ERPC: European Union should do more to uphold Roma Rights

8 September 2010

In reaction to the European Parliament debate on the eviction measures of Roma from France, the European Roma Policy Coalition welcomed measures announced by Commissioner Reding to improve the effectiveness of European funding for Roma Inclusion.

The Coalition also said it expected swift legal action from the Commission in case it found French measures are in breach of EU-laws and principles.

The statement (see below) followed the debate held in the European Parliament on the situation of Roma in Europe on Tuesday 7 September.

The ERPC, of which ERGO Network is an active member, on Monday 6 September sent a letter stating its concerns and expectations regarding the European reaction to the current crisis of the treatment of Roma in Europe to European Commissioners, Member States and members of the European Parliament. You can download the letter here.

 

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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.

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