Racism against Black people has escalated to unprecedented levels within the European Union, with the highest reports of racial harassment and discrimination documented in Austria and Germany, as revealed in an EU report published on Wednesday.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) surveyed first- and second-generation Black immigrants in 13 countries across the block. It found that around a third of respondents had felt racially discriminated against in the past 12 months — a rise of 10 percentage points from the previous survey six years ago.
But in Austria and Germany closer to two thirds — 64% — of respondents reported experiencing racial discrimination. The previous share in Germany had been 33%, meaning twice as many Black people experienced racism in Germany in the past 12 months compared to the previous survey.
“It is shocking to see no improvement since our last survey,” FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty said. “Instead, people of African descent face ever more discrimination just because of the color of their skin.”
Behind Germany, Austria and Finland had the highest levels of racial discrimination and harassment.
The lowest levels were seen in Portugal and Sweden with respondents in Poland also reporting low levels of racism.
Black people in the EU more likely to suffer from poverty
The FRA report found that 30% of respondents across the EU had experienced racial harassment in the past year, but few had reported it. It also found that young women, people with higher education and people wearing religious clothing were the most likely victims.
A third of respondents said that they had felt racially discriminated against when looking for work while 31% said that they had felt the same when trying to find a place to live.
The report also found that Black people in the EU were much more likely to fall into poverty, with 33% saying they struggle to make ends meet and 14% unable to keep their homes warm. For the general population, the share is 18% and 7% respectively.
The FRA called on EU member states to carry out steps to reduce racist harassment and discrimination, including the proper enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation, the identification and penalizing of hate crimes and the prevention and eradication of institutional discrimination such as in policing.
Three quarters of Black people report discrimination in past five years
The survey also asked respondents whether they had felt racially discriminated against in the past five years. A share of 45% said they had for the 13 countries surveyed, an increase of six percentage points from the previous study.
But again, Germany led the way with a whopping 76% of respondents saying they had experienced racial discrimination in the past five years.
The highest rates of racist harassment were also seen in Germany, with 54% of respondents saying they had been racially harassed in the past five years.