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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 364 E/239

For the Honorable Member’s information, the Directive is to be put into effect by means of the national
implementing measures from 1 January 2002.

Disputes and complaints arising from transactions regulated by the Directive’s implementing measures will
have to be addressed within the scope of the national legal systems of the Member States.

(2001/C 364 E/263) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2072/01

by Herbert Bösch (PSE) to the Commission

(13 July 2001)

Subject: European legal bases for the prosecution of persons involved in extreme right-wing activities

Right-wing extremism is a Europe-wide phenomenon not restricted to individual states. In some cases
right-wing extremists are punished by the courts in one Member State only to continue their activities in

1. What legal provisions exist which could be used to halt extreme right-wing activities throughout the

2. Does the Commission intend to put forward a proposal for a directive clearing the way for the
prosecution throughout the EU of persons involved in extreme right-wing activities?

3. What provisions exist at international level on the basis of which such persons could be prosecuted
outside the EU as well?

4. If no such provisions exist, does the Commission intend to propose their introduction?

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(6 September 2001)

There is no EU legislation banning extreme right-wing activities as such.

However, the Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states that the
Union shall respect fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights, and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States. The
proclamation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights reaffirmed the Union’s commitment on this matter.

The Commission therefore condemns all forms of violence or expressions of racism or xenophobia which
constitute a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

As regards the criminal law, on 15 July 1996 the Council adopted a joint action on the basis of Article K.3
of the Treaty on European Union concerning action to combat racism and xenophobia. It requires Member
States to make a number of types of racist or xenophobic behaviour punishable as a criminal offence, or,
failing that, to derogate from the principle of double criminality for such behaviour.

The Commission is planning to table a draft legislative instrument (framework decision) this year to
replace the above joint action. This act will contain common definitions, offences and penalties for crimes
involving racism and xenophobia. Member States will be required to take the necessary steps to comply
with the framework decision once it has been adopted by the Council.