Racism in Europe
has been a recurring part of the region's history. A study of social attitudes conducted at Harvard University
from 2002 to 2015 has mapped the countries in Europe with the highest incidents of racial bias, based on data from 288,076 Europeans.
It used the Implicit-association test
(a reaction-based psychological test that is designed to measure implicit racial bias). The weakest racial bias was found in Serbia
, and the strongest racial bias was found in the Czech Republic
, and Portugal
There has been racism in various parts of Austria. After the 2015 refugee influx, there has been increase in the number of cases of racism.
In 2011 the parliamentary party Ataka
, identifying itself as nationalist, attacked the mosque in the center of Sofia during the Friday prayer. In 2013 one of the leaders of another nationalist party, VMRO
, Angel Djambasky was put under investigation for calling the people to arm themselves against the immigrants.
At least 6 racist crimes are perpetrated between 3 and 13 November of every year. 112 intellectuals sign a petition to the attorney general not to register the party Ataka, which was rejected by the attorney general.
In October 2019, Bulgarian supporters shouted racist abuse towards Black English footballers during a match.
The National Popular Front, or National People's Front (Greek: Εθνικό Λαϊκό Μέτωπο (ΕΛΑΜ), Ethniko Laiko Metopo ELAM (Cyprus)
), is an ultranationalist movement (and later, political party) founded in 2008 in the Republic of Cyprus. The party has been the subject of controversy in the Cypriot media and broader political scene. It has been repeatedly accused of promoting racism and being involved in acts of violence. In 2021, the World Population Review rated Cyprus the most racist country in the European Union
YouGov ranks Denmark as the most racist country in northern Europe
and the third most racist in western Europe.
29% are intolerant of black people, Jews, Muslims, Romas or gays. 72% rated Romas as "totally negative" while 45% had negative feelings towards Muslims.
In 2014 it was reported that Adoptees with foreign background are often racially abused.
A Jew named Dan Uzan was killed by a Muslim in front of a synagogue as part of the 2015 Copenhagen shootings
. His funeral was attended by the prime minister and several members of parliament and he was named Dane of the year, because he prevented additional killings by the terrorist at the Jewish institution, which has since been kept under constant surveillance by Danish police in collaboration with Danish military.
Young non-ethnic Danes have complained that some police officers have acted in a racist manner.
Reports say that racial hate crime is a recent phenomenon, and that they are on the rise.
The numbers of reported hate crimes in 2003 and 2004 were 522 and 558, respectively. In 2009, they had increased to over 1 000 (including non-racist hate crimes). Racial hate crimes have fluctuated from 858 (2009) to 641 (2012)
and the typical suspect have been a Finnish-born young man. However, over 60% of the targets were reported to have been Finland-born, although those with foreign-born parents were counted as well. The most targeted immigrants in 2004 were reported to be of Somali
origin. One-third of the hate crimes were reportedly aimed at the Kale
, and only one in six were members of the native population.
In European Social Surveys since 2002, Finns have proved to be least racist just after Swedes. Earlier Finnish scientific data reveals that attitudes had been improving continuously for a long time.
Professor of Social Policy and responsible of Finnish ESS, Heikki Ervasti, denies a common thought of increased negative attitudes against immigrants.
A poll made in late 2011 revealed that the majority of the Finns viewed Finland as a racist country.
Two thirds considered the country to be fairly racist, 12% recognised a moderate amount of racism, and 2% admitted to be very racist; 35% agreed partly or wholly to the statement "Islam is a threat to Western values and democracy", and 29% agreed more or less to that "people belonging to certain races simply are not suited to live in a modern society". One in five thought "it needs to be recognised as a fact that some nations are more intelligent than others", and 11% agreed partly or completely to "people whose appearance and culture differ much from those of the Finns are unpredictable and frightening".
Of the countries in the European Union Finland tops the list of countries with the most racism.
In 1998 the Council of Europe's European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) made a report stating concern about racist activities in France and accused the French authorities of not doing enough to combat this. The report and other groups have expressed concern about organizations like Front National (France)
. In a recent Pew Survey
, 47% of the French deem immigration from Central and Eastern Europe
(mainly from Poland
, including Slavic
and Romani people
) to be a very bad thing. Likewise, the majority of French respondents revealed negative views on the immigration of Muslims
and Middle East
. A small minority showed signs of anti-Semitism. Roughly 11% had an unfavorable view of Jews
and 8% felt that US policy was most influenced by the Jews.
