EU hints at slavery reparations

Lazy eyes listen


Slavery in Europe was a “crime against humanity” that caused “untold suffering” for millions, EU leaders said on Tuesday in a statement that included mentioned a 10-point reparations plan. Following a two-day summit in Brussels, the declaration was released in collaboration with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

According to the statement, EU leaders acknowledged and “profoundly” regretted their countries’ roles in the transatlantic slave trade, calling them “appalling tragedies… not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude.”

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) drafted the reparations plan described in the summit statement in 2014, and it requests that European nations apologize formally and offer financial, social, and even psychological compensation.

In addition to canceling the debts of descendants of slaves on an individual and national level, the declaration calls on EU member governments to fund a “indigenous peoples development program,” cultural and public health institutions for their former colonial properties, literacy programs, and Caribbean industry modernization.

The plan emphasizes the importance of strengthening relationships with African communities from which slaves were “stolen” for labor on Caribbean plantations, including advocating for the repatriation of any slave descendants who desire to return to Africa.

While some European leaders objected to the inclusion of reparations, CELAC president and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister Ralph Gonsalves insisted that the summit statement include a mention of “reparatory justice” for the “historical legacies of native genocide and enslavement of African bodies.”

Dutch King Willem-Alexander offered a formal apology for the Netherlands’ role in the slave trade earlier this month, stressing that racism remained a problem in Dutch society. Prime Minister Mark Rutte issued his own public apology in December, acknowledging that the Netherlands played a crucial part in the Atlantic slave trade and gained handsomely from it, while also stating that the government would not pay reparations.