In the European Union, discrimination on the basis of race and ethnic origin is prohibited by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and a number of other treaty documents. We also have European legislation against racism, racial discrimination and hate speech, such as the Racial Equality Directive and the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia. However, further measures are needed to address the persistent inequalities in the Union. We asked MEP Milan Uhrík what these are. In an interview with LP-Life.com, he discussed how the European Union is addressing these problems and whether and how the Slovak president is fighting discrimination. Milan Uhrík also mentioned the inaccurate statistics in the registration of hate crimes, equal opportunities and the huge business with EU funds, which are massively abused.
Mr Uhrík, what is the role of the European Parliament in tackling problems relating to xenophobia and racism, or how does the European Union combat racism and xenophobia?
The EU fights these things rather virtually, by supporting NGOs that mostly try to blame the majority on the principle of collective guilt, for example, that everyone is racist, and therefore it is necessary to support selected marginalized communities and selected NGOs. That is roughly what it looks like within the union.
By racism, we traditionally mean some theory of racial superiority or condemnation of someone for being a member of another race. Xenophobia is the fear or apprehension of the unknown, of the stranger. However, I think that these terms are nowadays purposefully misused for political manifestations, for political purposes, and are gradually losing the meaning that they actually have in reality.
These statistics do exist, but they are very inaccurate. It should be noted that these statistics are recorded in Slovakia, but also throughout the European Union, mostly only as crimes against minority populations. It does not matter what ethnic group is involved. But there are, of course, also acts by the minority against the majority that are not recorded as racist crimes. For example, if immigrants in France or Germany attack the majority population, it is not registered. It is overlooked, it does not fit into these statistics. So, there are statistics, but they are very distorted, they are artificial... they just don't reflect reality as it truly is.
As I said, the European Union has created a system of NGOs, many of which have literally made a living, a livelihood and a political career out of the fight against racism. Unfortunately, in the minds of these NGOs, which are therefore ostensibly fighting racism, the fight against racism is only a kind of fight against whites. It's mostly oriented in that direction, and indeed, if you look at those anti-racist organizations, they're directed at defending minorities of colour against the majority population, and almost fundamentally never the other way around. Of course, there is also racism from the other side, people in eastern Slovakia who live near settlements of anti-social inhabitants could tell you about it.
I personally see the solution in the introduction of meritocracy into the system. This means that everyone should really live the life they deserve, and in eliminating the so-called positive discrimination, which only deepens these differences.
The "most racist countries", according to these statistics, are the countries of central Europe, whether it is Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland or Hungary, because they do not want to accept immigrants and people speak negatively about them. From a Western point of view, these countries are statistically "seemingly" the most racist. In reality, the Slovaks are not just racist. They just love and defend what we have in Slovakia. This means that they do not want Slovakia to be influenced or "overpowered" by foreign cultures that are not compatible with our civilization, our culture and our way of life.
Germany or France, which is where they accept the most immigrants, as these countries themselves say. They paint themselves as some kind of role models for other countries, as some kind of models of progress. Possibly the Nordic and Scandinavian countries as well. But I do not think that these statistics and rankings are objective.
There are more studies and statistics. Every NGO has its own. Slovakia and the Czech Republic have traditionally been at the tail end of these anti-racist statistics. You see, nowadays, it is no longer enough just not to be racist. Today you are bad if you are not anti-racist. That is, unless you actively participate in various political anti-racist rallies.
Good or bad? Our President, Mrs Čaputová, comes from a background of NGOs funded also by Mr Soros, so she is doing what she is doing, standing up for those she stands up for, and of course not for the majority population. We have seen this, for example, in the thwarting of the referendum, when she completely erased the will of the almost 600 000 people who signed the referendum sheets and the millions of people who agreed to call a referendum on early elections. So they are fighting to protect various minorities, not only ethnic minorities but also sexual minorities, for example, but unfortunately not to protect the interests of the majority population.
It is difficult to judge the Czech Republic, let the Czechs judge for themselves. I think that in terms of the President, they are a millimetre better off than the Slovak Republic.
If you are referring to Black Lives Matter-style protests and demonstrations, I consider these to be purely political demonstrations on which many NGO activists and aspiring politicians are trying to build their political careers. These are organizations and protests that are funded on purpose by various governmental or non-governmental funds that literally make a kind of political trade out of it. I certainly do not plan to join or support such protests because, as I said, I am not a racist, but I will not support these anti-racist demonstrations that are explicitly aimed, let's face it, against the majority white population.
MEPs are doing well. They are disconnected from real life. The vast majority of them, I'm not talking about all of them, of course, are disconnected from real life. And President Trump has in many ways shaped himself as a patriot, as a nationalist, as a conservative-minded American president. That was the reason why liberal or progressive-minded MEPs did not like him and voted against him in a resolution of condemnation. I am convinced that, whatever President Trump did, he would always be considered bad by these politicians.
