Fight against tziganophobia : Motion of the European Parliament


on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the preamble to the TEU, in particular the second and fourth to seventh indents thereof,

–  having regard to, inter alia, Article 2, Article 3(3), second indent, and Article 6 of the TEU,

–  having regard to, inter alia, Article 10 and Article 19(1) of TFEU,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 7 December 2000 (‘the Charter’), which was proclaimed on 12 December 2007 in Strasbourg and entered into force with the Treaty of Lisbon in December 2009,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in New York on 20 November 1989, in particular, its Article 3,

–  having regard to UN Resolution A/70/L.1 adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015 entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’,

–  having regard to UN Resolution A/RES/60/7 adopted by the General Assembly on 1 November 2005 on the Holocaust Remembrance,

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,

–  having regard to the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the Rise of Anti-Gypsyism and racist violence against Roma in Europe, adopted on 1 February 2012,

–  having regard to General Policy Recommendation No 13 of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on combating anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma,

–  having regard to the Charter of European political parties for a non-racist society, adopted by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe at its 32nd Session in March 2017,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1985 (2014) – The situation and rights of national minorities in Europe, and Resolution 2153 (2017) – Promoting the inclusion of Roma and Travellers,

–  having regard to the statement by Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland of 11 April 2017 on 10 goals for the next 10 years,

–  having regard to the ILO Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958 (No. 111),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(1),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems(4),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law,

–  having regard to the Council recommendation of 9 December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States, to the Council conclusion of 8 December 2016 on Accelerating the process of Roma integration and of 13 October 2016 on the European Court of Auditors Special Report No 14/2016,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 15 June 2011 on early childhood education and care,

–  having regard to the Commission Communications on Roma integration (COM(2010)0133, COM(2012)0226, COM(2013)0454, COM(2015)0299, COM(2016)0424), including the Communication on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 (COM(2011)0173),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication on the Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative three years on (COM(2016)0646),

–  having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 20 February 2013 on Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage,

–  having regard to its resolutions on Roma(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 April 2015 on the occasion of International Roma Day – anti-Gypsyism in Europe and EU recognition of the memorial day of the Roma genocide during World War II(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2016 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2015(7), in particular paragraphs 117-122 on Roma rights,

–  having regard to the Fundamental Rights Report 2016 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights,

–  having regard to the Fundamental Rights Agency’s EU-MIDIS I and II surveys and various other surveys and reports on Roma,

–  having regard to the Court of Auditors’ special report No 14/2016 on EU policy initiatives and financial support for Roma integration: significant progress made over the last decade, but additional efforts needed on the ground,

–  having regard to the Eurobarometer survey ‘Discrimination in the EU in 2015’,

–  having regard to the reports and recommendations of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), among other things, its action plan on improving the situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE area,

–  having regard to the reports and recommendations of watchdog and civil society organisations, primarily those of the European Roma Rights Centre, Fundación Secretariado Gitano, OSF, ERGO, and Amnesty International,

–  having regard to the reference paper on Anti-Gypsyism of the Alliance against Anti-Gypsyism,

–  having regard to the report of the Centre for European Policy Studies on Combating Institutional Anti-Gypsyism: Responses and promising practices in the EU and selected Member States,

–  having regard to the newly established European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) in Berlin, which aims to establish the artistic and cultural presence of Europe's 12 million Roma people, enabling their self-expression and, through this, contributing to the fight against anti-Gypsyism,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0294/2017),

A.  whereas Roma are still being deprived of their human rights in Europe;

B.  whereas Roma are part of Europe’s culture and values and they have contributed to the cultural richness, diversity, economy and common history of the EU;

C.  whereas ‘anti-Gypsyism is a specific form of racism, an ideology founded on racial superiority, a form of dehumanisation and institutional racism nurtured by historical discrimination, which is expressed, among others, by violence, hate speech, exploitation, stigmatisation and the most blatant kind of discrimination’;(8)

D.  whereas, despite efforts at national, European and international level, persistent and structural anti-Gypsyism(9) can be detected at all levels of European society throughout all of Europe on a daily basis, manifesting itself, e.g. in individual and institutional neglect, discrimination, inequality, disempowerment, belittling, othering and scapegoating, stigmatisation, hate speech, and making them into victims of violence, extreme poverty and profound social exclusion; whereas anti-Gypsyism is on the rise and political parties gain in popularity by expressing flagrantly anti-Roma sentiments;

E.  whereas different forms of anti-Gypsyism can be identified in the work and workings of public authorities and institutions in almost all spheres and at all levels in the Member States, manifesting itself most commonly in the failure to provide Roma with equal access or any access to public utilities and services, their denial of equal rights and equal treatment, the omission of Roma people from policy-making and knowledge-production processes, their underrepresentation in official bodies at all levels of society, the creation of discriminative programmes and the misuse of funding opportunities for improving the lives of Roma;