This section needs to be updated
. The reason given is: the section does not mention modern cases post-WWII
. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2021)
The period after Germany lost World War I
led to an increased use of anti-Semitism
and other forms of racism
in political discourse, for example among the right-wing Freikorps
, emotions that finally culminated in the ascent to power of Adolf Hitler
and the Nazi Party
in 1933. The Nazi racial policy
and the Nuremberg Race Laws
against Jews and other non-Aryans
represented the most explicit racist policies in Europe in the twentieth century. These laws deprived all Jews including even half-Jews and quarter-Jews as well as other non-Aryans from German citizenship. Jews official title became "subject of the state". The Nuremberg Race Laws forbid racially mixed sexual relations and marriage between Aryans and at first Jews but was later extended to "Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring".
Such interracial relations became a criminal and punishable offence under the race laws known as "racial pollution" Rassenschande
emerged as a fringe movement when it was founded in the early 1980s and since then, it has evolved into a far-right
group within Greece
. Members of Golden Dawn have been accused of carrying out acts of violence as well as hate crimes
, political opponents, homosexuals
and ethnic minorities. In late 2020, the party's leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, and six other prominent members and former MPs, were charged with running a criminal organization
and guilty verdicts on charges of murder, attempted murder, and violent attacks on immigrants and left-wing political opponents were delivered
and they were sent to prison.
report found that legal policies that should protect people from racism and xenophobia
were "not implemented effectively", and it also found that Hungarian public officials denied the fact that racism and discrimination were a problem in their country, despite evidence to the contrary. It noted that such factors contributed to the increase in extremist ideologies in Hungarian politics and media.
The Council of Europe has also criticized Hungary in a new report, condemning xenophobia and violence against migrants and minorities.
As in other European countries, the Romani people
faced disadvantages, including unequal treatment, discrimination, segregation and harassment. Negative stereotypes are often linked to the high level of unemployment among Romani people and their reliance on state benefits.
In 2008 and 2009 nine attacks took place against Romani in Hungary, resulting in six deaths and multiple injuries. According to the Hungarian curia (supreme court), these murders were motivated by anti-Romani sentiment
and sentenced the perpetrators to life imprisonment
Historically, the most serious racial problems in Ireland stemmed from the colonization of the country by the British, and the racist attitude of the colonists to the native Irish. The English considered themselves to be a distinct race from the Irish, who were classified as 'melanocroix', or 'half black' by Thomas Huxley
Depictions of the Irish in the popular British press throughout the centuries of British colonisation were noted for their portrayal of the Irish as subhuman.
Laws suppressing Irish culture and enfranchisement, outlawing the use of the Irish language
, education, and the practice of the Roman Catholicism were enforced during various periods from the 14th century onward (see Statutes of Kilkenny
and Penal Laws (Ireland)
During the second world war, although Ireland was officially neutral
, Taoiseach Éamon de Valera
was accused of sympathizing with and supporting the Nazi regime
of Adolf Hitler
in Germany. Following the death of Hitler in 1945, de Valera was one of many who signed a book of condolence and offered sympathies to the German ambassador at the Embassy in Dublin
This led to the belief among Allied leaders
such as Churchill
that de Valera and the Irish in general were supportive of the Nazi regime.
The substantial influx of Nazi war criminals to Ireland following the war and their acceptance into society both officially by the Government of Ireland and by the general public also lead to claims Ireland was tolerant if not supportive of the Nazi regime.
