Barroso must announce Commission’s human rights legacy
(Brussels, 11 September 2013) As President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso prepares to give his fourth State of the Union address, Amnesty International has urged him to seize the opportunity to set out ambitious plans for the Commission to leave a strong and effective human rights legacy.
“We’re looking to President Barroso to set out how the Commission will tackle human rights violations whenever they occur in EU countries,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Following the Council’s call in June, the onus is now on the Commission to act.”
Amnesty International welcomed a speech last week by Commissioner Viviane Reding, which set out some proposals for the EU to more effectively address persistent breaches of fundamental rights and rule of law challenges within member states.
“We’re pleased that these issues are finally being talked about, but we still need to see what action will come out of it,” Beger added.
Amnesty International also maintains that the Commission should use the current legal tools at its disposal more effectively, including by opening infringement procedures in cases where EU countries have persistently discriminated against Roma people and violated the Race Equality Directive. For example, the organisation remains deeply concerned by the continuing separation of Roma children in schools and classes in the Czech Republic and by persistent discrimination against Roma people accessing housing in Italy.
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