F.  whereas inadvertent anti-Gypsyism can even be observed in the workings of the EU institutions, as numerous EU programmes and funds that could have a positive impact on the living conditions and life prospects of Roma do not reach them, or they symbolically designate the Roma as one of their beneficiaries, but do not take into account their realities and the discrimination they face;

G.  whereas anti-Gypsyism, however unconscious it might be, can be revealed in the EU acquis, which often fails to take into consideration the realities and challenges of Roma, who, due to their having been subject to multiple discrimination for centuries, are unable to enjoy the same rights and opportunities, and the same level of protection provided by the EU acquis to other EU citizens;

H.  whereas there is a persistent paternalistic treatment of Roma detectable both in language and actions in our society, only stressing the need for Roma ‘inclusion’ or ‘integration’, when, in fact, what is needed is a fundamental shift in approach; whereas their access to and full enjoyment of their fundamental rights and citizenship in our society needs to be ensured;

I.  whereas Roma are continually referred to as a vulnerable people, when, in fact, depriving Roma of their inalienable human rights and denying them equal treatment and access to welfare, services, information, justice, education, healthcare, employment, etc. suggest that it is the structures established and maintained by those in power that are discriminatory, that render Roma vulnerable; whereas this demonstrates that the relevant authorities have ignored their human rights responsibilities;

Belonging and participating

1.  Stresses that in order to fight against the subconscious societal consensus to exclude Roma, to combat their discrimination and social exclusion, and in order to tear down stereotypes created and reinforced through popular literature, the media, the arts and language through centuries, it is essential to educate mainstream societies about the diversity of Roma, their history, culture, and the forms, extent and severity of the anti-Gypsyism that they face in their everyday lives; calls on Member States, in this context, to take full responsibility for their Roma citizens and launch long-term awareness-raising and intersectional sensitisation campaigns;

2.  Considers active and meaningful social, economic, political and cultural participation by Roma as key to tackling anti-Gypsyism effectively and creating much-needed mutual trust for the benefit of the whole of society; notes the joint responsibility of the Commission and the Member States in this regard; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to design strategies featuring both proactive and reactive measures on the basis of real, systematic consultations with Roma representatives and NGOs, and to involve them in the running, monitoring and evaluation of mainstream programmes and projects launched at all levels, including at the local level; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote the establishment of independent Roma civil organisations and public institutions and the empowerment of a young, progressive Roma leadership;

Reconciling and building trust

3.  Urges the Commission, for the sake of creating essential mutual trust, to set up a truth and reconciliation commission at EU level (either within existing structures or as a separate body) to acknowledge the persecution, exclusion and disownment of Roma throughout the centuries, to document these in an official white paper and to engage with European Parliament and Roma experts in carrying out these tasks;

4.  Calls on Member States to create (either within existing structures or as a separate body) national truth and reconciliation commissions in order to acknowledge the persecution, exclusion and disownment of Roma through the centuries while involving members of parliament, government officials, lawyers, Roma representatives, NGOs and grassroots organisations, to document these issues in an official white paper, and encourages Member States to make the history of Roma part of the curricula in schools;

5.  Calls on the Member States to commemorate the victims of the Roma Holocaust, to mark 2 August as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, and to grant appropriate, immediate restitution to living Holocaust survivors through a simplified procedure, accompanied by an awareness-raising campaign; calls on the Commission and the Member States to include Roma victims in their commemorations held on 27 January each year to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and to organise voluntary training courses for civil servants on the Roma Holocaust;

Carrying out performance checks

6.  Expresses its concern that, while several targeted programmes are being implemented in the Member States, most mainstream programmes, including those covered by Structural Funds, fail to reach out to the most disadvantaged, in particular the Roma; calls, therefore, on the Court of Auditors to check the performance of EU programmes, such as the EU’s employment and education programmes, e.g. Erasmus+ and the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), in a more thorough manner and on a regular basis;

7.  Calls on the Commission to:

–  assess EU programmes and funding opportunities to determine if they meet the requirement of non-discrimination and participation, and where necessary, to take corrective measures without delay,

–  apply a robust, quality-focused and long-term monitoring and financial accountancy scheme to check the performance of Member States when using EU programmes,

–  actively involve the Roma addressees of the projects in their monitoring and evaluation process in an effective and transparent manner,

–  ensure that the existing complaint mechanism is made more accessible and transparent for residents, NGOs and authorities to enable them to report discriminatory EU funds and programmes,

–  suspend funding in cases of misuse of EU funds,

–  reform ESIF so that they provide financial support for the fight against anti-Gypsyism in a more proactive way, and,

–  extend the Europe for Citizens and the Rights, Equality and Citizenship funding programmes recognising the important role of civil society watchdog organisations and other relevant stakeholders in monitoring anti-Gypsyism and ensuring respect for fundamental rights;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to:

–  ensure that the relevant interventions financed by the EU with possible implications for the Roma community are inclusive and fight segregation,

–  ensure that segregation practices are clearly described and explicitly excluded from funding,

–  improve funding opportunities in order to ensure that the education and employment opportunities created provide a real and sustainable way out of long-term unemployment, which is necessary in order to live with dignity,

–  ensure that all available resources are used effectively, and,

–  increase the absorption rate of EU funds in line with the priorities established in the National Roma Integration Strategies;

9.  Calls on the Member States to increase coordination among local and national authorities to eliminate administrative and political obstacles, and effectively use the EU funds to improve the situation of Roma people, in particular children;

10.  Recalls the 2013 Council Recommendation stating that the promotion of social inclusion, and combating poverty and discrimination, including, inter alia, the socio-economic integration of marginalised communities such as Roma, should be facilitated by the allocation of at least 20 % of the total ESF resources in each Member State to investment in people;

Securing equal rights and fighting anti-Gypsyism through training

11.  Recalls that minority rights and the prohibition of discrimination form an integral part of fundamental rights, and, as such, fall within the scope of the EU values to be respected in accordance with Article 2 TEU; recalls that action can be taken by the EU if there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of those values in accordance with Article 7 TEU; supports the adoption of a strong monitoring and sanctioning mechanism to ensure compliance with fundamental rights standards that will strongly benefit Roma by combating meaningfully manifestations of anti-Gypsyism and violations of their fundamental rights;

12.  Calls on the Member States, based on the alarming reports from NGOs and watchdog organisations:

–  to implement and enforce Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 in order to effectively prevent and eliminate all forms of discrimination against Roma, and to ensure that national, regional and local administrative regulations are not discriminatory and do not result in segregation practices;

–  to implement and enforce the Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 as it provides the means for a successful fight against anti-Gypsyist rhetoric and violence against Roma;

13.  Calls on the Commission to provide assistance to Member States for transposing and implementing the equal treatment directives and to continue launching infringement proceedings against all Member States, without exception, that breach or fail to transpose or implement equal treatment directives, such as the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC)(10), the Free Movement and Residence Directive (2004/38/EC)(11), the Victims’ Rights Directive (2012/29/EU)(12), the Council Framework Decision (2008/913/JHA) on racism and xenophobia(13), the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU)(14), and the Council Directive on equal treatment between men and women (2004/113/EC)(15) and that on equal treatment in employment and occupation (2000/78/EC)(16);

14.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to break the deadlock and re-launch negotiations on the Anti-discrimination Directive;

15.  Condemns certain Member States’ denial of inequality of their Roma nationals, their lack of political will to remedy their failure in securing Roma people’s access to and enjoyment of their fundamental rights, and their blaming them for their social exclusion caused by structural racism;

16.  Calls on Member States to:

–  clearly condemn and sanction the denial of the Roma Holocaust, hate speech and scapegoating by politicians and public officials at all levels and in all types of media, as they directly reinforce anti-Gypsyism in society,

–  take further measures to prevent, condemn and counter anti-Roma hate speech, also by using cultural dialogue;

17.  Urges the Commission and Member States to intensify their work with NGOs to deliver best practice training on countering prejudice as well as on the effective countering of hate speech campaigns through the mapping of NGO partners’ specific needs and demands in this respect; calls on the Commission to launch a call for civil society to monitor and report hate speech, hate crime and Holocaust denial in the Member States;

18.  Calls on its President to condemn and sanction MEPs who use defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or such behaviour in Parliament;

19.  Deplores the violation of the right of Roma to free movement; calls on the Member States to acknowledge that the fundamental principles of the EU must apply to all citizens, and that the Free Movement Directive does not allow collective expulsions and any kind of racial profiling; calls on the Member States of origin to take their responsibility to combat poverty and exclusion of all their citizens, and on the Member States of arrival to increase cooperation across borders to combat discrimination and exploitation and prevent exclusion continuing in the country of arrival;

20.  Calls on the Member States to tackle the bias against Roma refugees and asylum seekers in the context of migration; recalls that Member States receive asylum seekers from the Western Balkan countries that, in numerical terms, consist of many Roma from Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and that this may be correlated to the particular factors affecting the Roma community there; calls for the inclusion of a specific chapter on persecution as a result of anti-Gypsyism in the country of origin information concerning the relevant countries;

21.  Is deeply concerned by the number of stateless Roma people in Europe, resulting in the complete denial of their access to social, educational and health care services and pushing them to the very margins of society; calls on Member States to end statelessness and ensure the enjoyment of fundamental human rights for all;

22.  Calls on the Member States to carry out birth registration without discrimination and to ensure the identification of all their citizens in order to avoid Roma people being denied access to all the essential basic services; calls on Member States to take immediate corrective measures to stop discriminatory birth registration, and, through their local authorities, to take active steps in order to ensure that every child is registered; calls on the Commission to assess and monitor the situation in Member States, share best practices on the identification and protection of people whose citizenship has not been recognised and have no access to identity documents, and to launch awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of birth registration;

