Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-16-Speech-3-408"

PredicateValue (sorted: default)
dcterms:Is Part Of
lpv:document identification number
lpv:translated text
"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, first of all I would like to thank Mrs Járóka, Mrs Angelilli, Mr Wiersma and Mrs Mohácsi for raising these issues, which I am dealing with on behalf of my colleague, Vladimír Špidla, because he is currently in China, and this gives us the opportunity to talk things through on this extremely important subject. These are currently the fundamental items we are preparing and I now await the debate with interest, at the end of which I shall perhaps need to add a few comments. The past year has really shown that both the bodies of the European Union and the Member States themselves are intensifying their efforts to improve the situation of the Roma in the European Union permanently. We have heard that this is necessary and I agree. A few important steps have already been taken in this regard. These range from the European Parliament’s decision in 2005 to introduce the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All to the work of the high-ranking group of experts on the integration of ethnic minorities and the European Economic and Social Committee as well as the conclusions accepted just recently by December’s European Council, to which reference has just been made. I should say that we cannot really shrug off the difficult issue of discrimination, as members of the Roma experience it, and their exclusion from society and from the labour market. We have therefore taken the firm decision to use every instrument available to us, such as legislation, structural funds and information and awareness-raising campaigns, in order to improve this situation. It is obvious that employment and social policy programmes and measures are not being adequately used to promote the social integration of the Roma. We therefore need to concentrate all our efforts primarily on improving access to these measures with a targeted plan. It goes without saying that a plan of this kind must be based on an authoritative and long-term commitment by the Member States and the efficient use of Community instruments and policies. Allow me, therefore, to deal briefly and practically with your questions and outline our proposals for 2008. The Commission will adopt guidelines this summer on the revised strategy for combating discrimination – follow-up action as it were, to the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All. According to the European Council’s conclusions of December 2007, these guidelines will for the most part deal with the Roma problem and the recommendations of the high-ranking group of experts on the integration of ethnic minorities. These guidelines will be supplemented by a working paper by the Commission’s services, which analyses the progress and effectiveness of these measures achieved for the benefit of the Roma, both at political and at legislative level, and also when planning programmes for the structural funds. At the same time we are offering to organise a high-level Roma forum, aimed at bringing together representatives of national governments and parliaments, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions as well as leading figures from Roma civil society and other important players. We are convinced that the rights of the Roma can be strengthened by high-level open discussion and that much more targeted use of resources can be achieved for their benefit. The staff of my colleague Vladimír Špidla will prepare the initiatives referred to and then focus on the Roma problem in the areas of non-discrimination, the European Social Fund, employment and social integration. Since the situation of the Roma relates to several of the Commission’s areas of activity, such as regional policy, education, public health and justice, the specialist inter-agency group for Roma issues, which came into existence in 2004, will be providing the information exchange. Finally, a few weeks ago, the Commission concluded a partnership framework agreement with the European Roma Information Office, the ERIO. This partnership will establish permanent, direct contact between the European bodies and Roma civil society. As for the rest, it should be remembered that several initiatives are being implemented both at national and at European level as part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, which has just begun. These aim to highlight, and therefore make people even more aware of, the importance of dialogue between cultures and above all the advantages that cultural diversity brings to our society. In the spring of 2008, the Commission will publish a Green Paper on educational issues in conjunction with pupils who have a migrant background or belong to a disadvantaged minority. It will also address the major aspects affecting the Roma, such as educational segregation, for instance. This Green Paper should trigger wide-ranging debate on the subject and maybe lead to a plan of action at European level. I should also add – to respond directly to a question from Mrs Mohácsi – that the Commission intends to submit the proposal in 2008 for a directive on the application of the principle of equal treatment beyond employment, i.e. a horizontal directive, as we announced in our work programme."@en1

Named graphs describing this resource:


The resource appears as object in 2 triples

Context graph