Increasing poverty and inequality in Europe as a result of the economic crisis has fostered political speech based on xenophobe, racist, sexist and homophobic ideas during the European elections, which ended on Sunday 25th of May with the centre-right parties’ victory – it means that few changes will come – and the rise of populist, nationalists and anti-European parties. These speeches, which encourage hate against minority groups of population, have convinced many citizens, as Brigit O’Loughlin, the campaign coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement (NHSM), alerted in the NHSM conference celebrated in Ljubljana the 22nd of May.
During the elections
They could be old time speeches, but they are really current. “Mr. Ebola could solve immigration problems in Africa”, stated the reelected euro deputy and founder of France’s far-right party, Front National (FN), Jean-Marie Le Pen; while the leader of Spain’s centre-right group, Partido Popular (PP), Arias Canete, said that “debates with women are difficult. If a man shows intellectual superiority, he will be considered a sexist”, after the discussion in the Spanish public television with the socialist opponent, Elena Valenciano.
NHSM for human rights
The European project was created to face up differences between countries and heal historical wounds. Now, Europe is living one of its most critical moments since the EU was founded and the recipe to overcome this crisis is full of belittling and offensive sentences, according to some party’s propositions. In order to avoid hate speech, the Council of Europe, through No Hate Speech Movement online campaign, encouraged voting parties which did not use hate speech to manipulate their followers.
Time will show
Elected politicians represent what citizens think. Despite the fact that abstention is the clear winner of the elections, Europe has spoken through ballot boxes and has showed that people are angry. Regretfully, cheap arguments and insults have convinced a big part of the continent that time. Fortunately, time runs and there is still time to shut up people who promote insults and, to use democracy with solid reasoning. However, we must wait five more years.