European Parliament adopts new Rules of Procedure strengthening hate speech sanctions

Brussels, 13/12/2016 - The European Parliament voted to adopt new Rules of Procedure which will take effect from 1st January 2017. The newly adopted Rules of Procedure are the result of negotiations led by the Socialist and Democrat Rapporteur Richard Corbett between all of the European Parliament’s political groups.

The Rules of Procedure govern the activities of the European Parliament, Members of European Parliament, staff and lobbyists. In particular, the Rules of Procedure have specific articles (165 and 166) on the Conduct of Members of European Parliament and sanctions that are available against Members of European Parliament who breach Article 165.

In the newly adopted Rules of Procedure, Members will now be sanctioned if they use defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or undertake actions to disrupt parliamentary activity. Penalties for serious misbehaviour have also been increased (up to 30 days daily allowance, doubled in case of repetition) and Members will no longer being able to represent the European Parliament externally for up to a year. The European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup together with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe) have worked with the Rapporteur and the political groups in the European Parliament to ensure the strengthening of the rules.

Cécile Kyenge, Co-President of ARDI, said: “Every racist or discriminatory expression and incitement to hatred is by its very nature incompatible with the responsibilities that we are called to fulfill as MEPs. This is why the decision of the European Parliament gives an important signal: racism and discrimination can never be an instrument of political campaigning.”

Soraya Post, Co-President of ARDI, said: “The adoption of the Rules of Procedure are an important step forward and make it be clear that Parliament as a democratic institution does not accept hatred, racism and discrimination, especially from our elected officials."

Michael Privot, Director of ENAR, said: “This decision is a clear signal that the European Parliament takes racist speech seriously. If politicians make comments that incite to hatred, they must be held accountable and be sanctioned. We now hope national parliaments across Europe will follow suit.”

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