Record number of BME MEPs in EU Parliament

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An historical fact has been overlooked in the recent European elections because all eyes have been focused upon the success of the anti-immigrant Brexit Party and its xenophobic undertones, and the even worse extreme Right wing parties that also made big political gains across Europe too.

Here in the UK we had a net loss of one BME MEP - mainly Conservatives- but an introduction to many new faces, including the young dynamic Mayor of Sheffield ,Magid Magid, who becomes the first Green MEP of African descent . The Lib Dems have finally broken their mould by getting elected two BME MEPs in the shape of Shaffaq Mohammed and Dines Dhamja. And Labour has kept two of its most formidable MEPs Claude Moraes and Neena Gil. The Conservatives in Scotland witnessed their party’s only BME MEP, with Baroness Nosheena Mobarik.

But it’s on main land Europe where the biggest gain of BME MEPs have occurred the majority of African descent and many of them from France, which historically has had few BME MEPs. They include:

  • Samira Rafaela -Holland
  • Assista Kanko –Belgium
  • Evin Incir – Sweden
  • Pierretta Herzberger- German
  • Mounir Satouri – France
  • Younous Omarjee - France
  • Maxette Grisoni-Pirbakas - France
  • Salima Yenbou- France
  • Nora Mebarek – France
  • Lelia Chaibi – France
  • Karima Delli- France
  • Monica Semedo – Luxemburg
  • Malik Azmani- Holland
  • Alice Bah Kuhnke – Sweden

There is no doubt that the growing African Diaspora in mainland Europe is beginning to make its presence felt. Earlier this year we saw an EU Directive urging nation states to do more to tackle the scourge of Afrophobia. This new wave of dynamic politicians of African and Asian descent will add to the growing chorus campaigning for greater race equality.

On a personal note, and as one of the founders of the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network- now in its 8th year- I am particularly proud to see three women, Assita Kanko, Samira Rafael , and Swedish born Albanian Arba Kokalari from that programme get elected to the European Union.

Let’s hope that this record number of BME MEPs can work closely together, supporting each other on a common goal for racial and social justice and equality.

Simon Woolley

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