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For  the first  time, concrete action  at European  level will  be undertaken
against racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism  through the 1997 European  Year
Against Racism which will be launched in The Hague on 30-31 January.  EU  and
national  level coordination  committees for  the 1997  European Year Against
Racism are  now operational.  With a  total budget  of ECU  4.7 million,  the
European Year  is primarily aimed  at complementing  and supporting  existing
efforts at national level to combat racism.

Plans  for  1997  as the  European  Year Against  Racism  were set  out  in a
Resolution on Racism,  Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism adopted by the EU Council
of Ministers  and representatives of the  Member States'  Governments meeting
within the Council, on 23 July 1996.  The Commission's proposal for the  Year
was made  in its  first ever  Communication on Racism,  Xenophobia and  Anti-
semitism which was  adopted in December 1995.  The Communication set out  the
justification for  continuing to develop  a European  response to  complement
national action  to  tackle the  problems  of  racism, xenophobia  and  anti-
semitism  in  our  societies, and  called  for    specific  powers to  combat
discrimination to be included in the new Treaty. 

Concrete Action

The European  Year Against  Racism will  be launched  in The  Hague on  30-31
January 1997,  at a conference jointly  organised by  the European Commission
and the Dutch Presidency  of the European Union.   The  opening conference is
designed to  create momentum  and  to give  prominence to  the issues  to  be
tackled.  To this end,  it will be both  a high level political event and  an
opportunity to  exchange information  and experiences  in key  areas such  as
employment, legal  instruments, media  and  racism which  occurs in  everyday
life.

For the  first time,  concrete  action is  being undertaken  at EU  level  to
combat racism, xenophobia and anti-semitism in partnership with the  European
Parliament and the Member States. 

The aim  of the Year is to complement and support the efforts of all relevant
national  and European  players,  by  encouraging cooperation  and  promoting
visibility at EU level.

Initiatives already taken

An Ad  Hoc Committee,  made up of  government and  NGO representatives at  EU
level, and National  coordination committees at Member State level, have been
set up. 

The Year's logo has been adopted (see attached). 

An  information  note  has  been sent  by  the  European  Commission  to many
potential partners (non-governmental organisations,  trade unions, employers'
organisations, local  and regional authorities, religious bodies, educational
establishments) as well as to individuals or local community groups who  have
demonstrated an interest in the Year.

Initiatives to come

The budget for the European Year  amounts to ECU 4.7 million, subject to  the
final decision  of  the  budgetary  authority.  This  budget  will  serve  to
stimulate widespread  action and involvement  against racism, xenophobia  and
anti-semitism.  It will  be  complemented by  other Commission  and  national
initiatives.

A  limited  number   of  local  and  regional  projects,  preferably  with  a
transnational  dimension,  will  be supported  by  the  European  Commission,
following a call for projects early in 1997.

There will be two main strands of activity :

- Information and communication, which will include political events, sports
  and cultural events, and media campaigns.

- Exchange of experience,  which will promote local  and regional  projects,
  expert seminars and European-level conferences.

Background - other activities to combat racism

In October 1995, the  Commission made a  proposal to create a  new strand  of
the  Employment-Horizon  Community  Initiative,  "Employment-Integra",  which
will put a particular  emphasis on actions that focus on the special needs of
groups  who  are  targeted  by  racist  resentment  and  discrimination, i.e.
immigrants, ethnic minorities, refugees and gypsies.

The  Commission also  supports  pilot projects  run  by NGOs  and immigrants'
associations.   At the initiative of the European Parliament, ECU 3.4 million
was allocated  in the  1995 Community  budget  to promote  actions to  combat
racism.

In  the  Summer of  1995,  the  Commission  launched  the Cities  anti-racism
project, designed  to support a small series  of local initiatives to promote
local  partnership  to tackle  three priority  issues:  prevention  of racist
violence and  youth delinquency; the  development of a multi-agency  approach
to the  monitoring  of racist  incidents  and  the promotion  of  responsible
citizenship and local democracy in multi-cultural societies.

In October 1995, the social  partners adopted an important  joint declaration
on the prevention of racial  discrimination and xenophobia and  the promotion
of equal treatment at the  workplace.  The declaration was drawn  up with the
technical support of the Commission.

The Commission will launch a  new Eurobarometer survey on  racism, xenophobia
and  anti-semitism, to  update the  information  first obtained  by way  of a
survey carried out in 1988.

Early this  year, the  Commission published  an updated version  of its  1992
report on  legal  instruments implemented  in  the  Member States  to  combat
racism  and xenophobia.  It will continue to update it in the future.  In the
1996  edition  of its  annual  report  on  immigration  from third  countries
(RIMET), the Commission will put a special emphasis on the problem of  racism
and measures taken by the Member States to combat it.

The  Commission will  continue  to  support the  International  Federation of
journalists' Media Award  to promote media awareness of racism and xenophobia
issues.  It will  also support efforts made  by NGOs to facilitate  access to
the media professions for  young people from immigrant   and ethnic  minority
backgrounds.

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