23.  Is deeply concerned by the unequal access of Roma to health information, services and care, the severe lack of health insurance cards among them, and their racial abuse; calls on the Member States to take effective measures to remove any barriers to accessing the health care system; asks the Member States, where necessary, to secure funding for healthcare mediator programmes for Roma, increase healthcare awareness and improve access to vaccination and preventive health care in Roma communities;

24.  Is alarmed by the discrimination against Roma women, who are often placed in segregated, sub-standard maternity wards, and face physical abuse, neglect, under- and mistreatment by medical staff when attempting to access sexual and reproductive healthcare services, and who often do not access mobile health screenings; urges the Member States to set up a monitoring and corrective mechanism to this end immediately, and to ensure that medical personnel who violate ethics are held accountable; calls on the Commission and the Member States to enhance efforts to foster sustainable and comprehensive capacity-building for Roma women, to create specialised structures such as clearing points in order to provide tailored health information material, and to provide the necessary support for community-health initiatives;

25.  Calls on the Member States to give priority to children while implementing the EU framework for National Roma strategies, in particular by providing access to health care, dignified living conditions and access to education for Roma children; stresses that combating illiteracy among Roma children is key to the better integration and inclusion of Roma people, enabling the next generations to improve their access to employment;

26.  Urges Member States to condemn forced sterilisation, and to provide compensation to Roma women having been subject to systemic and state-supported sterilisation accompanied by a public apology to the victims of this crime against humanity;

27.  Is deeply alarmed by the phenomenon of unlawful removal of Roma children from their parents; calls on Member States to investigate such cases without delay, and take appropriate measures in order to prevent them;

28.  Condemns Member States’ failure to secure Roma people’s equal access to justice and their equality before the law taking shape:

–  in the failure or the unacceptably slow procedures of ensuring justice for the victims of hate crimes, especially those perpetrated by police officers,

–  in the disproportionate criminalisation of Roma,

–  in over-policing (ethnic profiling, excessive stop-and-search procedures, uncalled-for raids on Roma settlements, arbitrary seizure and destruction of property, excessive use of force during arrests, assaults, threats, humiliating treatment, physical abuse, and the denial of rights during police interrogation and custody),

–  and in under-policing of crimes committed against Roma, providing little or no assistance, protection (such as in cases of trafficking and for victims of domestic violence) or investigation in cases of crimes reported by Roma;

29.  Calls on Member States to:

–  guarantee that all citizens are equal before the law and ensure that everyone has equal access to justice and procedural rights;

–  provide mandatory, human-rights based and service-oriented, in-service training to law enforcement officers and officials in the judicial system at all levels,

–  investigate and prosecute hate crimes and provide best practices for identifying and investigating hate crimes, including those motivated specifically by anti-Gypsyism,

–  set up anti-hate crime units with knowledge of anti-Gypsyism in police forces,

–  encourage appropriate policing and, in cases of police misconduct, to apply sanctions,

–  recruit dispute resolution professionals to work with police,

–  encourage the active recruitment of Roma as members of the police force,

–  ensure that victim support programmes address the specific needs of Roma and that assistance is provided to them when reporting crimes and filing complaints,

–  continue and to extend the geographic scope of JUSTROM, a joint Commission-Council of Europe (CoE) programme on Roma women’s access to justice,

–  fully implement the EU anti-trafficking directive and step up their police and judicial cooperation to combat trafficking, and,

–  fully implement Directive 2011/92/EU(17) to prevent and combat child sexual abuse and exploitation and to protect victims;

30.  Calls on the European Police College (CEPOL) to continue the provision of training courses in the field of fundamental rights and the related intersectional sensitisation of the police force;

31.  Is deeply concerned about widespread discrimination against Roma in the field of housing characterised by a discriminatory rental and property ownership market and social housing system, forced evictions and demolitions of the homes of Roma without the provision of adequate alternative housing, the placement of Roma in segregated camps and emergency shelters cut off from basic services, the erection of walls around Roma settlements, and the failure of public authorities to secure Roma people's full access to daily potable tap water and to sewage systems;

32.  Calls on Member States to take effective measures to ensure equal treatment of Roma in access to housing, and to make full use of EU funds to improve the housing situation of Roma, in particular by promoting desegregation, eliminating any spatial segregation, by promoting community-led local development and integrated territorial investment supported by ESIF and also through a consistent policy on public housing; urges the Member States to ensure access to public utilities, such as water, electricity and gas, and infrastructure for housing in compliance with national legal requirements;

