Minorities and immigrants have been hit by another wave of European racism and discrimination. French President Sarkozy’s expulsion of Roma and travellers’ camps met with international condemnation and demonstrations in the streets, but continues unabated now that the legal threat from the EU has been lifted.
Also in France, the proposed burqa ban, under the veil of being an education in republican values is a message to the muslim community - one that is echoed in Belgium, Holland and Switzerland.
Recently, Angela Merkel had no qualms about pronouncing that ‘multiculturalism has failed’ - her problem is that she is not hardline enough. In Germany, earlier this year, a report by the UN Human Rights Council found, but failed to name, widespread institutional racism. It called on a wide set of actions and suggested that the word ‘racism’ itself (which is only used in the context of WWII) be given due legal weight, so that institutions can finally name race hate crimes for what they are.