Fundamental Rights Report 2024: Rising poverty and alarming racism


The annual report on the state of the fundamental rights in the EU published by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) last month, shows a detrimental impact of the rising energy and living costs on equality and inclusion in European societies especially for children and vulnerable households, like those in single-parent, Roma and migrant families. Another big issue reported is the racism and related forms of intolerance which came into sharp focus in 2023, particularly after the conflict between Israel and Hamas triggered an alarming rise in hate crimes against Jews and Muslims across many parts of Europe.

FRA studies from 2023 showed that other social groups (e.g. Roma people or people of African descent) continue experiencing a widespread racism, violence and discrimination in Europe. In its recommendations, FRA has identified four elements that are required to address the challenges. The first element is to acknowledge the extent of racism and related forms of intolerance in European societies, including their systemic and structural forms. The second element is to ensure that the EU and Member States systematically collect comprehensive and reliable fundamental rights data. The third element is that the EU and Member States should engage affected communities in the fight against racism. The fourth element is to take a firm stand against all forms of intolerance and racial discrimination, including hate speech and violence. ETUCE supports these recommendations and underlines also the importance of teaching democratic citizenship and transmission of fundamental values through education, especially against the divisive far-right and nationalistic political rhetoric. Among other things, it includes curricula based on students’ rights and representing different cultures, the importance of understanding historical processes and the ability to analyse history critically way, and ensuring the implementation of democratic citizenship programmes, including in the professional development of education personnel.

The report also looked at the impact of the greater use of Artificial Intelligence and digitalisation of public services on the inclusion and equality, highlighting that it can facilitate the ‘othering’ of particular groups through disinformation or the spread of online hatred and by creating barriers for vulnerable demographic groups, including children, older people and people with disabilities. Furthermore, the use of AI in the public services, education and employment poses particular risks related to algorithmic bias against women, racialised groups and minorities, often with little recourse or accountability available to victims. ETUCE highlights that providing the relevant initial and continuous teacher training on the use of ICT tools, digital technologies and media to foster inclusion in education is crucial for addressing these risks. Moreover, ETUCE calls on removing barriers to access education posed by the gaps concerning access to digital infrastructures of educational institutions, both in the urban and rural areas, by investing in sustainable, low-carbon emissions, healthy and safe school buildings as well as in safe and quality digital infrastructure.

See the Fundamental Rights Report 2024 here: Rising living costs and racism threaten fundamental rights protection in Europe: FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2024 | European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (