In today's world, we encounter racism and racial discrimination in day-to-day life, be it in employment, education, or any other sector. Xenophobic arguments, intolerance and hate speech are widespread, especially when it comes to comments on online social media. A call for EU project proposals to prevent and combat racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance has been launched with the aim of funding projects through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC).

This call will support projects that aim to prevent hatred by fostering tolerance and social cohesion, and other particular forms of intolerance, such as xenophobia, anti-Muslim hatred, homophobia, anti-migrant hatred, hate crimes against persons with disabilities, Afrophobia, among other forms.

Organisations awarded funds for projects under this call will aim to create a better understanding between communities, engage in awareness-raising campaigns and initiatives addressed to the public or to targeted groups and communities, and to organise mutual learning activities and exchange of best practices between Member States. In this regard, applicants are encouraged to seek partners.

Commission’s ongoing stand against racism

Although these trends and the severity of the discrimination encountered vary from one country to another, such trends are significant enough to be of a concern to the European Commission.

The Commission has, for several years, taken a firm stand against persistent expressions of this sort. It has emerged with sustained action in a bid to prevent and combat these trends, hence this call which forms part of series of actions taken over the years.

A High-Level Group has been set up by the Commission to act asa platform to support EU and national efforts in ensuring effective implementation of relevant rules and in setting up effective policies to prevent and combat racism and xenophobia. This is done by fostering thematic discussions on gaps, challenges and responses, promoting best practice exchange, developing guidance and strengthening cooperation and synergies between key stakeholders.

As European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vera Jourová put it, “the work done by the High Level Group is more important than ever in times of growing verbal and physical violence fuelled by hatred. Not only has the group contributed to monitor and turn into practice commitments agreed by the IT industry to curb the spread of hate speech on the internet, they have also contributed to drafting up key guiding principles on hate crime recording as well as practical guidelines on training police and judges on hate crime and on providing justice, protection and support to hate crime victims”.

On a national level, Malta stands at the forefront in addressing such issues by gradually introducing legal reforms to ensure that citizens are protected from racial abuse and other forms of intolerance.

Eligibility and assistance

Projects can be either national or transnational and must involve at least two organisations. The total EU grant applied for cannot be lower than € 75,000 with the EU co-funding rate being that of 80% of the eligible costs.

Should you wish to receive assistance in the EU funding application process, one can set up an appointment with the EU funding team at MEUSAC on [email protected] or by calling on 2200 3300. It is of pertinent importance for potential applicants to be aware of the fact that in order to be considered for the funds, applicants must satisfy the programme’s priorities.

The deadline to apply for the call is October 4, 2018.

Duncan Barry, Media and Information Officer at MEUSAC.

Article featured in The Malta Independent Daily on 18 June 2018