MEPs will vote in plenary on a report calling for equal rights for Roma people. Leading MEP Soraya Post explains why in our video.
On Tuesday 24 October MEPs debate an own-initiative report calling for the Roma to be treated the same as the rest of society. The day after that they will vote on it. If adopted, it will then be forwarded to the European Commission for a response.
“Nobody wants to be poor. Nobody wants to live like cattle," said Soraya Post, who wrote the report. The Swedish S&D member, who is Roma herself, said: "Nobody wants not to send their children to school. Nobody wants to live without electricity or water. If we are going to be a proud Union, we cannot be that as long as we have like ten, twelve million people living totally excluded from everything."
Even if equality and non-discrimination are enshrined in countries' constitutions and the EU treaties, there are still some people who are not treated the same as others. The Roma community has been subjected to discrimination for centuries and their situation does not seem to improve.
Roma situation in numbers
According to a 2016 survey by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, 80% of Roma live below their country's poverty threshold, while 63% of 16-24 year-olds are not employed, in education or training, compared to the EU average of 12%.. In addition the 2015 Eurobarometer survey on discrimination in the EU shows that 20% of respondents would feel uncomfortable with a Roma and only 45% would be at ease with their child having a relationship with a Roma.
Watch the video to learn more and follow the plenary session live.
This article was first published on 27 September and was updated on 23 October to mention the plenary vote.