan Gyarmati, Ambassador, Hungary

· Gyorgy Makula, Spokesman of the Hungarian Police, Secretary General of the Fraternal Association of European Roma Law Enforcement Officers (Faerleo)

· Katalin Bársony, Director, Romedia Foundation, Hungary

3rd meeting (Istanbul, 13 and 14 January 2011)

    · Meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church

    · Meeting with Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

    · Ayhan Kaya, Istanbul Bilgi University

    · Ferhat Kentel, Istanbul Sehir University

    · Famile Arslan, European Muslim Professionals Network

4th meeting (Madrid, 14 and 15 February 2011)

· Jorge Sampaio, United Nations High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilisations

· Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue and for the Anti-Discrimination Campaign of the Council of Europe

· Mukti Jane Campion, Director, Culture Wise (United Kingdom)

· Joan-Andreu Rocha Scarpetta, Vice-Dean of Journalism, Abat Oliba CEU University of Barcelona (Spain)

· Manuela Mesa, Director of CEPAZ, Fundación Cultura de Paz (Madrid)

· Catherine Fieschi, Director of Counterpoint (United Kingdom) and Sabine Selchow, Researcher, Global Civil Society Programme, London School of Economics

5th meeting (Brussels, 17 and 18 March 2011)

    · Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs

    · Pierre Mirel, Director for Western Balkans, Directorate General for Enlargement, European Commission

    · Keith Whitmore, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

    · Roman Jaborkhel, Culture Department, City of Lublin, Poland

    · Berend de Vries, Deputy-Mayor, City of Tilburg, Netherlands

    · Nazia Hussain, Director of the Open Society Foundations Project “At home in Europe”

    · Alard du Bois-Reymond, Director, Swiss Federal Office for Migration

    · Vincent Berger, Jurisconsult, European Court of Human Rights

    · Ilze Brands Kehris, Director of the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

6th meeting (drafting meeting, Salzburg, 7 and 8 April 2011)

Appendix 3: Summary bibliography/Bibliographie indicative

1. Council of Europe / Conseil de l’Europe

Conventions and Charters / Conventions et Chartes

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms / Convention de sauvegarde des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés fondamentales, 1950

European Social Charter (revised) / Charte sociale européenne (révisée), 1996

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities / Convention-cadre pour la protection des minorités nationales, 1995

Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level / Convention sur la participation des étrangers à la vie publique au niveau local, 1992

Convention on Cybercrime – Additional protocol concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems / Convention sur la cybercriminalité – Protocole additionnel relatif à l’incrimination d’actes de nature raciste et xénophobe commis par le biais de systèmes informatiques, 2003

Other adopted texts and reference documents / Autres textes adoptés et documents de référence

Committee of Ministers / Comité des Ministres

Interaction between migrants and receiving societies / L’interaction entre les migrants et les sociétés d’accueil – Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2011)1

Validating migrants’ skills / La validation des compétences des migrants Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2011)2

Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education / Charte du Conseil de l’Europe sur l’éducation à la citoyenneté démocratique et l’éducation aux droits de l’homme – Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2010)7

Education of Roma and Travellers in Europe / L’éducation des Roms et des Gens du voyage en Europe – Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2009)4

White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue / Livre blanc sur le dialogue interculturel, 2008

Improving access of migrants and persons of immigrant background to employment / L’amélioration de l’accès à l’emploi des migrants et des personnes issues de l’immigration – Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2008)10

Dimension of religions and non-religious convictions within intercultural education / La dimension des religions et des convictions non religieuses dans l’éducation interculturelle – Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2008)12

Policies for Roma and/or Travellers in Europe / Les politiques concernant les Roms et/ou les Gens du voyage en Europe – Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2008)5

Strengthening the integration of children of migrants and of immigrant background / La promotion de l’intégration des enfants de migrants ou issus de l’immigration – Recommendation / Recommandation CM/Rec(2008)4

Life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors / Les projets de vie en faveur des migrants mineurs non accompagnés – Recommendation / RecommandationCM/Rec(2007)9

Parliamentary Assembly / Assemblée parlementaire

Minority protection in Europe: best practices and deficiencies in implementation of common standards / Protection des minorités en Europe: bonnes pratiques et lacunes dans l’application des normes communes – Recommendation / Recommandation 1904 (2010)

Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia in Europe / L’islam, l’islamisme et l’islamophobie en Europe – Resolution / Résolution 1743 (2010)

Recent rise in national security discourse in Europe: the case of Roma / La montée récente en Europe du discours sécuritaire au niveau national: le cas des Roms – Resolution / Résolution 1760 (2010)

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity / Discrimination sur la base de l’orientation sexuelle et de l’identité de genre, report/rapport, 2010

Roma asylum seekers in Europe / Les demandeurs d’asile roms en Europe – Resolution / Résolution 1768 (2010)

Fight against extremism : achievements, deficiencies and failures / Lutte contre l’extrémisme : réalisations, faiblesses et échecs – Resolution / Résolution 1754 (2010)

Combating anti-Semitism in Europe / Combattre l’antisémitisme en Europe – Resolution/Résolution 1563 (2007)

Regularisation programmes for irregular migrants / Programmes de régularisation des migrants en situation irrégulière – Resolution / Résolution 1568 (2007)

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities / Congrès des Pouvoirs Locaux et Régionaux

Cultural Integration of Muslim Women in European Cities/ L’intégration culturelle des femmes musulmanes dans les villes européennes – Resolution / Résolution 318 (2010)

Intercultural cities / Cités interculturelles – Resolution / Résolution 280 (2009)

Intercultural and inter-religious dialogue: an opportunity for local democracy / Le dialogue interculturel et interreligieux: une chance pour la démocratie locale – Recommendation / Recommandation 245 (2008)

Commissioner for Human Rights / Commissaire aux droits de l’homme

4th Quarterly Activity Report 2010 / 4e rapport trimestriel d’activité 2010

Annual activity reports 2009 and 2010 / Rapports annuels d’activité 2009 et 2010

Criminalisation of Migration in Europe: Human Rights Implications / La criminalisation des migrations en Europe: quelles incidences pour les droits de l’homme? CommDH/IssuePaper(2010)1

The Human Rights of Irregular Migrants in Europe / Les droits fondamentaux des migrants en situation irrégulière en Europe, CommDH/IssuePaper(2007)1

European Muslims are stigmatised by populist rhetoric / Le discours populiste stigmatise les musulmans européens, Human Rights Comment/Carnet des droits de l’homme, 28 October/octobre 2010

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) /
Commission européenne contre le racisme et l’intolérance (ECRI)

Annual report on ECRI’s activities – 2009/Rapport annuel des activités de l’ECRI – année 2009 (2010)

General Policy Recommendations/Recommandations de politique générale

Other publications and websites/Autres publications et sites Internet

Le Conseil de l’Europe et les Roms, 40 ans d’action, Jean-Pierre Liégeois, éditions du Conseil de l’Europe, 2010

Intercultural Dialogue in the Framework of the European Convention on Human Rights Protection, Patricia Wiater, Council of Europe Publishing, 2010

Migrants and their descendants – Guide to policies for the well-being of all in pluralist societies, Council of Europe Publishing, 2010

Living in Diversity – Lesson Plans for Secondary Schools, Council of Europe Publishing, 2010

Institutional accomodation and the citizen : legal and political interaction in a pluralist society / Accomodements institutionnels et citoyens : cadres juridiques et politiques pour interagir dans des sociétés plurielles – Trends in Social Cohesion / Tendances de la cohésion sociale n° 21, Council of Europe Publishing, 2009

Manual on hate speech / Manuel sur le discours de haine, 2009

Media & Diversity: The next steps to promote minority access to the Media – Final report of the “Speak out against discrimination” Campaign of the Council of Europe / Media & Diversité : Promouvoir l’accès des minorités aux media – les prochaines étapes - Rapport final de la campagne du Conseil de l’Europe “Dites Non à la Discrimination”, 2009

Handbook on European non-discrimination law / Manuel de droit européen en matière de non-discrimination, European Court of Human Rights and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2011

2. European Union/Union européenne

Project Europe 2030 – Challenges and Opportunities – A report to the European Council by the Reflection Group on the Future of the EU 2030 / Projet pour l’Europe à l’horizon 2030 – Les défis à relever et les chances à saisir – Rapport du Groupe de réflexion au Conseil européen sur l’avenir de l’UE à l’horizon 2030

