Xenophobic parties are gaining influence both in parliament and government and in the media debate in many European Union member states. This was disclosed at the International Day Against Racism last Sunday at the G├Âd├Âr Club, Erzs├ębet Square in Budapest.

Speaking at the Music Against Racism organized by ZARE and jointly sponsored by three foreign embassies here in Hungary, the Swedish ambassador, H.E. Cecilia Bj├Ârner, told the gatherings that certain parties among EU member states are promoting the politics of fear and intolerance which represents a threat to the democratic society incompatible with the principle of which the European Union is founded.

She reminded the participants that "racism is a significant threat to the principle of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights" which must be fought with firm and united voice. "Fighting racism is about speaking up, singing up, playing up; something that ZARE (Music Against Racism) is doing very well" she said.

The Deputy Head of the British Embassy, Ms Dawn McKen highlighted the main reason for supporting the Music Against Racism. She said that music is a powerful tool which often generates broad street interest, adding that the British Embassy would always support Hungarian activist musicians who want to spread anti-racism message. It is important "to encourage young people to come together to get involved in combating racism", she said.

US ambassador, Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, in her own message used President Barack Obama as a metaphor of hope and true change that the world needs. She recounted the popular belief that America will never witness an African-American president. Commending ZARE and the organizers, Ms Kounalakis said that music is one of the most important catalysts of change which is why "I think what you are doing is fantastic", she said.

ZARE (Music Against Racism) was founded last year August at the Budapest Ziget Festival to encourage the youths to shun discrimination of any kind so that we can live in a society not divided by hate.