Earlier this month, European Commission senior member Margaritis Schinas told the Financial Times that an incident such as the assassination of Floyd and the subsequent "protests" is unlikely to happen on this scale in Europe. "
"I don't think we currently have problems in Europe that are clearly linked to police violence or problems that are changing in our systems," said Schinas. But we have a problem in Europe, which is the problem of inequality and income distribution - doing the best we can for everyone.
But a recent report from another European leader suggests the opposite. Pierette Herzberger-Fofana, a German black MP, said earlier this month in a European debate on racism that she had been "the victim of police violence" in an act which she said had " underlying racist tendencies ". "had.
She told the European Parliament that after finding nine police officers harassing two young blacks in Brussels the night before speaking in Parliament, she walked to the incident. She said the police then approached me, ripped the phone from me, and four of these armed police brutally pushed me against the wall '' and they didn't believe her when she told the police that 'she was a member of the European Parliament. used to be.
The alleged incident is currently under investigation by the Brussels public prosecutor's office, at the request of Herzberger-Fofana and the Brussels-North police. A spokesman for the Brussels North police said about the incident that nothing but "normal procedure" had been followed.
In the same debate, Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said: "The people who demonstrate on our streets, in our countries, across the Atlantic and around the world are making their voices heard - heard with pleasure. it's time we do more than it is time we talk about racism - open and honest.
She then identified a problem that has haunted European institutions for a long time: a strong lack of racial diversity. Let's take a look here… diversity is not represented, and I will be the first to admit that things are not better at the College of Commissioners.
Critics may wonder why it took such a long time for a senior EU official to solve this problem.
According to the European Network against Racism, the 2019 European elections resulted in only 5 percent of elected MEPs belonging to minority ethnic groups, although racial and ethnic minorities represent at least 10 percent of the total EU population . This number is estimated to have dropped to 4 percent after Brexit, with the UK having a relatively large number of MPs from racial and ethnic minorities.
So why does the EU have such a blind spot on diversity? Samira Rafaela, a Dutch MEP, says that a "lack of representation and a lack of sharing power" at the highest levels of EU policy has led to "systematic exclusion". & Quot; I draw a direct line between this (absence of) responsibility and the misrepresentation of the diversity of Europe in its political institution, "she adds.
Alice Bah Kunke, a Swedish MEP, agrees that a limited desire to share power leads to exclusion. "If you've been in politics for 30 years, it's hard to admit that you have to look far beyond your normal pelvis and also people with very different life experiences.
This vision extends across the political spectrum. Syed Kamall, who co-chaired European reformers and conservatives before Brexit, says there is "complacency" in Brussels that by "having 27 different countries (mostly white), the EU is by definition diverse". But nothing is less true.
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Although representation in Parliament is considered to be less important than the other EU institutions, it is considered to be particularly important. "We are the only EU institution directly elected from among EU citizens and we must represent them appropriately," says Monica Semedo, Luxembourg member of the European Parliament. However, she points out that perhaps the most powerful EU body, the Commission, has an even worse problem.
"Looking at the College of Commissioners, there is no ethnic diversity, this is also the case for their teams. Have not black people applied? What is the success rate of candidates from These questions should make us carefully consider the application and selection process. "
This is where the real impact becomes more acute. "The form an EU policy takes when it leaves the EU institutions determines the ripple effects it will have when the policy takes effect," said Rafaela. "The less diversity there is at this stage of policy making, the less inclusive a policy will be."
Kunke says that who ends up in key roles ultimately comes down to the EU deciding on its priorities - and what type of life experience best meets these challenges. “This could be your journey as an economist, or you may have already lived escaping from a war-torn country and living as a refugee. It is clear to me that these are two competences which are currently valid in European politics. "
Semedo adds that "people affected by specific problems such as discrimination, exclusion, marginalization need specific measures to overcome dishonesty ... It is not possible to legislate in a meaningful way without involving the people directly affected. "
Even talking about this stuff has been difficult for some. "It's hard to have the conversation, but it's just as difficult to get someone to have the conversation," says Rafaela. "Whatever my personal experience as a young MEP of color, I am struck by the fact that some have avoided it."
Kamall describes a time when he stressed to his colleagues that if they wanted to have a clear vision of diversity in the EU, then look at the faces of the cleaners who built the building. Leave early in the morning and contrast it with white MEPs and entering officials. He says that the green leader at the time "told me that I missed the point and that the cleaning ladies are women", and another manager emailed him congratulations, but m 'corrected by explaining that it was not only the cleaners, but also the guards who increased the racial diversity of the EU institutions. "