In response to a homophobic murder in Bratislava, Parliament asked on Thursday all EU governments to fight hate speech, and investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
MEPs reacted to recent events in Bratislava, where a far-right radicalised gunman murdered two young men, Matúš Horváth and Juraj Vankulič, in front of a gay bar on 12 October. In a resolution adopted by 447 votes against 78 and 45 abstentions, they condemn hate and violence against “persons based on their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sex characteristics in both Slovakia and the EU”.
The text labels the attack a cowardly act of terror against the LGBTIQ+ community and says it was motivated by far-right ideology. It calls on the Slovak government to make “meaningful progress in the protection of LGBTIQ+ people” and to take a strong public stance against violations of their human rights.
Parliament expresses “grave concern over the frequent use of offensive, aggressive and homophobic language towards the LGBTIQ+ community in Slovakia, including by former and current members of the government”. The resolution also calls for “any form of cooperation with far-right extremist forces” to be rejected.
Hate crimes across Europe
Referring to similar hate crimes in Bulgaria, Croatia and Lithuania, MEPs voice deep concern over “the impunity with which anti-LGBTIQ+ groups, in particular far-right extremist groups, operate in some member states” and strongly condemn EU governments that rely on “support by far-right and other LGBTIQ+-phobic political parties to access and maintain themselves in power”.
MEPs worry that the younger generations “feel less and less concerned about the history of fascism”, including hate and “discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people, ethnic minorities and the Jewish population”. For this reason, they stress the need for school curricula to include the topic of different ideologies and their consequences.
Member states should make sure that hate crimes against LGBTIQ+ persons are investigated and prosecuted, including those committed online.
Add hate speech to the list of EU crimes
The EU should launch campaigns against anti-LGBTIQ+ narratives and fund programmes supporting grassroots organisations and citizens’ initiatives to help develop the population’s ability to resist right-wing extremism. MEPs also urged the Council to extend the list of EU crimes to include speech and hate crimes, asking Hungary and Poland to stop blocking the adoption of this decision.