Strasbourg 25 March 2010: In advance of the forthcoming Second European Roma Summit, the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) is calling on the European Commission to take immediate action at EU level in order to improve the situation of the European Roma.
ERTF Position Paper on the Second European Roma Summit in Cordoba, 8-9 April 2010
Strasbourg 25th March: In advance of the forthcoming Second European Roma Summit, the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) is calling on the European Commission to take immediate action at EU level in order to improve the situation of the European Roma.
‘While European Union Member States have previously committed themselves to taking action, in many Member States, the daily lives of the Roma continue to deteriorate. I’m sure you all read the reports last week about the latest racially-motivated attacks on Roma and were as horrified as I was. What is being done? The European Commission should seize the moment to pressurise the relevant authorities to sanction the perpetrators guilty of carrying out such unwarranted crimes”, emphasised Mr. Rudko Kawczynski, President of the ERTF.
In its Position Paper, the ERTF calls on the European Union to recognise the Roma as a pan-European minority, both citizens of the countries in which they live and citizens of the European Community. To this end, the ERTF urges the European Commission to cooperate with the ERTF in the drafting of a comprehensive European Roma Strategy with the aim of placing the Roma on the same footing as their fellow non-Roma citizens. Targeted measures covering all areas affecting the daily lives of Roma and a specific timetable for implementation of same should be determined in order to fill in the gaps in existing policies.
“To date, EU policies involving Roma have failed as their impact has been negligible and an urgent rethinking of existing strategies and policies must take place. In addition, I sincerely hope that all those involved in determining future European policy pay close attention to this ERTF Position Paper and accept the expertise offered by the ERTF in order to make visible progress in the relevant areas”, stated Mr. Kawczynski.
The ERTF attaches great importance to the Summit and believes that the event represents a positive opportunity for dialogue between policy makers at European level and Roma representatives. Discussing policies in favour of the Roma community represents an added value to the activities for combating structural discrimination and social exclusion.
Whilst it is regrettable that the expertise of the ERTF was not taken into consideration when drafting the agenda, the ERTF is certain that all participants will, this time, be given the opportunity to actively contribute to the debate thus bringing a new dimension to the proceedings. This will ensure that both policy makers and Roma representatives alike can seize the momentum and propose new, concrete, ideas instead of the usual rhetoric.
“As a conclusion, let me emphasize yet again the importance of having the ERTF recognised as a partner present at the table when discussing policies for the Roma. We therefore call on the Spanish Presidency and the European Commission to open a dialogue with the ERTF to discuss how we can work together to tackle the serious problems facing Roma communities across Europe, such as evictions, murders, violence and other forms of discrimination, segregation and exclusion. This is the only way to ensure that all well-meaning actions, whether they be statements, committees, conferences or policies, result in concrete conclusions and decisions designed to really make a difference to all Roma”, emphasized Mr. Kawczynski.