Study period: 2015-2020

The Eurobarometer published by the European Commission in October 2015 warned that tolerance was retreating in Europe. Almost two-thirds of its citizens considered that discrimination was common, and 50% of Europeans shared this idea when applied to religious convictions. The groups that suffered the greatest levels of rejection were Jews, Muslims and Romanies. The Commission also raised the alarm on the rise of hate speech under the protection of a favourable context: internally, the economic crisis that much of the population were still suffering; externally, the crisis in the Mediterranean that led to an unprecedented wave of migrations.

Extending the timeframe to June 2020 makes it possible to include more recent cases and statistics, although the latter are not available in every case and are conditioned by collecting data from organisations and other circumstances limited by the coronavirus crisis and its unequal impact on the study countries. The 2020 pandemic has also meant that some observatories have not been operating due to confinement and restrictions on people getting together. In any event, it represents a comparative advantage over organisations that systematically study this field, in particular the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which provides a wide range of data, although with a considerable time lag.

The concept of chiffres noires

The study particularly emphasises the high level of unawareness regarding the real victims of hate crimes. There are useful official statistics on hate crimes, but there are also trends, phenomena and thousands of specific cases that do not appear in the official figures. The concept here is chiffres noires, as it is called in France (the dark figures of crime), which refers to the gap between the number of acts of discrimination reported to the police or legal authorities and how many actually take place. The National Advisory Board of Human Rights in France (CNCDH) claims that racist crimes are “a massively under-notified phenomenon”.

To cast light on these ‘dark figures’, civil society plays a key role in the methodology of this report. The study sets out to consult other studies and statistics by associations, organisations and observatories that work on the ground in the aforementioned countries, so they have direct contact with manifestations of hate and its victims. The value of their studies goes beyond merely quantifying cases and lies in their ability to reveal the small print of the consequences of hate and identify trends, problems and manifestations more quickly and in more detail than official bodies. Sharing data gives an accurate overview of the rise of hatred in the European Union and demonstrates the extensive documentation, recording and analysis required to really find out what is happening in our societies.

Overall, the report is based on a database with 60,000 examples of hate incidents reported by 141 organisations, associations and media in the six countries being analysed between 1 January 2015 and 30 June 2020.

The full list, broken down by country, can be consulted on the Excel file attached to this publication.

It is estimated that undeclared racist acts might account for over 60 per cent of cases in a country like France. Therefore, if they are not reported, they are not subject to judicial sentences, which helps to maintain a certain impunity, and in turn are harmful to victims and the cohesion of society.

Reporting an act is not something one does lightly; it is often a difficult step for the victim. The victim not only reports the physical assault, by their dignity is also affected by an attack on their group (or which they are considered to belong to).

Victims may therefore be faced with a number of obstacles, difficulty in expressing themselves or even fear of reprisals. These are all factors that discourage people from reporting. Indeed, even when victims decide to report a case, they may refrain from doing so at the last minute. This withdrawal is also a ‘dark figure’ that should be avoided if possible.

To reduce this phenomenon, the French CNCDH has made several recommendations in this respect:

  1. Generalisation of the online pre-reporting system, also requiring police officers to be properly trained, should never replace in-person reporting.
  2. Improving access to information is essential to help victims to take necessary measures: announce the mechanisms for reporting the crime (online or in person, at any police station), the option of writing directly to the prosecution authorities, demonstrating that a complaint must be made, drawing up systematic reports by schools if an infringement is detected, etc.
  3. The fight against discrimination is also carried out at an academic level, such as in universities. This explains why the CNCDH recommends strengthening the role of racism reference points in universities so that specific training can be offered on the area and discussion and exchange forums can be set up for victims.


Consultation with official bodies

The official statistics published by organisms of the European Union offer useful data on the countries studied in this report. These come from bodies such as the FRA, the European Commision or the OSCE, national entities such as the Ombudsman or the ministries and regional bodies involved.

Compilation of data from open sources

The Hate Crime Report published every year by the OSCE distinguishes between the data provided by police forces in each country and data from organisations, foundations and associations that work in the field and have a direct relationship with people affected by hate crimes. These data, although not considered official, provide a snapshot of the real situation that often does not reach police or legal channels, meaning that this information is not accounted for. Moreover, the mention of these institutions by the OSCE gives credibility to the data and information published by them.

These data are a starting point. The latest data published in the OSCE Hate Crime Report correspond to 2018, so the database that emerged from this report includes the data of national bodies published by the OSCE between 2015 and 2018.
To include more recent data covering 2019 and 2020, the lists of all the national bodies mentioned in the Hate Crime Report have been used, consulted or, as the case maybe, connected to be able to consult the data of their research on the ground and of their monitoring and reporting of acts related to the rise of hate. Over one hundred bodies have been consulted.

Prestigious observatories, foundations and organisations from each area of study have been used.

Processing the data

To organise and process the data, we have taken the OSCE’s table as a basis and added other variables such as place and number of victims, which is important. Furthermore, and compared to the OSCE studies, we have extended the category of motivation /group attacked and a description of the events, in an attempt to make analysis more accurate, reflecting the particularities of each country.



  • Spain
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Hungary

Type of motivation

  • Simple
  • Multiple

Tipo de incidentes

  • Threats
  • Attacks on property
  • Attacks on individuals
  • Attacks on individuals, attacks on property

Motivation (21 categories)

  • Christian symbology
  • Christian symbology and other
  • Anti-Roma sentiment
  • Anti-Roma sentiment, racism and xenophobia
  • Anti-Semitism
  • Anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia
  • Anti-Semitism, victims of the Holocaust
  • Discrimination for COVID-19
  • Homophobia
  • Homophobia, racism and xenophobia
  • Intimidation of representatives of the Rule of Law (Justice, Security Forces, Politicians, Journalists)
  • Islamophobia
  • Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia
  • Intimidation of representatives of the Rule of Law: security forces
  • Intimidation representatives of the Rule of Law: security forces and politicians
  • Political intolerance
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Racism and xenophobia
  • Racism and xenophobia, sex
  • Victims covered by the International Observatory of Studies on Terrorism
  • Victims of the Holocaust

Number of victims



Description (27 simple categories that are combined to give 99 forms of the exercise of violence)

  • Threats
  • Aggression
  • Aggression leading to death
  • Sexual aggression
  • Online attack
  • Terrorist attack
  • Glorification of Nazism
  • Glorification of terrorism
  • Harassment
  • Disturbances
  • Incitement to hate
  • Incitement to hate in schools
  • Incitement to hate in sports events
  • Imposition of language
  • Fire
  • Insults
  • Insults in sports events
  • Unspecified
  • Illegal occupation
  • Disturbance of the peace
  • Graffiti
  • Profanation of graves
  • Theft
  • Kidnapping
  • Pro-independence symbols
  • Suicide
  • Vandalism
Analysis of cases and tendencies

Cases have been selected with a particular impact on the countries in question, so that they can act as a sample to look at the trends in greater detail. The sources are as mentioned in the previous section, and will be completed with other newspaper sources.

List of sources by country


El Mundo
OIDAC, Observatory of Christianophobia
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Observatory of Christianophobia
Santa Sede, OIDAC, Observatory of Christianophobia
Santa Sede, Observatory of Christianophobia
Santa Sede
Coordination against racism and islamophobia (CRI)
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Kantor Center
SOS Homophobia
Transgender Europe (TGEU)
Consultation Network for the Victims of Racism
France 24
Kantor Center
New York Times
LICRA, SOS Racismo
SOS Racisme


Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism – RIAS, VDK Berlin, ZIF
Holy See
SETA: foundation for political, economic and social research
Kantor Center
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
Holy See, OIDAC
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism – RIAS, Kantor Center, VDK Berlin, ZIF

FAIR international – Federation against Injustice and Racism e. V.
Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism – RIAS
Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany
Jihad Watch
OSCE Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights
Munich Chronicle
RIAS Berlín
Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe
Der Tagesspiegel
Agencia de los Derechos Fundamentales
The Guardian


Action and Protection Foundation (TEV)
Transgender Europe (TGEU)
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
Action and Protection Foundation (TEV), UNHCR
Holy See
Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Working Group Against Hate Crimes
Transgender Europe (TGEU), Transvanilla Transgender Association
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union – HCLU, Transgender Europe (TGEU), Transvanilla Transgender Association
Kantor Center
SETA: foundation for political, economic and social research