Handbook on Integration for policy-makers and practitioners / Manuel sur l’intégration à l’intention des décideurs politiques et des praticiens – European Commission / Commission européenne, 2010

European Website on Integration / Portail européen sur l’intégration

Discrimination in the EU in 2009/Discrimination dans l’UE en 2009 – Special Eurobarometer/Eurobaromètre Spécial 317, 2009

Links between migration and discrimination / Liens entre migration et discrimination – European Network of Legal Experts in the non-discrimination field, Olivier de Schutter, European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, 2009

Trade union practices on anti-discrimination and diversity / Pratiques syndicales de lutte contre la discrimination et pour la promotion de la diversité, Luxemburg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2010,

Media Diversity : taking the pulse of diversity in the media / Prendre le pouls de la diversité dans les médias – European Commission / Commission européenne, 2009

Undocumented Migration: Counting the Uncountable – Data and Trends across Europe, a project funded by the European Commission, DG Research, Sixth Framework Programme (2009), final report

TE-SAT 2010 EU- Terrorism situation and trend report, EUROPOL, 2010

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) / Agence des droits fondamentaux de l’Union européenne (FRA)

Multiple Discrimination; EU-MIDIS European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, 2010

Rights Awareness and Equality Bodies. Strengthening the fundamental rights architecture in the EU III; EU-MIDIS European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, 2010

Anti-Semitism, Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2008, 2009

Data Focus Report: Muslims, EU-MIDIS European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, 2009

3. Other international organisations / Autres organisations internationales

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) – Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region – Incidents and Responses – 2009 Annual Report, 2010

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe – High Commissioner on National Minorities – Thematic Recommendations 1996-2008, 2010

Police and Roma and Sinti: Good Practices in Building Trust and Understanding, SPMU Publication Series Vol. 9, OSCE 2010

International Organization for Migration (IOM) – World migration report 2010 : The future of migration: building capacities for change, 2010

International Organization for Migration – Independent Network of Labour Migration and Integration Experts : Migration, Employment and Labour Market Integration Policies in the European Union, 2000-2009

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – International Migration Outlook, 2010

Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians: Focusing on Exclusion, Marginalization and Denial of Rights, Report of OSCE/ODIHR Roundtable, 2009

United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Report of the High-level Group / Nations Unies, Alliance des civilisations, Rapport du Groupe de haut niveau – New York, 2006

Recommendations on Policing in Multi-Ethnic Societies, Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, OSCE, 2006

4. Other publications / Autres publications

State of the World`s Minorities and Indigenous People 2010, Minority Rights Group International, 2010

Unfavorable Views of Jews and Muslims on the Increase in Europe, Pew Global Attitudes Project, 2008

Crime Perception and Victimization in Europe: Does Immigration Matter? Centro Studi Economici Antonveneta, 2011

Muslims in Europe: a report on 11 EU Cities, Open Society Foundations, 2010

Combating Racist Crime and Violence: Testimonies and Advocacy Strategies – European Network Against Racism and Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities (NICEM), 2009

Fitzgerald, J., K. A. Curtis, and C. L. Corliss: “Anxious Publics: Worries over crime and immigration” in Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Political Psychology, Dublin,Trinity College, 2009

House of Lords, The Economic Impact of Immigration, House of Lords, 2008

Süssmuth R., Structuring immigration, fostering integration, Independent Commission on Migration to Germany, Berlin, 2001

International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH), Report 2010

Ashutosh Varshney, Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India,Yale University Press, 2002 and 2003

Roma in Italy: briefing to the European Commission, Open Society Foundations, 2010

Gianni Betto, L’immagine dell’immigrato attraverso i media italiani, 2010

M. J. Campion, “Look Who’s Talking” – Cultural Diversity, Public Service Broadcasting and the National Conversation, Nuffield College Oxford, 2005

A. Altikriti and A. Faliq, Islamophobia and anti-muslim harted: causes & remedies, Cordoba Foundation, 2010

Appendix 4: Members of the Group

Joschka Fischer (Chair)


Joseph Martin (“Joschka”) Fischer is a German politician, member of the Alliance “90/the Greens”. He was Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany between 1998 and 2005.

