Tougher racism law set to be submitted to Greek Parliament

A bill introducing tougher penalties for racist offenses, including any carried out by politicians, will be submitted to Parliament by Friday, Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis said on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Athens-Macedonia News Agency, Roupakiotis made it clear that the draft legislation seeks to rein in far-right Golden Dawn.

“Beyond making penalties more stringent, this bill aims to provide solutions to the problems caused by the behavior of some parliamentary parties,” he said, admitting that the legislation has been prompted by Golden Dawn’s targeting of migrants.

“There is no point in mincing our words, it is about Golden Dawn but it is not just Golden Dawn that is active in Greece, it is the Golden Dawns around Europe,” added Roupakiotis.

The minister said that the issue had “matured” and it is likely to get cross-party backing. Opposition SYRIZA gave its backing to the bill on Wednesday, adding that it had been “very much delayed.”

Roupakiotis did not provide any details about what penalties politicians could face but said those “breaching the law, parliamentary rules and who undermine institutions” would face action. The bill is set to bring Greece in line with a 2008 European Union directive on combating racism.