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Procedure : 2008/2502(RSP)
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Texts tabled :

B6-0053/2008

Debates :

PV 30/01/2008 - 7

Votes :

PV 31/01/2008 - 8.12
CRE 31/01/2008 - 8.12

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0035

Texts adopted
DOC 51k
Thursday, 31 January 2008 - Brussels Final edition
A European strategy on the Roma
P6_TA(2008)0035B6-0050, 0051, 0052, 0053 and 0055/2008

European Parliament resolution of 31 January 2008 on a European strategy on the Roma

The European Parliament ,

–   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 EC Treaty, which enables the European Community to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 28 April 2005 on the situation of the Roma in the European Union(1) , 1 June 2006 on the situation of Roma women in the European Union(2) and 15 November 2007 on application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(3) ,

–   having regard to Directives 2000/43/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin and 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, and to the framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia,

–   having regard to the Report on Racism and Xenophobia in the Member States of the EU for 2007, published by the Agency for Fundamental Rights,

–   having regard to the establishment in 2005 of the Decade of Roma Inclusion and a Roma Education Fund by a number of EU Member States, candidate countries and other countries in which the European Union institutions have a significant presence,

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

–   having regard to the comprehensive Action Plan, adopted by OSCE participating States, including EU Member States and candidate countries, focused on improving the situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE area, in which the States undertake inter alia to reinforce their efforts to ensure that Roma and Sinti people are able to play a full and equal part in our societies, and to eradicate discrimination against them,

–   having regard to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, and to the Statute of the Agency for Fundamental Rights,

–   having regard to the report of the High Level Advisory Group of Experts on the Social Integration of Ethnic Minorities and their Full Participation in the Labour Market entitled 'Ethnic Minorities on the Labour Market - An Urgent Call for Better Social Inclusion', which was published by the Commission in 2007,

–   having regard to Rule 108(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the 12 to 15 million Roma living in Europe, some 10 million of whom live in the European Union, suffer racial discrimination and in many cases are subject to severe structural discrimination, poverty and social exclusion, as well as multiple discrimination on the basis of gender, age, disability and sexual orientation; whereas a majority of European Roma became EU citizens after the 2004 and 2007 enlargements, benefiting from the right of EU citizens and their families to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States,

B.   whereas the situation of the European Roma, having historically been part of society in many European countries and having contributed to it, is distinct from that of the European national minorities, justifying specific measures at European level,

C.   whereas Romani EU citizens frequently face racial discrimination in the exercise of their fundamental rights as EU citizens to free movement and establishment,

D.   whereas many Romani individuals and communities who decided to settle in a different Member State from the one of their national citizenship are in a particularly vulnerable position,

E.   whereas there has been a lack of progress in combating racial discrimination against the Roma and in defending their rights to education, employment, health and housing in both Member States and candidate countries,

F.   whereas segregation in education continues to be tolerated across Member States; whereas such discrimination in access to quality education persistently affects the ability of Romani children to develop and enjoy their rights to educational development,

G.   whereas education is a fundamental tool for combating social exclusion, exploitation and crime,

H.   whereas substandard and insanitary living conditions and evidence of ghettoisation exist on a wide scale, with Roma regularly being either victims of forced evictions or prevented from moving out of neighbourhoods,

I.   whereas on average Roma communities face unacceptably high levels of unemployment, so that specific measures are required to facilitate access to jobs; whereas the European labour market, as well as European society as a whole, would greatly benefit from the inclusion of Roma,

J.   whereas the EU offers a variety of mechanisms and tools that can be used to improve the access of Roma to quality education, employment, housing and health, in particular social inclusion and regional and employment policies,

K.   whereas the social inclusion of Romani communities is still a goal to be achieved and EU instruments need to be used to achieve effective and visible change in this area,

L.   whereas it is necessary to ensure the effective participation of Roma in political life, particularly as regards decisions which affect the lives and well-being of Roma,

M.   whereas Anti-Gypsyism or Romaphobia is still widespread in Europe and is promoted and used by extremists, which can culminate in racist attacks, hate speech, physical attacks, unlawful evictions and police harassment,

N.   whereas most Romani women face double discrimination as Roma and as women,

O.   whereas the Romani Holocaust (Porajmos) deserves full recognition commensurate with the gravity of Nazi crimes designed to physically eliminate the Roma of Europe as well as the Jews and other targeted groups,

1.  Condemns utterly and without equivocation all forms of racism and discrimination faced by the Roma and others regarded as 'Gypsies';

2.  Welcomes the Presidency Conclusions of the European Council of 14 December 2007, as follows: 'conscious of the very specific situation faced by the Roma across the Union, invites Member States and the Union to use all means to improve their inclusion' and 'invites the Commission to examine existing policies and instruments and to report to the Council on progress achieved before the end of June 2008';

3.  Considers that the EU and the Member States have a shared responsibility to promote inclusion of the Roma and uphold their fundamental rights as European citizens, and urgently need to increase their efforts to achieve visible results in that area; calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to endorse the necessary measures in order to create the appropriate social and political environment for implementing the inclusion of the Roma;

4.  Urges the new Agency for Fundamental Rights to place anti-Gypsyism among the highest priorities in its work programme;

5.  Reaffirms the important role of the EU in fighting discrimination against the Roma, which is often structural and therefore requires a comprehensive approach at EU level, in particular with regard to the development of common policies, whilst acknowledging that the crucial competences for and the primary investment of political will, time and resources in the protection, implementation of policies, promotion and empowerment of Roma fall within the responsibilities of the Member States;