However, it must also be borne in mind that Germany had supplied guns to the Irish war of independence 20 years earlier, and so Irish sympathies to the Germans rather than their long-standing British oppressors can easily be understood in this way, rather than due to anti-semitism. (Main article: History of the Jews in Ireland
In mid-twentieth century Ireland there was traditionally very little immigration
in general to the Republic of Ireland, and hence little racial diversity, though in recent decades growing prosperity in the country (see: Celtic Tiger
) attracted increasing numbers of immigrants
, mainly from Central and Eastern Europe
and Sub-Saharan Africa
. Also the absence of colonialist baggage has meant that foreign people are not drawn to Ireland by "mother country
" factors that have affected other European countries. Descendants of Irish people
who emigrated in the past also started moving to the country. Most immigrants have settled in Dublin
and the other cities. Though these developments have been somewhat tolerated by most, there has been a steady rise in racist attitudes among some sections of society. A 2001 survey found that 51% of Irish people surveyed considered the country inherently racist 
and 60% of those in the 25 to 34 age-group considered "racism" to be an Irish trait. In 2005, Minister of State for Overseas Development, Conor Lenihan famously advised Socialist politician Joe Higgins to "stick with the kebabs" – referring to his campaigning on behalf of Turkish
contract workers who had been paid less than the statutory minimum wage. The Minister later retracted his remarks and apologized.
A 2008 EU-MIDIS survey of attitudes to minorities in the 27 EU States found that Ireland had the most racist attitudes to Afro-Europeans in the entire EU.
While most racist abuse in Ireland is verbal or confined to social media, violent hate crimes have occurred. In 2000, a white man was stabbed and seriously injured when defending his Jamaican
-born wife from racist abuse by a group of adult men.
In 2002, a Chinese
man Zhao Liu Tao (29) was murdered in Dublin in what was described as the Republic of Ireland's first racially motivated murder.
Later that year Leong Ly Min, a Vietnamese
man who had lived in Dublin since 1979,
was mortally wounded by two assailants who had been racially abusing him.
In February 2008, two Polish
mechanics, Paweł Kalita (29) and Mariusz Szwajkos (27) were attacked by a group of Dublin youths and died outside their home after each being stabbed in the head with a screwdriver. In 2010, 15-year-old schoolboy Toyosi Shittabey
, born in Nigeria
but brought up in Dublin, was killed. The only man to stand trial for the murder was acquitted on the direction of the trial Judge.
or Irish Travellers
, a nomadic ethnic group once speaking their own language, have also experienced persecution in past and modern times throughout Ireland.
The Mayor of Naas
Darren Scully was forced to resign on 22 November 2011 over comments on live radio about the "aggressive attitude" of "black Africans".
In June 2020, Hazel Chu
, a Green Party
politician and Irish woman of Chinese heritage
, was elected to the office of Lord Mayor of Dublin
. In the run-up to the election, she was targeted by National Party
leade Justin Barrett
and he was captured in a video stating that if his party were to gain power, he would work to strip her of her citizenship, despite the fact she had been born in Ireland and lived there since birth. He stated, "She is an Irish citizen, I accept that, that is the law until we get the law in our own hands
Later, a Twitter account operated by Barrett's wife made disparaging and racist comments towards Chu. Chu, in response, stated that she refused to be intimidated by such tactics.
The Irish Network Against Racism
raises awareness of and records incidents of racism in Ireland. Its report for 2020 documents 700 racist incidents, including graffiti, hate speech and assaults.
In a 2016 Pew Research Center survey conducted in the US and several European countries, the Netherlands scored lowest for the percentage of people who said that having people of different races living in their country improved it, whereas the US scored highest.
In a 2016 Pew Research Center survey conducted of the US and several European countries designed to measure countries' citizens acceptance of people of different ethnic groups, the Netherlands scored lowest for the percentage of people who said that having people of different races living in their country improved it, with the vast majority of Dutch respondents whether of liberal or conservative political leanings responding in the negative. In contrast, the US scored highest among all the countries surveyed, being more welcoming to people of different races and ethnic groups than even the highest-scoring European nation, the UK.
The researchers from the University of Amsterdam
and Utrecht University
conducted between 2016 and 2018 a research where they sent 4,200 job application letters to companies. The fictional applicants were between 23 and 25 years old, with four years of work experience who applied for real vacancies. All the applicants had a Dutch nationality, but the names and mother tongue of the applicants were adjusted. The conclusion was that Dutch people had the most chances of being invited for a job interview. The candidates with a Western immigrant background had 20% less chance of being invited. And the candidates who had a non-Western immigrant background faced the biggest discrimination with 40% of the applicants not being invited to a job interview. Especially applicants with a Turkish, Moroccan or Antillean background are discriminated against. A side note from the research was that during economic downturns there was an increased amount of discrimination. And applicants who were discriminated against with an improved CV didn't have a higher chance of being invited either.
portrayals of "Zwarte Piet
" in the Netherlands have been condemned as being racist in recent years.
