When should the legislator use a sledgehammer to crack a nut (in more senses than one)?
When we advance from the existential importance of fundamental rights to a few lines about the colloquium, I have to admit to a lingering doubt about how intrusive criminal law should become.
I hope that bright thinkers contribute to the cross-border discussion in Europe, since similar problems confront the European and the national level.
- It is high time that member states fully implemented EU law to combat racism and xenophobia. I intend to take decisive actions to monitor this implementation and will focus on three points. First of all, member states must firmly and immediately investigate and prosecute racist hatred and violence. Second, I find it disgraceful that Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in only 13 member states. Last but not least, member states must decisively address hate speech, said the EU justice commissioner Věra Jourová in her closing remarks at the Commission's first colloquium on fundamental rights.
Hopefully her openness about the Commission's aims serves the purpose of a wider and improved discussion about the merits of justice policy and criminal law to advance societal aims. Commissioner Jourová promised a number of other actions to counter antisemitism and islamophobia, as well, some more and some less controversial.
Fundamental rights colloquium
Through the web page of the European Commission's first annual fundamental rights colloquium 1-2 October 2015 you can access material, including the thematic discussion notes to steer the discussions. The notes offer you a fairly detailed view of the issues at the colloquium, but worth continued discussion in Europe more widely:
Stepping up action to prevent and combat antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes (Session I.a)
The role of local authorities, education and grass-root projects (Session I.b)
Tackling hate speech in a connected world (Session II.a)
Fostering equality legislation and promoting non-discrimination policies (Session II.b)
As you see, there are quite a number of related but separate issues demanding individual treatment.
You can follow, dig for material or participate under the Twitter hashtag #NoPlace4Hate