6.  Urges the Commission to develop a European Framework Strategy on Roma Inclusion aimed at providing policy coherence at EU level as regards the social inclusion of Roma and urges the Commission at the same time to shape a comprehensive Community Action Plan on Roma Inclusion with the task of providing financial support for realising the objective of the European Framework Strategy on Roma Inclusion;

7.  Urges the Commission comprehensively to shape a Community action plan on Roma inclusion, noting that the plan must be drawn up and implemented by the group of Commissioners who have responsibility for the social inclusion of EU citizens through their portfolios on employment, social affairs, equal opportunities, justice, freedom, education, culture and regional policy;

8.  Calls on the Commission to give one of its Members responsibility for coordinating a Roma policy;

9.  Urges the Commission to implement the "Roma-to-Roma" working methodology as an effective tool in dealing with Roma issues and calls on it to promote Roma staff within its structure;

10.  Calls on the Commission to establish a Roma unit to coordinate implementation of a European framework strategy on Roma inclusion, facilitate cooperation between the Member States, coordinate joint actions between Member States and ensure mainstreaming of Roma issues throughout all relevant bodies;

11.  Calls on the Commission to make the impact of private investment in equal opportunity a relevant and accountable factor in the release of EU funding, by obliging those individuals and/or legal persons submitting tenders for EU-financed projects to draw up and implement both an analysis and an action plan on equal opportunity;

12.  Welcomes the initiatives announced by the Commission, including a communication on the revised strategy for the fight against discrimination, the forthcoming green paper concerning the education of pupils who have a migration background or belong to a disadvantaged minority, and the intention to take additional measures to secure enforcement of Directive 2000/43/EC; welcomes, in particular, the proposal to set up a high-level Roma forum as a structure for the development of effective policies to tackle Roma issues;

13.  Urges the Commission to establish an all-European crisis map, measuring and surveying those areas within the EU where communities are hardest hit by poverty and social exclusion;

14.  Urges the Commission to examine opportunities to strengthen anti-discrimination legislation in the area of education, focusing on desegregation, and to report on its findings to Parliament within one year following adoption of this resolution; reiterates that equal access to quality education should be a priority under a European strategy on the Roma; urges the Commission to redouble its efforts to fund and support actions in the Member States which aim to integrate Romani children into mainstream education from an early age; urges the Commission to support programmes fostering positive action for Roma in the fields of secondary and higher education, including vocational training, adult education, life-long learning and university education; urges the Commission to support other programmes providing positive and successful models of desegregation;

15.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to combat the exploitation of, and forced begging and school absenteeism by, Romani children, as well as the ill-treatment of Romani women;

16.  Urges the Commission to support the integration of Roma in the labour market through measures such as financial support for training and retraining, measures to foster positive action on the labour market, rigorous enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in the field of employment, and measures to promote the self-employment of Roma and small Romani businesses;

17.  Calls on the Commission to consider the possibility of a micro-credit scheme as put forward in the above mentioned report of the High Level Advisory Group to encourage the launching of small businesses and to replace the practice of usury that is crippling many of the disadvantaged communities;

18.  Calls on the Council, Commission and Member States to support systemic national programmes aimed at improving the health situation of the Romani communities, in particular by introducing an adequate vaccination plan for children; urges all Members States to end and adequately remedy without delay the systemic exclusion of certain Romani communities from health care, including but not limited to communities in isolated geographic areas, as well as extreme human rights abuses in the health care system, where these have taken place or are taking place, including racial segregation in health facilities and coercive sterilisation of Romani women;

19.  Urges the Commission to build on existing positive models to support programmes aimed at putting an end to Romani slums, which give rise to severe social, environmental and health risks, in those Member States where they exist and to support other programmes providing positive and successful models of housing for Roma, including Romani migrants;

20.  Urges the Member States to solve the problem of camps, where there are no hygiene or safety standards and where a large number of Romani children die in domestic accidents, particularly fires, caused by the lack of such standards;

21.  Urges the Commission and Council to align EU Roma policy with the Decade of Roma Inclusion and to make use of existing initiatives such as the Roma Education Fund, the OSCE Action Plan and the recommendations of the Council of Europe to heighten the efficacy of their efforts in this area;

22.  Stresses the importance of involving local authorities in ensuring the effective implementation of efforts to promote Roma inclusion and combat discrimination;

23.  Calls on Member States to involve the Roma community at grassroots level with a view to empowering the Romani people to fully benefit from the incentives provided by the EU aimed at promoting their rights and the inclusion of their communities, whether in the field of education, employment or civic participation, given that successful integration involves a bottom-up approach and joint responsibilities; emphasises the importance of developing Roma human resources and professional capacity, with a view to promoting Roma involvement in public administration at all levels, including the EU institutions;

24.  Recalls that all candidate countries committed, in the negotiation and accession process, to improving the inclusion of Roma communities and to promoting their rights to education, employment, healthcare and housing; asks the Commission to make an assessment of the implementation of those commitments and of the current situation of the Roma in all Member States;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the relevant authorities to take the necessary steps to end pig fattening on the site of the former concentration camp in Lety (Czech Republic) and to create a memorial to honour the victims of persecution;

26.  Considers that it should look into different aspects of European policy challenges regarding Roma inclusion in more detail;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and the parliaments of the Member States and the candidate countries, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

(1) OJ C 45 E, 23.2.2006, p. 129.
(2) OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 283.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0534.

Last updated: 2 March 2009Legal notice