In the presence of the family of Paweł Adamowicz, the recently murdered Mayor of Gdańsk, the European Parliament will today debate means by which to tackle the climate of hatred and violence against politicians that has been rising in Member States.

Janusz Lewandowski, Head of the Polish Delegation in the EPP Group, stated, “It is with sadness that we hold this debate today, having to concern ourselves with hatred and violence directed against politicians, public figures and journalists in Europe. Ruling parties in several EU Member States, including Poland, use hate speech to foster the fragmentation of society and as a method to gain political points. In their hands, public media outlets have been used to incite discrimination, hatred and violence, thereby stifling progressive political debate. The consequences vary from mocked-up pictures of politicians hanging from gallows on our streets to tragic losses of lives.”

“An atmosphere of hate is a threat to an open political debate and ultimately to a democratically functioning society. This toxic culture of hate speech and fear must stop now. Even in politics, the end does not justify the means. Politicians must not be scared to speak out and defend the values they believe in. To ensure democracy and plurality in society, politicians cannot live in fear of suffering the same tragic fate as Paweł Adamowicz. Genuine public debate, media freedom and a free civil society are the ultimate preconditions to safeguard this,” Janusz Lewandowski added.

“What has happened in the last few weeks is deplorable, but simple condemnation is not enough. It’s up to us to ensure that the values of liberty, justice and freedom triumph over hate speech,” concluded Lewandowski.

NOTE TO EDITORS

The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 217 Members from 28 Member States

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