The police have also been multiple times accused of jeopardizing the safety of anti-Zwarte Piet protest groups during violent attacks by pro-Zwarte Piet protest groups.
According to lawyer Jelle Klaas, the pro-Pete movement is starting to become more radicalized. And according to terrorism expert Teun Van Dongen, violence by the pro-Pete movement is becoming normalized. Because white supremacist groups like Pegida and football hooligans have joined the pro-Pete movement. Geert Wilders, leader of far-right populist party the PVV
, was also accused of indirectly supporting the violence behavior of the pro-Pete movement by tweeting, "There is only 1 #blackpete and he/she is BLACK!" (Original: "Er is maar 1 #zwartepiet en die is ZWART!"
) after a violent attack by the pro-Pete movement against the anti-Pete movement.
Far-right marches have gathered 60,000 participants chanting slogans like "We want God" and "Poland for Poles" as well as anti-semitic slogans.
Poland also have a major problem with racist football hooligans.
The ruling Law and Justice
party has been described as far-right.
The number of racist incidents in Poland is increasing.
In 2013 there were more than 800 racially motivated crimes and in 2016 it had increased to over 1600.
Poland tops the list of countries with most attacks on Indian students with 9 of 21 incidents.
In one survey measuring nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-religious minority sentiments, Portugal had the second highest average prevalence score among several European countries.
The term "pogrom
" became commonly used in English after a large-scale wave of anti-Jewish riots swept through south-western Czarist Russia
in 1881–1884. A much bloodier wave of pogroms broke out in 1903–1906, leaving an estimated 2,000 Jews dead. By the beginning of the 20th century, most European Jews lived in the so-called Pale of Settlement
, the Western frontier of the Russian Empire
consisting generally of the modern-day countries of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and neighboring regions. Many pogroms accompanied the Revolution of 1917
and the ensuing Russian Civil War
, an estimated 70,000 to 250,000 civilian Jews were killed in the atrocities throughout the former Russian Empire
; the number of Jewish orphans exceeded 300,000.
The main outcome of 2009 was a clear reduction in the number of victims of racist and neo-Nazi motivated violence for the first time in six years of observation conducted by SOVA Center. To some extent, credit should go to the law enforcement agencies who suppressed the largest and most aggressive ultra-right groups in the Moscow region in the second half of 2008 and in 2009. However, despite all efforts, xenophobic violence remains alarming in its scope and extends over most of the Russian regions, affecting hundreds of people.
The Russian Orthodox Church
"believes it is vital for Russia to pursue anti-extremist campaign and develop a sustainable strategy." As a result, it has called for immigrants to be given jobs and the opportunity to learn more about Russian culture
. In addition, it has called for skinheads to refocus their mission to legally preventing crime and immoral behavior.
have become the main target of Slovenian racists in the 21st century as the population is otherwise extremely homogeneous.
are viewed with less sympathy than other groups.
Racist abuse aimed at black footballers has been reported at Spanish football league
matches in recent years. This has led to protests and UEFA
fines against clubs whose supporters continue the abuse. Several players in the Spanish league including Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o
and Espanyol goalkeeper Carlos Kameni
have suffered and spoken out against the abuse. In 2006, Real Zaragoza player Ewerthon
stated: "the Spanish Federation have to start taking proper measures and we as Afro-European players also have to act."
Sweden is the least racist country in western Europe.
In 1922 Sweden established the Statens institut för rasbiologi
, or state institute for race biology.
The institute recommended the sterilization by force of the mentally ill, physically disabled, homosexuals and ethnic minorities, which was allowed by Swedish law until 1975.
According to the report Racism and Xenophobia in Sweden
by the Board of Integration, Muslims are exposed to the most religious harassment in Sweden. Almost 40% of the interviewed said they had witnessed verbal abuse directed at Muslims. European Network Against Racism
in Sweden claims that in today's Sweden there exists a clear ethnic hierarchy when ethnic Swedes are at the top and non-European immigrants are at the bottom.