Emma Bonino

Emma Bonino is Vice-Chair of the Italian Senate. She was formerly Minister for International Trade and European Affairs. From 1994-99, she was the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Fisheries, Consumer Policy, Consumer Health Protection and Food Safety.

Timothy Garton Ash


Timothy Garton Ash is Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford. He is the author of nine books of “history of the present”, which have charted the transformation of Europe over the last 40 years. His weekly column in the Guardian is widely syndicated across the continent.

Martin Hirsch


Martin Hirsch was previously the French High Commissioner for Active Solidarity against Poverty and High Commissioner for Young People, and is currently the President of the Civic Service Agency. He is also the former President of Emmaüs France.

Danuta Hübner


Danuta Hübner is a Polish economist, academic and policy maker. She was previously the Polish Minister for European Affairs and the European Commissioner responsible for regional policy. Since 2009, she has been a Member of the European Parliament.

Ayse Kadıoğlu


Ayşe Kadıoğlu is Professor of Political Science at Sabancı University, Istanbul. She spent the 2009-10 academic year as the Sabancı Fellow at the University of Oxford. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Boston University (1990) and an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago (1984).

Sonja Licht


Sonja Licht is an internationally renowned sociologist, and human rights and political activist. She was part of the Yugoslav dissident movement of the late 1960s, and two decades later founded many local and international NGOs, including a number of women’s organisations.

Vladimir Lukin


Vladimir Lukin has been the Human Rights Commissioner of the Russian Federation since 2004 and is also the President of the Russian Paralympics Committee. A history graduate from Moscow Lenin State Educational Institute, Vladimir Lukin also holds a degree in sciences and has worked as a researcher for several years.

Javier Solana


Javier Solana Madariaga is a Spanish physicist and socialist politician. He has held several cabinet posts (Minister of Culture, Minister for Education and Science, Minister for Foreign Affairs), and is the former Secretary General of NATO and of the Council of the European Union. He was the EU’s first High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Edward Mortimer (rapporteur)


Edward Mortimer is an English author and journalist, and is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Programme Officer of the Salzburg Global Seminar. From 2001-06, he was Director of Communications in the Executive Office of the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.

Council of Europe staff members who assisted in preparing the report

Directorate General of Democracy and Political Affairs: Piotr Świtalski (Director of Policy Planning); Mehdi Remili; Rebecca Scaife; Jane Wodey; Demian Podolskyi; Anna Dolgikh

Directorate of Communication: Daniel Höltgen (Director)

1 . Angela Merkel, speech to members of the Junge Union, Potsdam, 16 October 2010; David Cameron, speech to the Munich Security Conference, 5 February 2011; Nicolas Sarkozy, interviewed on Paroles de Français (TF1), 11 February 2011.

2 . In this section, we have drawn on a wide variety of examples from all parts of Europe. But we decided not to name names or single out particular member states. There are many other bodies that do that, including organs of the Council of Europe and of other institutions, to which we do refer. Our purpose here is to describe and analyse trends that are common to a large number of countries, and which require all member states to respond with concern and vigilance.

3 . Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, report, March 2010.

4 . Note: in this report, unless otherwise stated, the phrase “European countries” is used to mean the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.

5 . Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, 4th Quarterly Report 2010, February 2011.

6 . Migrants and their descendants – Guide to policies for the well-being of all in pluralist societies, Council of Europe Publishing, December 2010.

7 . Unfavourable views of Jews and Muslims on the increase in Europe, report by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, September 2008.

8 . European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS) – Data Focus Report/Muslims, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2009.

9 . Islam, Islamism and Islamophobia in Europe, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, report, May 2010.

10 . Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Human Rights Comment, 28 October 2010.

11 . See: www.adl.org/PresRele/ASInt_13/5465_13.htm.

12 . OSCE-ODIHR roundtable on “Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians: Focusing on Exclusion, Marginalisation and Denial of Rights”, March 2009.

13 . Quoted in the Washington Post, 29 April 2008.

14 . Europol, TE-SAT 2010, EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, 2010.

15 . House of Lords, 2008: 33.

16 . “The primary aim of immigration policy from a labour market perspective is to allow the recruitment of skilled labour in order to create new employment opportunities for national workers” (Süssmuth, 2001: 4).

