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EU and Member States must do more to integrate Roma
25-03-2010  Press release

Slovak Roma (Photo: Jana Šustová) Policy failings regarding the social inclusion of the Roma people must be examined critically, given the "unsatisfactory progress" to date, says a European Parliament resolution adopted on Thursday. Policy commitments need to emerge from the second European Roma summit taking place in Córdoba on 8 April, believe MEPs. The Parliament has been calling for a Roma inclusion strategy since 2008.

In a resolution tabled by all seven EP political groups and adopted by 572 votes to 28, with 23 abstentions, MEPs condemn the "recent rise of anti-Gypsyism in several EU Member States" and express concern at the situation of the Roma in education, housing, employment and access to healthcare as well as their low level of political participation. They also criticise the forced repatriation of Roma to countries in the Western Balkans, where they might face homelessness and discrimination.

Action needed to "force the parties concerned to honour their own pledges"

The resolution repeats Parliament's call for a European Strategy on the Roma, as expressed in a 2008 resolution, to which the Commission has so far not responded. New Commissioners should prioritise Roma-related issues in their portfolios and a horizontal approach should be adopted, argue MEPs

A "complex development programme" should be established, "that targets simultaneously all related policy areas and makes immediate intervention possible in ghetto areas struggling with serious structural disadvantages", says the resolution.

Antidiscrimination measures alone are insufficient and the parties should be forced to honour their own pledges, according to MEPs. They add that the social impact of pre-accession funding needs to be evaluated and local authorities should be encouraged to make better use of structural funding opportunities.

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