The European Parliament has called for public funding to be withdrawn from political parties, media organisations or businesses that incite to hate of a group of people on the basis of their race, religion, handicap, sexual orientation or nationality.

Meeting in Strasbourg, the parliament today adopted a resolution to show its concern that several EU countries have experienced increased hate crimes against minority groups.

The text of the resolution was adopted by 527 votes, with 15 against and 39 abstentions.

It calls for public funding to be withdrawn from “political parties that do not condemn violence and terrorism and don’t abide with human rights as set out in the Charter for Fundamental Rights.”

The charter was signed yesterday, with Poland and the United Kingdom choosing opt out.

It lays out civil, political, economic and social rights of all EU residents and will be appended to the EU new reform treaty once it is ratified by all 27 countries. The ratification process should be complete by the end of 2008.

In today’s resolution MEPs said that people in the public eye should “refrain from statements that encourage or incite to hate or stigmatisation of groups of people on the basis of their race, ethnic origin, religion, handicap, sexual orientation or nationality.”

It also said that being a public personality should be considered as an aggravating circumstance in incitement to hatred.

Another amendment adopted by 450 votes, with 93 against and 30 abstentions, said that in the 2009 European elections: “extremist parties may secure representation in the European Parliament and calls on the political groups to take the appropriate measures in order to ensure that a democratic institution is not used as a platform for financing and echoing anti-democratic messages.”

The resolution calls on the EU institutions to give a clear mandate to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights to investigate the structures of extremist groups, and for governments to give appropriate preventive responses regarding young’s people education and public information, teaching against totalitarianism.”

MEPs also expressed their concern about how to counteract the existence of public and easily accessible websites which incite to hatred without violating freedom of expression.

The resolution, which does not name concrete examples of extremist groups or associations in Europe, does include in such categories as neo-Nazis, neo-fascists and “movements, paramilitary groups and parties” which base their ideology on “racism, intolerance, incitement to religious hatred, exclusion, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Gypsism, homophobia, misogyny and ultra-nationalism”.

Among the most vulnerable groups mentioned are “migrants, Roma, homosexuals, anti-racist activists and the homeless.”