17 . House of Lords, 2008: 34.

18 . For example, Fitzgerald, Curtis and Corliss (2009).

19 . International Network Against Cyber Hate (INACH), November 2010, www.inach.net/INACH_report_2010.pdf.

20 . See: www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/03/15/terrorists-targeting-children-via-facebook-twitter/#.

21 . Launched by the Council of Europe Ministers of Foreign Affairs at their 118th Ministerial Session (Strasbourg, 7 May 2008).

22 . Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)4 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to member states on strengthening the integration of children of migrants and of immigrant background, February 2008.

23 . In the pen portraits throughout this section of the report, we highlight examples of groups and individuals in some of the categories mentioned, who have taken or are taking action to encourage “living together” in practical ways which we find commendable and worthy of emulation.

24 . See: www.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/en/news/final-report-the-effect-of-a/?lang=en and
www.education.gouv.fr/cid52640/mene1000704c.html (French only).

25 . Communication to the Group of Eminent Persons by Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Director General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, Council of Europe, Madrid, 14 February 2011.

26 . All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

27 . Communication to the Group from Katalin Bársony, Director of the Romedia Foundation, Budapest, 2 December 2010, www.mundiromani.com.

28 . Information provided by Jorge Sampaio, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations at the Group's meeting in Madrid, 15 February 2011, www.unaoc.org/content/view/91/126/lang,english.

29 . See Ashutosh Varshney, Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India, Yale University Press, 2002 and 2003.

30 . See www.yepp-community.org/yepp/cms/index.php.

31 . Communication to the Group from Police Major Gyorgy Makula, Secretary General of Faerleo, Budapest, 2 December 2010, www.faerleo.com/node/23.

32 . Information provided by Catherine Fieschi, Director of Counterpoint (United Kingdom), at the Group’s meeting in Madrid, 15 February 2011, http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/about-us/what-is-searchlight.

33 . See: www.grupa484.org.rs/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2&Itemid=156&lang=english.

34 . See: www.thecedarnetwork.com.

35 . This is a problem for many Muslims in Europe. The current discourse about “Islam” effectively forces them to choose between distancing themselves from their religion or assuming it as a primary identity. It is not a choice that anyone should be obliged to make.

36 . See: http://en.wikipedia.org.

37 . See: http://arshavin.eu/en/.

38 . Meeting held in Istanbul, 15 January 2011.

39 . See: www.oezdemir.de/.

40 . See: www.thuram.org/index.php?idioma=in&seccion=.

41 . See: www.tomiungerer.com/.

42 . In 2008, the Council of Europe launched its “Intercultural cities” programme (www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/culture/Cities/Default_en.asp), aimed at transforming the way in which cities understand and respond to cultural diversity. It began as a pilot scheme involving 11 cities in different parts of Europe, but the network is now being opened up not only to new European cities but also to cities in other parts of the world. Generally in cities where the programme has been implemented there is peace and mutual respect among communities, all of which are participating in economic and social development; much less violence; and a higher-than-average per capita GDP. In these pen portraits we give four examples from cities belonging to this network: Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Reggio-Emilia (Italy), Subotica (Serbia) and Tilburg (the Netherlands).

* See footnote 26.

44 . Information from Stevan Nikolic, Director of the Roma Educational Centre from Subotica.

45 . Communication to the Group, Brussels, 17 March 2011.

46 . The European Council (not to be confused with the Council of Europe!) is the name given to the regular meetings of the political leaders of all EU member states. The European Commission is the Union’s executive body.

47 . Both of these gave evidence to our Group in Strasbourg on 15 October 2010.

48 . The Group heard evidence from Vincent Berger, Jurisconsult of the Court, at its meeting in Brussels on 18 March 2011.

49 . Intercultural dialogue in the framework of European human rights protection, Patricia Wiater, Council of Europe Publishing, March 2010.

50 . On 18 March 2011, in the case of Lautsi and Others v. Italy, which concerned the presence of crucifixes in Italian state-school classrooms, the Court found no violation of the Convention. It held in particular that the question of religious symbols in classrooms was, in principle, a matter falling within the margin of appreciation of the state – particularly as there was no European consensus on the matter – provided that decisions in this area did not lead to a form of indoctrination.



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