33.  Calls on the Commission to recognise its competence in the context of racially motivated forced evictions; calls on the Member States to ensure that forced evictions are in full compliance with Union law as well as with other international human rights obligations, such as those arising from the European Convention on Human Rights; calls, furthermore, for an increase in the number and availability of desegregation experts in the Member States most concerned in order to support authorities in ensuring that European structural and investment funds effectively promote desegregation, and calls for the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund (ESF-ERDF) to be earmarked for spatial desegregation measures;

34.  Welcomes pro-active initiatives that seek to improve the housing situation of Roma in cities; acknowledges the initiative of Eurocities that collects evidence through a mapping exercise exploring the characteristics of Roma communities living in cities, the challenges they face and the cities’ responses to these;

35.  Deplores continuing school segregation, including the overrepresentation of Roma children in ‘special schools’, Roma-only schools, separate classes, ‘container schools’, etc.; calls on Member States to draw up and take specific school desegregation and other effective measures to ensure equal treatment and full access for Roma children to high quality and mainstream education, and to ensure that all Roma children complete at least compulsory education; highlights, in this regard, the importance of exploring the reasons for early school drop-out, in particular the role of anti-Gypsyism in this phenomenon; encourages, furthermore, the Member States to explore new ways of closing the existing educational gap through adult learning, vocational education and training, and informal and non-formal learning; insists that this should be done while paying attention also to intersectional discrimination, with the involvement of Roma experts and school mediators, and ensuring adequate resources for such measures;

36.  Considers the discrimination of Roma in the field of employment, most often characterised by long-term unemployment, zero-hour contracts, precarious employment conditions lacking medical and social insurance or pensions, labour market barriers (which exist even for Roma with tertiary education) and the lack of re-training possibilities, alarming and unacceptable; urges, therefore, the Member States to take effective measures to ensure the equal treatment of Roma in access to the labour market and to employment opportunities, and to dismantle direct and indirect barriers, including discrimination;

37.  Calls for the Member States to engage with the private sector to support training, employment and business opportunities for Roma, especially in growing technology sectors; calls on the Member States to ambitiously explore how new technologies can assist and contribute to the social and economic inclusion of Roma and to the fight against anti-Gypsyism; highlights the importance of regional development for sustainable job creation in the least developed regions;

38.  Calls on the Member States to promote policies that have proven to have a significant positive impact, such as vocational and on-the-job training, individual counselling services, self-employment, social entrepreneurship and first work experience programmes, in order to foster Roma participation in the labour market and to prevent the intergenerational transmission of poverty in Roma communities;

39.  Condemns multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination of Roma, which are often hidden or covert; stresses that policies targeting one ground of discrimination should pay attention to the situation of specific groups that are likely to be victims of multiple discrimination; urges the Commission and Member States to pay special attention to improving educational attainment, participation, access to employment, housing, healthcare and to the prevention of discrimination in case of Roma facing multiple and intersectional discrimination, and to include specific programmes for them in the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies after 2020;

40.  Notes with concern that Roma women are exposed to multiple and intersectional discrimination for being women, and for belonging to the Roma ethnic minority group and thus find themselves in a disadvantaged position when it comes to participating in society at all levels and to accessing basic services and resources; highlights that discrimination is even more acute for Roma women and girls without identity papers; emphasises that improving the situation of Roma women and girls requires specific and targeted non-discriminatory policies which enable equal access to employment and education, including life-long learning, and which ensure quality housing – a key to improving their living conditions and combating poverty and exclusion;

41.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that a specific chapter on women’s rights and gender equality is included in their National Roma Integration Strategies (NRISs), and that gender mainstreaming measures aimed at promoting women’s rights and the gender equality perspective are applied in each section thereof, in particular in the allocation of funds, in line with the Council conclusions on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies which ‘demand a gender perspective to be applied in all policies and actions for advancing Roma inclusion’; calls on Member State governments and local authorities to involve Roma women in the preparation, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the NRISs; emphasises the need for gender-disaggregated data to be systematically collected and regularly analysed, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to assess whether policies are achieving the desired improvements for Roma women and girls, and to take action if there is a lack of progress; calls on the Commission to support the promotion of gender equality in the implementation of all aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy in line with the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015;

42.  Calls on the Member States to pay heed to the particular challenges faced by Roma women and girls in relation to early and forced marriages and attacks on their physical integrity, and encourages the Member States to promote and support the collection and dissemination of data on legal and other measures taken at national level to prevent and combat violence perpetrated against Roma women and girls;

43.  Encourages businesses and local authorities to create training schemes and work opportunities for Roma women;

44.  Calls on governments to encourage and support the effective participation of Roma women in public and political life;

45.  Regards equality bodies as vital for informing Roma about their rights, assisting them in exercising their rights and reporting on discrimination; calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish standards to secure adequate powers and resources for equality bodies to monitor and act on cases of anti-Gypsyism; calls on the Member States to support the work and institutional capacity of equality bodies for the promotion of equal treatment by granting them adequate resources so that they can provide effective legal and judicial assistance and to bolster their work with Roma legal advisers to ease the reporting of abuses;

