EU / ANTI-RACISM: MARCO CAPPATO "WHEN WILL THERE BE PUBLIC BURNINGS? "


Marco CAPPATO, Radical MEP of the Lista Bonino, member of committee for citizens' rights and freedoms, justice and home affairs, has tabled the following minority opinion on the CEYHUN Report concerning the proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia:


"MINORITY OPINION

By Marco Cappato
On the proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia
(COM(2001) 664 - C5-0689/2001 - 2001/0270(CNS)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that 'Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers'. These principles of a free society are undermined by laws which make 'beliefs' a criminal offence, in a manner which is typical of totalitarian regimes.

This is the line adopted by the Commission when it calls for the 'public condoning for a racist purpose', the 'dissemination of tracts containing expressions of racism' and incitement to such acts and other similar acts to be made punishable as criminal offences. Such measures, for which maximum sentences of at least two-years' imprisonment are laid down in cases of criminal association, should logically be followed by the public burning of a substantial proportion of world literature and art. To the great delight of populist and anti-European movements, the Voltairian spirit of tolerance expressed in the phrase "I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it" is being trampled under foot by a form of eurobureaucratic folly which is far more dangerous than the 'monster' which it claims to be fighting."