In 1999, Neo-Nazis in Malexander murdered two policemen during a robbery to obtain funds for a fascist organization.
reported that the punishments for driving under the influence of alcohol tended to be harsher for immigrants than for Swedes; while over 50% of immigrants were sent to jail for driving under the effect of alcohol, only less than 30% of ethnic Swedes were sent to jail with the same level of alcohol found in blood.
There has been evidence that the Swedish police used "Neger Niggersson" as a nickname for a criminal in a police training; this was published in Swedish media.
Lately however, many incidents of racial attitudes and discrimination of the Swedish police have led for the first time to the control of racial attitudes of police students under police education 
A recent research done by the Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees (TCO) found that people with foreign background have much lower chances of finding a job that is appropriate for their education, even when they have grown up in Sweden and got their education in Swedish institutes.
In 2007, there were a total of 3,536 hate crimes (defined as crimes with an ethnic or religious motive) reported to the police, including 118 cases of anti-Semitic agitation.
Racism in Sweden is reported to appear within Swedish health-care services as well. A nurse at a Stockholm suburb hospital lost his job after complaining on racial attitudes of the hospital staff to patients with immigrant background. Staff was cited saying "go back
to Arabia", "the patient is screaming because it's in his culture."
Swedish social services have reported on racism in Swedish hospitals as well.
A study of statistics Sweden (SCB) reveals that segregation is widespread for Swedish immigrants when there are large differences in the fields of education, housing, employment and politics between immigrants and ethnic Swedes.
Sweden has been criticized by the UN human rights council for an increasing number of hate crimes which seldom resulted in criminal charges, when more hate crimes are Islamophobic, and homophobic, with an increasing amount of racist propaganda appearing on the internet and in Sweden's schools, for failing to provide adequate health care and education to immigrants, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants and the ongoing discrimination of the Roma and Sami minorities in Sweden.
A study was conducted in 2011 about the Swedes attitudes to mixed marriages. The conclusion was that the views in general were favorable, but that there was a strong hierarchy based on which groups to live with. Swedes primarily preferred relationships with Scandinavians, Western Europeans and Southern Europeans, and then Eastern Europeans, Central Europeans and Latin Americans. At the bottom were South and East Asians, Africans, and Middle Eastern people. Older individuals and women, as well as people with less education and people who were brought up outside of Malmö
(the most multicultural city of Sweden), were generally more prone to having negative attitudes. Most were able to accept family members and friends living in mixed relationships, even if they did not want to do it themselves.
Swedish national television (SVT) has reported on a new research done in Sweden which identifies that job seekers with a Swedish name have 50% higher chances to be called for an interview than job seekers with middle-eastern names. The research enlightens that there is not much difference between foreign-born job seekers and job seekers born in Sweden if both don't have a Swedish name; this indicates that ethnic discrimination is the main cause of the variations.
In 2012, Swedish Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was labelled a racist by The Afro-Swedish Society (Afro-svenskarnas riksförbund) because she cut up a cake in the shape of a naked African woman in public. Ironically, the cake was made by an Afro-Swedish artist.
In 2015, a Swedish man motivated by racism attacked people at a school in Trollhättan with a sword, killing four, including the perpetrator.
The Swiss Confederation
or Confederatio Helvetica
is a nation composed of four subcultural groups: German-speaking (63.7%), French-speaking (20.4%), Italian-speaking (6.5%) and Romansh
Swiss "Confederation Commission Against Racism" which is part of the Swiss "Federal Department of Home Affairs"
published a 2004 report, Black People in Switzerland
: A Life between Integration and Discrimination 
(published in German, French, and Italian only). According to this report, discrimination based on skin colour in Switzerland is not exceptional, and affects immigrants decades after their immigration.
Swiss People's Party
claims that Swiss communities have a democratic
right to decide who can or cannot be Swiss. In addition, the report said "Official statements and political campaigns that present immigrants from the EU in a favourable light and immigrants from elsewhere in a bad light must stop", according to the Swiss Federal Statistics Office in 2006, 85.5% of the foreign residents in Switzerland are European.
The United Nations
special rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène
, has observed that Switzerland suffers from racism, discrimination
. The UN envoy explained that although the Swiss authorities recognised the existence of racism
and xenophobia, they did not view the problem as being serious. Diène pointed out that representatives of minority communities said they experienced serious racism and discrimination, notably for access to public services (e.g. health care), employment and lodging.
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