Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-16-Speech-3-412"

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"Mr President, the current situation of the Roma forces me to begin with a criticism, which is that the European Commission has been slow and lazy in dealing with Roma issues in Europe. Just look at the Council of Europe and the OSCE, which for the past two decades have had offices fully dedicated to Roma issues. The Council of Europe has produced many specific recommendations on the Roma, and the OSCE has developed its action plan on improving the situation of the Roma in the OSCE area. I wonder how much attention the Commission and EU Member States has devoted to those documents, and whether they took seriously the joint EP resolution on the Roma, or the Decade of Roma Inclusion action plans. However, simply criticising is not my political style, and Ms Ferrero-Waldner has given me some cause for optimism. I would therefore ask the Commissioner to please share the following message with President Barroso and the college when you meet. First, a European Roma strategy should be created as soon as possible and should primarily focus on improving the living conditions of the Roma in Europe, creating jobs for the almost 90% of Roma who are jobless, combating anti-gypsyism, supporting the education of Roma, bringing health into Roma houses and promoting Roma political inclusion. Second, to facilitate such a strategy, the European Commission needs a permanent Roma unit, hiring Roma staff to serve that body. I sincerely hope that the Commission will hire Roma staff on the basis of their skills, rather than their skin, as some Member States have done in the past. Third, a special European fund for Roma projects should be a priority for the European Commission. The European Parliament should, of course, also make a contribution towards the joint European ‘union of works’ to improve the situation of the Roma. I would like at this juncture to raise again the proposal to have a permanent EP rapporteur on Roma issues, who could give a good overview and make recommendations to this House, other EU institutions and the Member States. Furthermore, I would like to hear the voice of the Roma more loudly in this House. Their interests should be represented by their MEPs. Finally, I would underline that the European Roma strategy should express common political values when it comes to the future enlargement process and the fight against ultra-nationalism and the extreme right in Europe."@en1

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