The EU must live up to its values and put Roma issues at the heart of its political programme

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The S&D Group is calling for the European Union to put improving the lives of Roma people at the heart of its political agenda. The call came during the EU’s annual Roma week, from 9 to 13 April 2018, and alongside the launch of a new Group publication on what the EU needs to do to tackle anti-Gypsyism.
 
S&D Group spokesperson for Roma issues, Soraya Post said:
 
“The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, equality and respect for human rights. However, for Roma living in Europe, the EU is clearly failing to live up to those values. Millions of Roma are still denied their basic human rights and face massive discrimination throughout their lives from education to employment and access to justice. This stems from a deep rooted anti-Gypsyism that marginalises Roma people and communities. The depth of this prejudice was highlighted this week by the disgusting comments of Matteo Salvini in Italy on International Roma Day. These remarks must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The EU needs to finally live up to its ideals and put improving the lives of Roma people at the heart of its political strategy.
 
“The events we are holding this week and the publication launched today are designed to provide new ideas on how to tackle anti- Gypsyism in Europe. We need to put pressure on national governments to finally take meaningful action. We have called for a series of measures that can help tackle the historic injustices Roma people have and continue to face. We are demanding Truth and Reconciliation Commissions at member states and at EU level to acknowledge the persecution, exclusion and disownment of Roma throughout history. We call on the Court of Auditors to check the performance of EU programmes, as they seem to fail to reach out to the most disadvantaged.  We also ask for a civil society monitoring and reporting call concerning hate speech and hate crime in member states.
 
“Improving the lives of Roma people can no longer be a secondary issue. If the EU wants to be a credible voice on human rights around the world then it must immediately put improving the lives of Roma people in the EU at the top of its priorities list.”
 
Note to editors
 
The new S&D Group brochure on the fight against anti-Gypsyism can be found here
 
The EU’s annual Roma week will continue until Thursday 12 April, the full agenda can be found here