#BlackLivesMatter – ‘In our Union there is no place for racism or any kind of discrimination’ Von der Leyen

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

Following the death of George Floyd an African American man who died while being arrested by police officers on the street in the US city of Minneapolis on 25 May. The European Parliament organised a debate to discuss the racism, discrimination and police violence often faced by minorities, in particular, those of African descent.

Floyd’s death, along with similar cases, sparked both peaceful and violent demonstrations and protests against racism and police brutality all over the US, as well as in Europe, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The President of the European Commission Von der Leyen argued that we have to relentlessly need to fight racism and discrimination. Von der Leyen said: “Let us look around us, here, in this very hemicycle. The diversity of our society is not represented. And I will be the first to admit, things are not better in the College of Commissioners, nor among the European Commission staff. This is why I say: we need to talk about racism. And we need to act. It is always possible to change direction if there is a will to do so. We need to talk about racism with an open mind.”

The President said that the European Union already prohibits discrimination at the highest possible legal level through its Treaty and Charter of Fundamental Rights and through additional legislation and European funds, but that Europe needs to try harder. 

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