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Procedure : 2005/2535(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0272/2005

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 27/04/2005 - 8

Votes :

PV 28/04/2005 - 9.14

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0272/2005
20 April 2005
PE 357.314v01-00
to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Jaime Mayor Oreja, Ewa Klamt and Lívia Járóka
on behalf of the PPE-DE Group
on the Situation of Roma in Europe and Marking the International Roma Day

European Parliament resolution on the Situation of Roma in Europe and Marking the International Roma Day 

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the celebration of International Roma Day on 8 April 2005(1),

–  having regard to the Constitutional Treaty signed by Heads of State and of Government on 29 October 2004 which includes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as its second part,

–  having regard to Articles 3, 6, 7, 29 and 149 of the EC Treaty, which commit the Member States to ensuring equal opportunities for all citizens,

–  having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which enables the European Community to 'take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin',

–  having regard to Directive 43/2000/EC, known as the Race Equality Directive, which bans discrimination on ethnic grounds,

–  having regard to Article 4 of the Council of Europe Framework Convention on National Minorities and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–  having regard to Article 3 of Recommendation 1557/2002 of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers underlining the widespread discrimination against Roma and the need to strengthen the monitoring system on discrimination against them(2),

–  having regard to the document of the European Union (COCEN GROUP) adopted at the Tampere Summit in 1999 entitled 'Situation of Roma in the Candidate Countries', which underlines the need to raise awareness about the racism and discrimination faced by Roma,

–  having regard to Recommendation 1557 of the Council of Europe adopted in 2002 entitled 'The legal situation of Roma in Europe', which underlines the need to resolve the legal status of Roma,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 10 December 1984,

–  having regard to Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation,

–  having regard to the Charter of European Parties for a Non-Racist Society(3),

–  having regard to the establishment of a Group of Commissioners responsible for fundamental rights, anti-discrimination and equal opportunities(4), in which connection the European Parliament awaits the presentation of the Group's agenda,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1035/97 establishing a European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, to the EUMC's annual and thematic reports on racism in the EU and to the Commission Green Paper on equality and non-discrimination in an enlarged European Union (COM (2004)0379),

–  having regard to the recent publication by the Commission of a report drawing attention to very disturbing levels of hostility and human rights abuses against Roma, Gypsies and Travellers in Europe(5),

–  having regard to the report currently before the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the protection of minorities and anti-discrimination policies (2005/2008 (INI)) and the European Parliament resolution of 27 January 2005 on the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism and Racism (RSP/2004/2634),

–  having regard to international legal instruments such as General Recommendation XXVII ('Discrimination against Roma') of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and General Policy Recommendation 3 (combating racism and intolerance against Roma/Gypsies) of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)(6),

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas 8 April has been designated International Roma Day and is considered to be the annual day of celebration for Roma, as well as an opportunity for raising awareness about Europe's largest ethnic minority and the extent of its social exclusion,

B.   whereas 7-9 million Roma living in the European Union are suffering racial discrimination and many of them are subject to severe structural discrimination, poverty and social exclusion,

C.   noting with concern the existence of multiple discrimination on the basis of gender, age and disability, in particular against Romani women,

D.   underlining the importance of urgently eliminating continuing and violent trends of racism and racial discrimination against Roma, and conscious that any form of impunity for crimes motivated by anti-Gypysism and Romaphobia plays a role in weakening the rule of law and democracy, tends to encourage the recurrence of such crimes and requires resolute action for its eradication,

E.   recognising that the failure to combat racial discrimination and xenophobia against Roma, especially by public authorities, is a factor encouraging the persistence of the problems in society,

F.   whereas the Roma community is still not regarded as an ethnic or national minority group in every Member State, and thus does not enjoy the rights pertaining to this status in all of the countries concerned,

G.   whereas, while many Member States have quickly transposed into national law Directive 2000/43/EC(7), a number have failed to do so or have done so incompletely or incorrectly,

H.   whereas the Romani Holocaust deserves full recognition commensurate with the gravity of Nazi crimes designed to physically eliminate the Roma of Europe,

I.   whereas Roma continue to be underrepresented in governmental structures and public administration in Member States and Candidate Countries where they constitute a significant percentage of the population; whereas their governments have undertaken to increase the number of Roma working in decision-making structures but have yet to make significant progress,

J.   whereas Roma are regularly discriminated against in the provision of health care and social security and whereas the European Parliament notes with concern cases of segregation in maternity wards and the sterilisation of Roma women without their consent,

K.   whereas substandard and unsanitary living conditions and evidence of ghettoisation exist on a wide scale, with Roma regularly prevented from moving out of such neighbourhoods,

L.  having regard to the racially segregated schooling systems in place in several Member States, as a result of which Roma children are taught either in segregated classes with lower standards or in classes for the mentally handicapped,

M.   whereas unemployment among Roma averages an unacceptable 70%, which requires specific measures to facilitate access to jobs,

N.   whereas in most Member States and Candidate Countries mainstream media continue to underrepresent Roma in their programming while simultaneously reinforcing a negative stereotype of the Roma citizen through news articles, television and radio shows,

O.   deeply concerned that those advocating Anti-Gypsyism/Romaphobia misuse new communication technologies, including the internet, to disseminate their repugnant views and noting that the use of such technologies can also help to combat Romaphobia,