46.  Is concerned about the low level of participation of Roma people as interlocutors with or seated representatives of local, regional and national governments and the failure of governments to guarantee their exercise of full citizenship; recognises the crucial role of civil society in this respect; calls for broader cooperation among the national and local authorities concerned, the EU, the Council of Europe and NGOs; encourages EU and Member States’ institutions and political parties to actively promote the political participation and empowerment of Roma and their recruitment into public administrations; calls for Roma empowerment programmes, including those aimed at increasing and ensuring the long-term participation of Roma from an intersectional perspective as representatives of local, regional and national governments; calls for the Commission and the Member States to take action to ensure that Roma women’s participation in policy and decision-making is enhanced;

47.  Calls on Member States to provide mandatory, practical and intersectional fundamental rights and non-discrimination-related training courses for all public officials, who are duty bearers and key to the correct implementation of EU and Member State legislation, in order to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to serve all citizens from a human rights-based approach;

48.  Calls on Member States, given the power of the media in influencing the perception of ethnic minorities by the public to:

–  provide obligatory training to those working in public broadcasting and the media to raise their awareness about the challenges and discrimination faced by Roma, and about harmful stereotypes,

–  promote the recruitment of Roma in public media, and,

–  promote the representation of Roma on public media boards;

49.  Encourages, in order to successfully stop the perpetuation of anti-Gypsyism, Member States to include mandatory human rights, democratic citizenship and political literacy training courses in their school curricula at all levels in order to end Roma people’s identity insecurity, strengthen their self-confidence and ability to exercise and demand their equal rights;

50.  Is deeply concerned by cuts in the public sector, which have dramatically affected the activities of both the state and state-funded NGOs to promote equality for Roma people and limited the reach of these projects; stresses that the state and its institutions have a fundamental role in promoting equality, which cannot be substituted;

National Roma Integration Strategies

51.  Notes with concern that the efforts and financial means which have been invested, and the numerous European and national programmes and funds which have addressed the Roma community have not contributed significantly to the improvement of their living conditions and have not advanced Roma integration, in particular at the local level; calls, therefore, on the Member States, in order to fight against Roma people’s marginalisation, discrimination and exclusion, and with a view to advancing the process of Roma integration and combating anti-Gypsyism:

–  to be ambitious in setting up their National Roma Integration Strategies, to carry out more research into successful local practices and programmes with the active involvement of Roma in order to reveal their situation, the realities and challenges faced, and to pay special attention to anti-Gypsyism and its consequences with the aim of developing an improved, comprehensive and holistic approach to the issue, thereby addressing not only the social and economic aspect, but also combating racism, while working on mutual trust,

–  to fully implement their National Roma Integration Strategies,

–  to evaluate their effectiveness and update them regularly, define clear actions, tailor-made measures and set measurable goals and milestones,

–  to work closely with every stakeholder, including regional and local entities, academia, the private sector, grassroots organisations and NGOs, and actively involve Roma,

–  to further develop data collection, field work-based, financial and quality-oriented monitoring and reporting methodologies as they support effective evidence-based policies, can contribute to improving the effectiveness of strategies, actions and measures taken, and to identifying why the programmes and strategies do not deliver the long-awaited results,

–  to empower their national Roma Contact Points by ensuring that they have an adequate mandate, the necessary resources and suitable working conditions in order to carry out their coordination tasks;

Putting anti-Gypsyism at the forefront of an improved post-2020 strategy

52.  Welcomes the efforts made, and the wide range of useful mechanisms and funds developed by the Commission to foster the social and economic inclusion of Roma and the fact that it launched an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies by 2020, calling on Member States to adopt national strategies;

53.  Calls on the Commission to:

–  upscale the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies after 2020, building on the findings and recommendations of the Court of Auditors, the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), NGOs, watchdog organisations and all relevant stakeholders, to have an improved, updated and even more comprehensive approach,

–  place anti-Gypsyism in the focus of the post-2020 EU Framework in addition to social inclusion, and to introduce anti-discrimination indicators in the fields of education, employment, housing health, etc., as anti-Gypsyism undermines the successful implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies,

–  treat anti-Gypsyism as a horizontal issue, and to develop – in partnership with Member States, the FRA and NGOs – an inventory of practical steps for Member States to combat anti-Gypsyism,

–  complete the Roma Task Force of the relevant Commission services by setting up a Commissioner-level project team on Roma issues, bringing together all the relevant Commissioners working in the field of equal rights and non-discrimination, citizenship, social rights, employment, education and culture, health, housing, and their external dimension, in order to safeguard the creation of non-discriminatory and complementary EU funds and programmes,

–  to strengthen and complement the work of the Non-discrimination and Roma Coordination Unit of the Commission by reinforcing the team, allocating adequate resources and employing further staff in order to have sufficient capacities to fight anti-Gypsyism, raise awareness of the Roma Holocaust and to promote Holocaust remembrance;

