EU countries agree to step up fight against anti-Semitism

Brussels - European Union countries have agreed to intensify the fight against anti-Semitism and boost security for Jews throughout Europe.

The 28-nation bloc's interior ministers adopted a declaration on Thursday acknowledging hatred against Jews "remains widespread".

"The declaration invites member states to adopt and implement a holistic strategy to prevent and fight all forms of anti-Semitism," it said.

"It calls on member states to increase their efforts to ensure security for Jewish communities, institutions and citizens."

The ministers urged member states that have not done so to adopt a common definition of anti-Semitism to better identify and investigate attacks against Jews.

They asked the member states to offer financing and carry out security measures for Jewish communities, institutions and citizens.

The declaration called on the member states to "take appropriate measures against hate crimes and incitement to violence or hatred against Jewish people."

It asked them to join in existing EU and other multinational training programmes to boost their ability to record and collect hate crimes data.

It invited member states to stress the importance of Holocaust remembrance and education for all as well as research in this field.

The World Jewish Congress hailed the declaration as recognition by all EU member states that "serious action" is needed to tackle anti-Semitism.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights said that few EU member states record anti-Semitic incidents in a way that allows them to collect "adequate official data".

France, home to Europe's largest Jewish community, said it saw the number of reported anti-Semitic attacks and threats rise 69 percent to 385 between January and September this year, after two years of declining violence.