VIENNA: Racism towards Black people is growing in Europe, with Germany, Austria and Finland showing the highest rates of discrimination and harassment, a survey of first- and second-generation Black immigrants in 13 EU countries published on Wednesday found.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which commissioned the survey and analyzed its findings in a report, said that in the space of six years since the previous study the proportion of respondents who had felt racially discriminated against in the past 12 months had risen by 10 percentage points to 34%.

In Austria and Germany the proportion was 64% - almost twice the previous level of 33% in Germany and a significant increase from the 42% recorded in Austria six years earlier. The next worst was Finland with 54%.

"It is shocking to see no improvement since our last survey," FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty said. "Instead, people of African descent face ever more discrimination just because of the colour of their skin."

The proportion of respondents who reported feeling racially discriminated against over the past five years rather than 12 months rose to 45% across the 13 countries surveyed, an increase of six points from the previous study. The top three were the same, with Germany's rate the highest at 76%.

The poll carried out by Ipsos for the FRA was a sweeping survey of 16,124 immigrants and descendants of immigrants across 15 countries from which several FRA reports will be produced - on other ethnic minorities and Muslims. It was conducted between October 2021 and September 2022.

This report, entitled "Being Black in the EU," is the first produced from that wider survey. It focuses on 6,752 people born in sub-Saharan Africa or with at least one parent born there living in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

The proportion of respondents who said they had suffered racist harassment in the past five years was unchanged from six years earlier at 30%. The highest national rate was 54% in Germany, followed by Finland and Austria.

Portugal and Sweden were the countries with the lowest rates of harassment and, along with Poland, they had the lowest racial discrimination rates, according to respondents.

The FRA report included a series of recommendations for EU member states such as properly enforcing anti-discrimination legislation and considering a motivation based on racial bias as an aggravating circumstance when setting penalties for crimes. (Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Aurora Ellis)