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Wednesday, 27 April 2005 - Brussels OJ edition

The Roma in the European Union

  Járóka, Lívia, in the name of the PPE-DE Group. (HU) Mr President, Roma people living inside and outside the boundaries of the EU have been exposed to daily discrimination for centuries. Pervasive anti-Roma sentiment in Europe and daily discrimination thwart our full and equal participation in the social and economic life of Europe, and of the countries we deem our homeland. Several international organisations have launched programmes within the last few years with the aim to reduce anti-Roma discrimination and to help the Romas’ full social integration. However, there has not been a standard European guideline or answer to these pressing issues.

The European Parliament’s five-party motion for a resolution and Commissioner Vladimir Spidla’s current standpoint on the subject establish milestones in this regard. This resolution witnesses various political forces united in mutual commitment to jointly combat the prevailing anti-Roma sentiment and structured discrimination, it urges equal opportunities in the fields of work, education, housing, healthcare and participation in political life.

Following EU accession, social discrimination against the Roma continues in the new Member States, even as it does in the existing ones. This alone confirms that the EU institutions need to continue their roles of constant monitoring and examination of human rights. The forceful manifestation of Roma rights in Europe must mean that the Copenhagen political criteria are uniformly implemented in the existing and the new Member States and also in the Candidate Countries. One of the most pressing issues facing the disadvantaged Roma minority is finding employment. Reintegration of the Roma workforce is of great importance, and short-term, introductory measures must be taken in order to expedite Roma employment. Fifteen percent of the recently increased EU population is affected by poverty, and 9% live in long-term and extreme privation. These indicators reveal a much worse situation in the case of the new Member States. It is also apparent that there is a significant number of Romas among people living in long-term extreme poverty and the rate of unemployment in the Roma population often hits or even exceeds 80%.

Achieving the strategic goals of Lisbon would undoubtedly have a positive influence on the life of Romas and conscious, determined political integration would definitely promote the success of the Lisbon strategy as well. The Lisbon strategy will not attain its goals unless definite steps are taken and real effort is made to advance Roma integration into mainstream society. The European Commission’s stronger and stronger political commitment must manifest itself in real action guided by professionalism, and also in the establishment of a coherent minority protection system, which promotes, in every aspect, the integration of the European Roma population. The European Parliament must act as a minority-oriented institution, and along with civil organisations and the governing bodies of the Member States, it must work conjointly with the Commission as its primary ally. We hope that the EP resolution on the situation of the Roma people in Europe will serve as a professional basis for the European Commission and also for national governments taking measures in this regard. Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues from all five parties and our advisers and civil organisations for taking an active part in drafting this resolution.

Aviz juridic - Politica de confidențialitate