Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-16-Speech-3-406"

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". − Mr President, we too have put questions to the Commission, and I expect the Commissioner to answer them. This evening, we are mainly discussing the efforts of the European Union – the European Commission – to tackle the problems of the Roma, a large group of whom became EU citizens a few years ago, and another last year. These citizens are living in conditions that are in most cases unacceptable. We are pleased that we are to receive a response from the European Commission in this House today. We are also pleased that the European Council devoted attention to the situation of the Roma at the Brussels Summit, and asked the Commission to present more specific proposals for what the European Union itself can do to supplement the policy of Member States with large Roma communities, what we can do in the way of coordination and exchange of best practices, and how the available EU resources can be better deployed in those countries via the funds in order to do something about the situation of the Roma. I say this particularly because, upon the accession of a number of countries – last year, and also in 2004 – we said, ‘All right, come on in; one of the things we must do together is tackle the problems of the Roma.’ I myself was rapporteur for Slovakia, and I remember the Slovak Government making all kinds of promises, but I have some doubts about the effectiveness of the implementation of those promises. This remains an important point. We would also say that the Roma cannot be regarded as a typical national minority, such as the Hungarians in Slovakia or the Russians in the Baltic States. They are a typical European minority, for which a special European policy could be developed, together with the Member States concerned, with a separate responsibility for the European Union – as, indeed, was recognised in the pronouncements of the Brussels European Council. We would ask the Commission, in particular, to ensure greater coordination within the Commission itself. How can we improve cooperation? How can we give someone, possibly from the ranks of the Commissioners, central responsibility for Roma policy? Maybe we should also look at the possibility of recognising the Roma as a kind of European minority in order to get around, to some extent, the principle of subsidiarity currently applicable to Member States’ minority policy. To conclude, I believe that everyone’s intentions are good, but that better coordination and more action are required."@en1

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