At the opening of the conference marking the 25th anniversary of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Amélie de Montchalin, France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs, representing the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, spoke of “the European ideal, our identity, which brings us together, a project and values. A humanist and egalitarian project founded on the inherent dignity of each woman, man and child.”
She reminded participants that, in 1993, the heads of state and government of the Council of Europe recognised a new threat to these values: “expressions of hatred, racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism, which are the antithesis of these common values”.
Ms de Montchalin added that “fighting to protect those who come under attack is tantamount to protecting each one of us” and welcomed ECRI’s commitment that has made it possible to encourage member states to reinforce their action and their legislation combating all forms of discrimination.
She also mentioned two French initiatives.
The first concerns draft legislation on hateful material, which in particular requires platforms and search engines to remove this type of content within 24 hours.
The second aims to establish an observatory on history teaching in Europe. She commented that “teaching history helps to raise collective awareness. Depending on whether they learn the history of war or the history of reconciliation, our children will go to war or make peace. This observatory is an opportunity and a responsibility, which will help to raise a generation that will uphold peace and preserve our common values. It will allow us to work together on the way in which our past, which is both unique and common, is taught, so that our schools are at the forefront of the fight against racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism.”