Romania has become today a regional model in combating Anti-Semitism and xenophobia and, also, a model in what concerns education and measures meant to keep the memory of the Holocaust, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila stated on Thursday in the opening of the conference “Fight against Anti-Semitism: a joint approach for a better protection of the Jewish communities in Europe – from practices to action,” organised by Romania, in the context in which Romania is currently holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.
“The international conference I had the pleasure to open today represents a very special event of the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU, as a direct illustration of our priorities. One of these is an Europe of common values efficiently fighting racism, intolerance, xenophobia, populism, Anti-Semitism and discouraging hate speech. In the current European context, marked by a concerning increase of intolerance phenomena, this event is aimed at promoting a substantial debate among the members of the Jewish communities in Europe and in the United States, representatives of the European organisations and institutions, as well as national representatives,” stated Viorica Dancila.
The PM brought to mind that Romania exercised the presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance between March 2016 and March 2017.
“The decision to take over the presidency of this organisation reflected Romania’s strong commitment in acknowledging its own past, honoring the victims of the Holocaust and getting involved in the international actions against Anti-Semitic, extremist and xenophobic manifestations. Also, by implementing the recommendations of the Wiesel Commission, Romania wants to contribute to the strengthening of education in the Holocaust field, preserving public memory of the Jews suffering, as well as the Roma genocide, so that the lessons of the past become our foundation for peace and stability,” stated Dancila.
The PM underscored that one of the important achievements of the Romanian presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is “the adoption of the working definition of the Anti-Semitism.”
“The Romanian diplomacy had a major contribution to this, through the involvement of the late Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, former President of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, in the memory of which we organised this very event,” said Dancila.
She also announced, on the same occasion, that steps are made for the Romanian Diplomatic Institute to be named after Mihnea Constantinescu.
She pointed out in the same context that the echoes at world level of the adoption of this definition were significant.
“The European Parliament in June 2017 adopted a resolution regarding the fight against Anti-Semitism, which I also signed in my capacity as MEP on behalf of the Social Democratic group, through which the EU member states were invited to adopt the definition at national level. Romania marked thus an important step in combating Anti-Semitism at European and world level. Our country’s approaches are in line with the drafting by the European Commission of a behavior code for combating online hate speech and for the adoption of the declaration of the Council regarding the fight against Anti-Semitism and the creation of a common security approach to protect the Jewish communities and organisation as best as possible. Despite all these existing instruments and initiatives, however, as the recent survey conducted by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights also discovered, Anti-Semitism continues to be an increasing problem in the European societies. I believe that the promotion of an exchange of opinions, the permanent consultation of the Jewish communities, as well as their involvement in the measures considered for fighting Anti-Semitism are absolutely necessary,” said Dancila.
The PM underscored that “Romania became a regional model in combating Anti-Semitism and xenophobia and, also, a model in what concerns education and measures taken in preserving the memory of the Holocaust.”
“Many of you here in the room are friends of Romania, who were close to us during this extraordinary journey of recovering our memory and understanding our peers. I thank everyone again and I hope that we will have them close in the future too. Which is why I invite you to see each other again in the first part of March at an event organised in Bucharest, where we will have the occasion to discuss, especially, about the preservation of the memory of the Holocaust,” said Dancila.
Participating in the event organised in Romania were, among others, First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder.