Minister sees compromise over bill on racist crimes

Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis, who last month introduced a draft law foreseeing stiffer penalties for racially motivated crimes that has strained the unity of Greece’s coalition government, suggested on Monday that a compromise solution is likely.

“I believe that there is an undoubtable possibility for convergence between the proposals that have been made so far,” he said.

New Democracy, the main party in the three-member coalition government, has conceded that the existing anti-racism law needs revision to “fill in the gaps” but stopped short of supporting the draft bill, while junior coalition partners socialist PASOK and Democratic Left have said they will be drafting a joint proposal for Parliament. The government came under pressure last week from European Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom to iron out its differences over the draft law.

The bill is seen as an effort to curb the growing influence of far-right Golden Dawn.