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In three parallel sessions, participants discussed the importance of education and the media in combating discrimination and hate speech, as well as the role of sport and business in creating an atmosphere of zero tolerance on these issues.

Speaking on the necessity of creating inclusive societies in order to prevent extremism, interim FRA Director Constantinos Manolopoulos underlined the danger of alienating people who are often born in the EU, but are nonetheless made to feel as though they are not part of European society.

“The flip side to hate and intolerance is respect and inclusion; these are the key to developing a society based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights,” he said. “It is clear to us all that we in the EU and beyond need to combat radicalisation and violent extremism. And in order to do this effectively, we need to tackle their root cause: intolerance and prejudice. In this way we will be acting to prevent such events, rather than just reacting to them.”

FRA’s acting director also spoke of a number of projects the Agency is currently working on that are relevant to the issues of exclusion, discrimination and hate crime, including:

  • the second round of FRA’s large-scale survey of ethnic minorities in the EU, which asks about experiences of discrimination
  • FRA’s working party on combating hate crime in the EU, which is composed of representatives from 27 Member States as well as the European Commission, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions, and the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance, will compile good practices in countering hate crimes from Member States
  • the Agency’s efforts to step up its awareness-raising work, which builds on its existing educational and training guides such as those on Holocaust education.