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European Policy, Free Expression

The EU’s Initiative to Extend its List of ‘EU Crimes’: A New Twist in the Saga of Policing Hate Speech

On 25 November 2021, the European Commission published a Communication, in which it recommends that the European Council adopt a decision to add hate speech and hate crime to the list of ‘EU crimes’ articulated in Article 83(1) of the founding ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ (TFEU).

If adopted unanimously by the European Council and after obtaining the consent from the European Parliament, this proposal would pave the way for the Commission to outline secondary legislation aiming to define and punish online and offline hate speech, and to push member states to adopt stronger measures against perpetrators.

This short article analyses this initiative in light of the fragmented international legal framework and sometimes contradictory jurisprudence that exists concerning hate speech and how this interacts with the right to freedom of speech. In doing so, CDT highlights the significant fundamental rights concerns raised by the proposal to criminalise speech, as well as the difficulty the EU is likely to face in moving this politically untenable recommendation forward.

Read the full article here.