ECI starts fourth term at the European Parliament – “New Commission President must do more to fight against antisemitism”

European Parliament

European ParliamentBrussels, May 27th, 2019 – Even before the last votes were counted in the European Parliament elections on Monday morning, one thing was clear. European Coalition for Israel is set to start its fourth five-year term in the European Parliament in Brussels working together with the new deputies in the 751-member parliament to fight antisemitism.

The new European Parliament, which will be in office from 2019-2024, seems to be politically more fragmented than ever before. Based on the election results on Monday, the two leading party groups, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats have lost some ground and are being challenged both from the EU-sceptics on the right and from a strong showing from liberal parties and the Greens.

“antisemitism starts with the Jews, but it never ends with the Jews. Now it is high time for all respectable forces throughout the political spectrum who care about the future of Europe to come together to fight this deadly disease,” ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell said on Monday.

European Coalition for Israel was founded in Brussels in 2003 at a critical time of rising antisemitism in Europe but with no organisation working at the EU-level to specifically counter this major threat to European democracy.

Much has happened since. New organisations have appeared on the scene, but antisemitism continues to pose a deadly threat to European Jewry. In 2015 the European Commission finally acknowledged the magnitude of the problem by appointing a special coordinator in the fight against antisemitism, Katharina von Schnurbein. Still to this day, ECI is the only non-Jewish advocacy group accredited to the European Union to combat Jew hatred.

“In this current climate of Jew hatred and bigotry it is important for the EU-decision makers to understand that the rise of antisemitism is of grave concern, not only to the Jewish communities, but to every European citizen who cares about the future of our continent,” Sandell said and added that “the next European Commission President must do more to combat antisemitism.”

Whereas former European Commission President José Manuel Barroso had Katharina von Schnurbein working directly under him in his own cabinet, when she was the EU-liaison for religious communities, the current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has distanced himself from the portfolio.

“This is regrettable. We now need a Commission President who makes the fight against antisemitism a key priority and not a side issue”, Sandell concluded.

The first plenary session of the new European Parliament will take place on 2nd-4th July but already tomorrow, on Tuesday 28th May, the EU heads of state or government will meet for a summit in Brussels to discuss the outcome of the elections and start the nomination process for the next heads of the EU institutions. The new European Commission President is expected to be nominated in June.


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