1.   Welcomes the recent declaration by Commission President Barroso regarding the importance of eliminating discrimination against Roma people and the role which the Lisbon Strategy could play in improving opportunities for Roma(8), and urges the Council, the Commission, Member States and Candidate Countries to publicly take steps to combat Romaphobia in all forms, be it at local, national, regional or EU level, as the European Parliament itself intends to do;

2.   Urges the Commission to include the issue of combating Romaphobia across Europe among its priorities for the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, and calls on political and civil society at all levels to make clear that racial hatred against Roma can never be tolerated in European society;

3.   Urges the Commission to further ensure, in the framework of the political requirements of the Copenhagen criteria, that accession countries make real efforts to strengthen the rule of law and protect human and minority rights, particularly those of the Roma population;

4.   Commends Member States for quickly transposing into national law Directive 43/2000/EC(9), and urges those which are currently subject to 'non-communication' infringement procedures to take steps to rectify their lack of progress;

5.   Calls upon Member States to strengthen national legislation and administrative measures that expressly and specifically counter Anti-Gypsyism/Romaphobia and prohibit racial discrimination and related intolerance, whether direct or indirect, in all spheres of public life;

6.   Calls upon Member States to act as appropriate to eliminate any racial hatred and incitement to discrimination and violence against Roma in the media and in any form of communication technology and calls on mainstream media to establish best practices for hiring staff who reflect the composition of the population, and in doing so to draw on best practices already in existence(10);

7.   Urges all Member States to introduce positive action regarding Roma access to labour markets with the aim of securing better long-term employment;

8.   Calls on Member States and Candidate Countries in which Roma children are segregated into schools for the mentally disabled or placed in separate classrooms from their peers to embark upon desegregation programmes within a predetermined period of time, thus ensuring free access to quality education for Roma children and preventing the rise of anti-Romani sentiment amongst schoolchildren;

9.   Proposes to revive and update its 1989 Resolution on the Education of Roma, Sinti and Travellers' Children, and to make it a priority to ensure that all Roma children have access to mainstream education, and also urges Member States to support the preservation of Roma languages and cultural heritage, as a way of strengthening their own culture and self-presentation, while including information on the national Roma population in the mainstream educational curriculum;

10.  Urges Member States and Candidate Countries to introduce special scholarship and trainee programmes for disadvantaged students to help the re-emergence of a Roma middle class;

11.  Calls on Member States to take steps to ensure equal access of Roma to health care and to social security services and to eliminate any discriminatory practices against them in this field;

12.  Calls upon Member States identified as known sites of non-consensual sterilisation of Romani women to coordinate law enforcement efforts and put an end to this practice;

13.  Considers that the current ghettoisation in existence across Europe is unacceptable, and calls on Member States to take concrete steps to bring about deghettoisation: to combat discriminatory practices in providing housing and to assist Roma individuals in finding alternative, sanitary housing;

14.  Urges governments in regions with significant Roma populations to take further steps to integrate Roma civil servants at all administrative and decision-making levels in line with previous commitments and to allocate the necessary resources for the effective performance of the duties associated with such positions;

15.  Calls on the Commission to publicly encourage national governments to ensure that, when funding programmes are aimed at Roma, Roma actors are fully involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of such projects;

16.  Calls on political parties, at both national and European level, to review their party structures and procedures with the aim of removing all barriers that directly or indirectly militate against the participation of Roma and incorporate policies geared to full Roma integration into their mainstream political and social agenda;

17.  Urges all Member States to support initiatives to strengthen Roma self-representation and active participation in public and social life and enable Roma civil organisations to make their voices heard;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and Candidate Countries.

(1) International Roma Day was established in 1971 at the First Romani World Congress.
(2) Article 15 f, paragraph viii.
(3) The 'Charter of European Political Parties for a Non-Racist Society' is the proposal of the EU Consultative Commission on Racism and Xenophobia to the political parties in the European Union. The text was adopted by this Commission on 5 December 1997.
(4) European Commission President José Manuel Barroso announced this initiative in his speech to the European Parliament on 26 October 2004, saying that the Group (which he will chair) will be handed the task of monitoring all Commission actions and major initiatives in these areas as well as acting as a political driving force.
(5) 'The Situation of Roma in an Enlarged Europe' commissioned and published by DG Employment and Social Affairs, 2004.
(6) General Recommendation no 3, 'Combating racism and intolerance against Roma and Gypsies'.
(7) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(8) Commenting at the launch of the 'Lisbon Scorecard V' on 17 March 2005.
(9) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(10) BBC Producers' Guidelines, which form part of the BBC's comprehensive strategy to increase the representation of ethnic minority groups among its employees and senior management; the UK Cultural Diversity Network created by British television companies, which aims to improve diversity in British television; the Canadian Broadcasting Act, which stresses employment practices within the media industry and aims to ensure that the diversity of Canada's population is reflected; the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB), which includes as part of its corporate plan a strategy for future research on minorities in media coverage, as well as promises to conduct surveys to analyse how viewers perceive and experience the presence and portrayal of minorities in the media.

Last updated: 22 April 2005Legal notice