In June 2020, the European Parliament declared that racism and discrimination have no place in our society. This was announced in the wake of the worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd. MEPs called on the US authorities to take action to address structural racism and inequality in the country. Some time has passed since then. How do you perceive this in hindsight?
It is first and foremost a matter of the United States of America, which as a Slovak politician does not interest me very much. It is their internal matter. But I don't think there is any structural racism in the United States, as they call it. If that were the case, there would not be an African-American president of the United States twice in a row, and there would not be many actors, singers, millionaires within Hollywood who are also African-American or black.
Many MEPs are currently concerned about the resurgence and growing support for extremist movements and parties in Europe.
For these MEPs, anyone who does not share their views is an extremist. It is a phrase, a word that is also beginning to lose its original meaning. Actually, anyone who loves his or her country, who has respect for and respects traditional pro-nation values, who respects the pro-life approach to life and things like that, gets labelled an extremist these days. We are all extremists. We are all criminals or villains of some kind. We have to accept that. These people will never talk about us in any other way.
I do not think that these organizations are growing or expanding within Europe, if we mean the ones that they call extremist or racist. I think that the Slovaks and the Czechs are peaceful nations, they love their families, their countries, their states and they just protect what is theirs.
Yes, that is true. For example, politicians in the current Slovak Government, and there are certainly others like them in the Czech Republic, have again built their campaign on the theme of racism, and you will hear nothing but talk of racism or discrimination from their mouths. It is these politicians who bring these themes to the table. If these politicians were not here, these topics would be absolutely non-existent in the lives of ordinary people in the majority population.
Jews or Hungarians are considered to be a problematic group in Slovak society. The Roma minority is an even greater problem. Why is this so?
I know many Roma or Gypsies who are decent, who work, have trades, run construction sites, work. Of course, there are others who do not live like that. They hold their hands out at post offices, waiting for social benefits. Again, that's like a calling card of these people. But I don't think it's right to lump everyone together. I think that within the welfare system, but also within the state system, there should be equality of opportunity for everyone. Equal opportunities, so that everyone who is smart and has the desire to work, has talents, aptitude or abilities, gets the opportunity to make it in the state within society and to be successful, to live a decent life. The fact that someone does not want to live this way because they choose to, or because they are incompetent - unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about that. It's either their personal choice or a consequence of their lesser talents, but we can't blame it on the majority of society.
In the western EU states, the biggest problem group is mostly non-European immigrants or the descendants of these immigrants, who have created their own ghettos there, where not only the inhabitants of these states, but even the state agencies and forces no longer dare to enter. So-called no-go zones are being created there that are completely beyond the control of the state, beyond the reach of the ordinary decent Frenchman, German, Italian or anyone else.
According to MEP Romeo Franz, there are several racists sitting in the European Parliament. He mentioned a few names, including yours.
MEP Romeo Franz is a Roma of German origin, or let’s say German, who has built his political career on the subject of racism, and that is his livelihood, I assume for life. He has no other agenda than these accusations and these issues. Of course, even if there were no racists in the European Parliament at all, he will always find someone to be the bad guy for him, because he simply needs it for his survival.
I definitely think that extremism is something bad, wrong, and in this context, I must say that I consider the actions of the current Slovak government towards the majority population to be more extremist. This is leading to much greater social tensions, conflicts, but also, for example, protests, even blockades and things like that between the general population and the government. This is the real extremism that polarizes society and pits it against each other. It is not right to divide people according to whether they have been discriminated against, whether they’re sterilized Roma or Jews. I think the same standards should apply to everyone. If someone is to be compensated, then everyone across the ethnic or national spectrum should be compensated, not just selected ethnic or national groups.
These EU funds are being massively exploited and stolen by NGOs and the aforementioned anti-racist activists who have made a living out of the fight against racism. Within our movement we have filed several criminal complaints, for example, against the former Government Commissioner for Romani Communities, who promised, for example, to build some work centres and similar things where Romani people could be employed, and there’s nothing but the bare ground still. They just took the subsidies. Alternatively, they are taking subsidies for absolutely pointless projects where Romani from the settlements are being trained to be accountants, yet these are people who have not completed their primary education, so them doing double-entry bookkeeping, balance sheets, profit and loss statements is absolutely out of question at that initial stage, obviously, because they lack elementary work habits. So these funds - it is a huge business, there is a huge advertisement around it, but they do not really help anything!
I think that European policy not only cannot be more effective, but it is also even counterproductive, because the European Commissioners who do not live in Slovakia are not aware of what the real situation is here. What do they know, when they do not even live here, they do not own houses here, they do not come here, they do not travel here. We as Slovaks know better. Czechs, Hungarians or anyone else knows better. It should be a topic that each state should deal with individually at its national level, because the people in that state know best what the relationships are, the disputed friction points between the different communities, and how to resolve them for the best. Certainly a Commissioner in Brussels sitting in his air-conditioned office will never know better than us.