54.  Calls for the EU institutions to mainstream Roma rights in the context of external relations; insists strongly on the need to fight anti-Gypsyism and promote Roma rights in the candidate countries and potential candidate countries;

55.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to apply and actively disseminate the working definition of anti-Gypsyism by the ECRI in order to provide clear guidance to state authorities;

56.  Calls on all political groups in Parliament and political parties in the Member States to respect the revised charter of European political parties for a non-racist society, and asks them to regularly renew their commitment and to condemn and sanction hate speech;

57.  Calls on the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights to prepare a study on anti-Gypsyism in the EU and candidate countries, to focus on anti-Gypsyism during their work on Roma issues and to monitor it in all relevant fields;

58.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the candidate countries, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.


We demand nothing more, but also nothing less for the Roma people(1), than we demand for the majority society.

The Roma have been treated unthinkably and unacceptably for centuries.

They have been deprived of their human rights. They have been enslaved, disowned, persecuted, exterminated, and not even the emancipation of our societies resulted in putting an end to societal anti-Gypsyism. Anti-Gypsyism is the belief that Roma are inferior, capable of less, having no prospect or will to catch up with the non-Roma, unfit to be good citizens of the countries they have been living for centuries; and anti-Gypsyism is also the actions built on this belief.

How does anti-Gypsyism look in practice? According to stereotypes, if Roma are begging, they do it in a gang as criminals or they are in this situation because they are innately lazy. If Roma parents have a blond child, they must be kidnappers. If their children do not attend school, it is because they cannot stand discipline and are free spirits. If they are forced to live in a segregated Roma camp without drinking water, sanitation, heating and infested by rats, that is ok, as they are used to living like this. And when their houses are demolished without alternative housing being provided, that is also acceptable; they can live in the cold, their skin is thicker. We are raised and taught to think like this and to join the socially accepted, politically institutionalised process of dehumanisation.

It is not only anti-Gypsyism taking form in our feelings that matters, but also the words through which it manifests itself: The Roma should not be treated as vulnerable people. If people are deprived of their fundamental human rights and denied equal treatment, access to welfare, services, information, it is not they, who are vulnerable, but rather the structures established and maintained by those in power are discriminatory and render them vulnerable.

We demand the paternalistic treatment of the Roma, both verbally and in action, stop. And as words do matter, we demand a shift also in the way we communicate about them. For Roma people to be included or integrated, they should be able to access and enjoy their fundamental human rights. Nothing more, yet nothing less.

After a very long delay, politicians have to take equal responsibility for their Roma citizens. Otherwise, political rhetoric featuring hate speech and scapegoating will further contaminate our societies, which most of us still hope will be based on the values of respect, tolerance and openness.

Anti-Gypsyism in numbers

In order to show the severe and far-reaching effects of anti-Gypsyism, your rapporteur intends to draw your attention to the latest European survey findings and research results:

As a result of the lack of real commitment to tackling anti-Gypsyism for decades, the life of most Roma people in Europe is bleak and is lacking prospects.

Although European societies have become more and more diverse, the 2015 Eurobarometer survey on `Discrimination in the EU(2) clearly shows that 20% of the respondents would be uncomfortable working with a Roma person, and only 45% of them would be at ease if their son or daughter had a relationship with a Roma person.

Discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin is the most widespread form of discrimination in the EU, which is demonstrated by the EU MIDIS II(3) survey results as well. The survey paints an unacceptable picture of the reality of the Roma living in the EU:

•  80% of Roma parents and their children surveyed, live at risk of poverty – compared to 17% of the general population;

•  every third Roma child is at risk of going to bed hungry at least once a month;

•  47% of them do not attend early childhood education;

•  every third Roma household surveyed lives in a house without tap water; every other Roma family lives without a toilet, shower or bathroom inside their dwelling; every fifth household has a house with a leaking roof, damp walls and foundation or rotting window frames;

•  63% of young Roma aged 16-24 were not employed, nor were they in education or training at the time of the EU MIDIS II survey, compared with the 12% EU average of the NEET rate for the same age group;

•  41% of Roma feel they have been discriminated against in schools, at workplaces, in housing and at hospitals.

