In the face of persistent violations of fundamental rights of Roma people, the Parliament demands stronger measures to fight anti-gypsyism in the EU.

Anti-gypsyism is an institutionalised and historically rooted form of racism which is expressed through “violence, hate speech, exploitation, stigmatisation” and discrimination, MEPs say in a non-legislative resolution adopted on Tuesday by show of hands.

School segregation, access to housing, employment and health care are the main problems still faced by Roma population across Europe. The text underlines the particularly difficult situation of young Roma, with an increase in the share of those that are not in employment, education or training.

Binding and clear targets for Roma integration

MEPs call on the European Commission and member states to introduce more priority areas, “clear and binding” targets, timelines and mechanisms to assess progress for Roma integration once the current EU framework expires in 2020. They also demand “substantial public funds” and human resources for these purposes.

The Chamber asks for gender mainstreaming and a child-sensitive approach in all the measures, and for a closer involvement of Roma representatives and NGOs in the design of integration policies. It also stresses the need to protect and promote equal access to all rights for Roma children. Parliament wants EU specific anti-discrimination goals, as well as measures to include Roma in environmental sustainability policies and digital society.

The text underlines that a more equitable representation of Roma in all spheres of life is necessary, including media, public institutions and political bodies.

EU structural funds should be used to improve the living conditions and life chances of Roma, say MEPs. They demand member states to investigate the current and past misuse of relevant funds and take legal actions against the perpetrators.

Improving lives of Roma must be priority for next European Commission

The European Parliament today backed a resolution calling for the next European Commission to make improving the lives of Roma people, ensuring their rights are respected, and stepping up the fight against anti-Gypsyism, a priority. The resolution made clear that there is a need for a strengthened, Strategic EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies after 2020.

“Roma are the biggest ethnic minority group in Europe. Large numbers are still deprived of their fundamental rights, living in poverty, and facing extreme discrimination and social exclusion. This is not a faraway problem, these people are European citizens, which makes national government and the EU’s failure to act even more shocking. Progress can only start with recognition of the crimes committed against Roma people in the past, with a truth and reconciliation process to build trust between Roma communities and mainstream society, in order to take a shared commitment for a better, united future, and to create a healthy European society, free from anti-Gypsyism,” said S&D Group spokesperson on Roma issues, Soraya Post.

“Over the last mandate, we have been working hard to ensure that the births of all Roma children are registered without discrimination and that they have the same access to education as all other children. All Roma should have easy access to safe and clean drinking water, electricity and should not be forced to move to other EU countries to beg for a living. These are not extravagant demands, they are basic rights that all EU citizens would expect to be met,” she added.

“The next Commission must make this an absolute priority, with clear targets, timelines and indicators to monitor progress. The treatment of Roma people remains Europe’s greatest shame, whoever leads the next Commission must commit to finally changing this. We want the EU to remain true to its democratic values, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and the rule of law – also concerning the rights of Roma,” Post concluded.