Transgender Europe (TGEU)
Lunaria, SETA
Lunaria, Osservatorio antisemitismo
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Association 21 July
Osservatorio antisemitismo
Santa Sede, OIDAC
Santa Sede
Gay Center

Association 21 July, Lunaria
OSCE, Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights
Lunaria, SETA, UNHCR
Lunaria, UNHCR
ILGA-Europe, Arcigay
Corriere della Sera, Twitter


Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), Lambda Warsaw
ILGA-Europe, Lambda Warsaw, UNHCR in Polonia
Never Again
UNHCR in Polonia
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Ordo Iuris Institute
Open Dialog Foundation
Never Again, SETA
Never Again, SETA, UNHCR in Polonia
SETA, UNHCR in Polonia
Santa Sede
Never Again, Union of Ukrainians in Polonia
Never Again, SETA, UNHCR
UNHCR, Union of Ukrainians in Polonia
Union of Ukrainians in Polonia
Never Again, UNHCR
Never Again, Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), Lambda Warsaw
Never Again, Open Dialog Foundation, SETA

OSCE Office for Democratic Institution and Human Rights
Open Dialog Foundation, UNHCR
Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), Lambda Warsaw, Open Dialog Foundation
ILGA-Europe, Open Dialogue
Center for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Behavior, Never Again, Open Dialogue
Center for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Behavior
Center for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Behavior, ILGA-Europe
El Español
Open Dialogue
ILGA-Europe, Never Again
Grupa Stonewall, Never Again
Lambda Warsaw, Open Dialogue
Lambda Warsaw, ILGA-Europe
Never Again, Open Dialogue
Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH)


Cabinet of Social Studies (GES)
Cabinet of Social Studies (GES), OLRC
Catalunya Somos Todos
Madrid Observatory against LGTB phobia – Arcopoli
FELGBT, ILGA-Europe, Spanish Observatory against LGBTphobia
Union of Islamic Communities of Spain
OLRC, Union of Islamic Communities of Spain
Spanish Observatory against LGBTphobia
Madrid Observatory against LGTB phobia – Arcopoli, Spanish Observatory against LGBTphobia
OLRC, SETA, Union of Islamic Communities of Spain
Spanish Observatory against LGBTphobia, UNHCR

Cabinet of Social Studies (GES), UNHCR, Union of Islamic Communities of Spain
Cabinet of Social Studies (GES), Union of Islamic Communities of Spain
El País
The Guardian
Kantor Center, OLRC
Kantor Center
Muslim Human Rights Association
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Observatorio Cívico de la Violencia Política en Cataluña
Federación de Comunidades Judías de España y el Movimiento contra la Intolerancia
Observatorio para la libertad religiosa y de conciencia
SETA: foundation for political, economic and social research
El Independiente
El Mundo
La Sexta
Antena 3
Cadena Ser
El diario

Limitations of the study

The uneven quality of the data

The systematic study of acts of hate in Europe is relatively recent, leading to analysis methodologies that have improved in recent years. This means that data from 2015 is much less detailed than for 2019 or 2020.

Furthermore, each country has its own traditions. France appears to be the most systematic country when it comes to analysing data on hate crimes since 1990, as it has developed a system that involves both the judiciary and the police. In contrast, countries such as Hungary have scarce resources in this field, even in terms of the media.

A variety of methodologies

The open sources consulted also have a wide range of data collection methodologies. An effort has been made to standardise them, although in some areas the information is uneven.

Lack of observatories

There is a lack of observatories to study individual cases and thus produce better mapping.

Deficient representation of some phenomena

Hate-related phenomena that appear in this report are there because organisations exist to document them. The fact that some phenomena appear less, or not at all, could be related to a lack of organisations working on systematic documentation and reporting. In other words, there are some empty chairs around the table.

The current unmanageable magnitude of the phenomenon

Given the complexity of the phenomenon, this study has tried to be as comprehensive as possible, although it is impossible to include all acts of hatred. In any event, this report sets out to help devise a heat map that can raise the alarm concerning the growing number of hate incidents.