Other organisations, among them NGOs, watchdog and international organisations, provide a similar portrayal of the living conditions of Roma and the different faces of anti-Gypsyism in all walks of life:


•  40% of Roma surveyed have to climb over fences, cross highways or be confronted by stray dogs while trying to get daily water, which often has not been tested for safety and is exposed to contaminants. The burden of fetching water falls mostly on women and girls. Evidence has been found that many Roma remain without water and sewage due to discrimination and the failure of public authorities to secure access to these public utilities.(4)

•  Thousands of Roma families live in segregated camps cut off from basic services in Italy, where living conditions are overwhelmingly sub-standard and unsuitable for human habitation, such as near waste dumps and airport runways, which breach both national housing regulations as well as international standards.(5)

•  Discrimination in the rental sector has forced some 100000 Roma into 4000 substandard hostels and dormitories in Czech Republic, where they are charged up to three times the market value of an ordinary flat by slumlords.(6)

•  In France, more than 10000 Roma (over six in 10 Roma families, including elderly people and young children) were forcibly evicted from their homes in 2016 – some multiple times – mostly in the middle of winter, without the provision of alternative housing.(7)

•  In Italy, between 2013 and 2016, about 2200 people have been evicted from informal camps without adequate alternative accommodation provided, many temporarily housed in crowded and squalid segregated emergency shelters without basic necessities. On average each of these persons has been evicted at least five times over this three-year period.(8)

•  In Bulgaria, as of February 2016, there were 514 demolition orders issued against residential buildings, with Roma-owned buildings constituting 500 (97%) of these. Of these orders, 201 had already been executed. In these cases the Roma – including children and vulnerable family members – were not provided with any alternative accommodation, and were left homeless as a result. The demolitions in the Roma settlements took place en masse. The Roma were not given notice of the exact date of execution of the orders and most of them were not able to remove their furniture and personal belongings. Some of them also lost identity and other personal documents.(9)

•  In recent years in Slovakia, 14 walls and barriers were erected to segregate Roma from the rest of the society.(10)

Access to health

•  Research in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic put Roma infant mortality rates at 2 to 6 times higher than those for the general population.(11)

•  Roma have a life expectancy of 10 years less than the average European.(12)

•  Several hospitals in Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria contain segregated and substandard maternity wards, and Romani women patients are subject to racial and physical abuse when giving birth.(13)

Access to education

•  School segregation is a shameful reality across Europe. For the academic year 2016/2017 in the Czech Republic, Roma pupils accounted for 3.7% of all pupils at all elementary schools, while they make up 30.9% of all pupils being taught according to curricula for children living with mild mental disabilities.(14)

•  Recent research shows that 20% of Roma in the Czech Republic and Slovakia have attended a school or a classroom that is both special and composed of solely or mainly Roma; a similar pattern has appeared elsewhere, including in France, Greece, and Bulgaria. Every second Roma in Hungary and Slovakia has been attending a regular school or classroom composed of solely or mainly Roma; the picture in Greece, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France and Romania is not much different.(15)

Access to employment

•  In Sweden in 2010, 80% of Roma people were unemployed.(16)

•  In Spain, 38.5% of Roma are in paid employment, while the majority population reaches a proportion of 83.6%. The access of Roma people to employment is influenced by factors of discrimination and rejection on grounds of ethnicity in many sectors, because of deeply-rooted prejudices and stereotypes in society.(17)

Statelessness and lack of personal identity documents

•  As a consequence of the Balkan war, a large number of Roma in Italy are stateless or at risk of statelessness. Thousands of Roma children born in Italy are facing the limbo of legal invisibility and are without basic rights, even though their families have been living in Italy for decades.(18)

•  In Romania, around 15000 Roma people are estimated to live without birth certificates resulting in not having the right to identity and to effective recognition of citizenship.(19)

Access to justice and fair policing

•  Roma women have for decades been subjected to forced sterilisation in the Czech Republic, Finland(20), Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and Sweden. Several governments have yet to establish a compensation mechanism and acknowledge that sterilisation of Romani women without their informed consent has been systemic and state-supported prior to 1990, and that it persisted into the 21st century due to these states´ failures to protect the autonomy and rights of women receiving reproductive health services specifically.(21)

•  Bulgarian Roma are twice as likely as non-Roma to report being abused in police stations, a figure which rises to 70% for Roma minors.(22)

•  Many Roma victims of violence surveyed in Romania said that filing a complaint would be both burdensome and futile due to racism and discrimination at every level of the process.(23)

Hate speech and hate crimes

•  Roma are victims of violent attacks and intimidation by neo-Nazi and far right groups, as well as anti-Roma protests across Europe. In the Czech Republic, 32% of Roma have been subjected to hate speech and violence; two thirds of victims never reported these crimes.

The historic data we rarely hear about: 25-50% of the Roma community in Europe was killed in the Holocaust. However, in the Nuremberg Trials, no one was tried for having sent Roma people to the gas chambers, no Roma witnesses were called to the tribunal, and none were granted restitution for the crimes committed against them.

The Roma Holocaust was first recognized in 1982 by then German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. In Auschwitz a permanent exhibition on `The Destruction of the European Roma` was only opened in 2001. In Berlin the first memorial site to Roma Holocaust victims was not unveiled until 2012. Roma Holocaust victims still have not been duly compensated in several EU countries, and in the Czech Republic, the former Nazi concentration camp for Roma, Lety, is now a pig farm.

Source : europarl