European Union should do more to uphold Roma Rights

Press Release

European Union should do more to uphold Roma Rights

Brussels, 8 September 2010. The European Roma Policy Coalition has reiterated its call for the urgent adoption of a European Framework Strategy on Roma inclusion as a step towards eliminating discrimination against the Roma community. The Coalition has sent a letter to José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, and Members of the European Parliament, expressing its concerns.

The call follows the European Parliament’s emergency debate yesterday on the situation of Europe’s Roma people. The Coalition has guardedly welcomed a statement by Viviane Reding, the European Justice Commissioner, that the European Commission will examine whether the evictions of Roma citizens from France are in fact legal. “We’d expected the Commission to have concluded its investigations by now. This sluggish pace is disappointing. If the Commission finds these measures breach EU law, we expect it to take swift legal action”, said a Coalition spokesman.

The Coalition also endorsed Ms Reding’s commitment to improve the effectiveness of European policies which promote Roma inclusion, particularly benchmarking of EU Structural Funds to promote Roma Inclusion and establishing a Commission task force. The Coalition also supports Ms Reding’s call to hold a joint Justice and Social Affairs Council meeting and asks the Belgian Presidency to embrace the idea. “We hope yesterday’s announcement by the Commission will lead directly to a comprehensive strategy for Roma inclusion”, said the Coalition spokesman. “We must now ensure that the proposed measures produce lasting improvements to the lives of Roma people throughout Europe.”

Anticipating the European Parliament’s vote on its resolution on 9 September, the Coalition expressed the hope that Parliament will issue a clear statement on the responsibility of the EU and national governments to promote equal opportunities for Roma people and safeguard all citizens against discriminatory treatment.

The Coalition has been deeply concerned at discriminatory measures deployed against Roma people by some EU countries. The most recent high-profile cases have been in Italy and France, where the government has evicted Roma people and Travellers from unauthorised settlements and expelled some of them to their countries of origin. There have been other recent instances of similar action against these communities in Germany and Denmark.

Note to editors:

The European Roma Policy Coalition is an informal gathering of non-governmental organisations operating at EU level on issues of human rights, anti-discrimination, anti-racism, social inclusion, and Roma and Travellers’ rights. Its members are Amnesty International, the European Roma Rights Centre, the European Roma Information Office, the Open Society Institute, European Network Against Racism, Spolu International Foundation, Minority Rights Group International, the European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network, Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, the Roma Education Fund, and Fondaciòn Secretariado Gitano.

For further comment/background and interviews, contact:

Amnesty International European Institutions Office (Brussels)
Tel: +32 (0)2 502 1499/+32 (0)2 548 2773
E-mail: [email protected]

ERGO Network (Brussels)
Tel: +32 (0)2 28 931 049
E-mail: [email protected]

European Network Against Racism (Brussels)
Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70
E-mail: [email protected] / [email protected]

European Roma Rights Centre
Tel: +36 30 500 1324 (mobile); E-mail: [email protected]

Open Society Institute – Brussels
Tel: + 32 (0)2 505 4646; Fax: +32 (0)2 502 4646

European Roma Information Office
Tel :0032(0)27333462; Fax:0032(0)27333875; e-mail : [email protected]

Open Society Institute -Brussels
Tel: +32 (0)2 505 4646; Fax: +32 (0)2 502 4646

Spolu International Foundation
Tel: +31 30 232 8042; Fax: +31 30 232 8043; E-mail: [email protected]

Minority Rights Group International
Tel: +44 (0)20 7422 4205
Mobile: +44 (0)7870 596 863 or +44 (0)7989 699 984; Email: [email protected]

Roma Education Fund
Tel: +36 1 235 8030; E-mail:[email protected]
Fundacion Secretariado Gitano
Tel: +91 422 09 60: E-mail:

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