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The Roma issue should not be abused for political purposes. Lívia Járóka MEP

The Roma issue should not be abused for political purposes. Lívia Járóka MEP

2010. 09. 07.

This afternoon, the European Parliament held a debate on the situation of the Roma people in Europe, following statements from the European Council and the European Commission. MEP Lívia Járóka, as the main speaker of the European People's Party on the Roma issue, expressed her regret that policy-makers on all sides of the political spectrum seemed to be using the Roma issue as a weapon against their counterparts. She said that the core values of the Union, such as non-discrimination, tolerance and solidarity, had to be fully respected and the expulsion of any EU citizen had to be implemented on a case-by-case basis, on the grounds of proper judicial decisions or with the free, complete and informed consent of all the individuals concerned. Járóka drew attention to the safeguards and principles on which decisions should be based and quoted the Commission by saying: "nobody should face expulsion just for being Roma".

She highlighted that political opinions and legal judgments were separate issues and emphasized that even though one may find expulsions distasteful or far-fetched, assessing the legitimacy of the French measures was the sole responsibility of the European Commission. "Large-scale repatriations might be repulsive, but even more repulsive were the empty human rights promises of the last decades, when technically nothing has been done to alleviate the terrible poverty of Roma, except for chanting a few code-words about anti-discrimination and tolerance when it was politically handy," Járóka said. In the name of European Roma she denounced the political misuse and misinterpretation of Roma issues and stated that Roma must set the boundaries for discussions about themselves, to reveal their problems and to suggest what actions and measures they need.

Járóka recalled that the European Parliament, and more specifically the European People's Party, had proclaimed several times that the poverty and social exclusion of most Roma was a European issue and required a strategy of its own: a common European solution for a common European problem. "This strategy must tackle the economic situation of socially-excluded Roma – and equally non-Roma – such as structural unemployment, low qualifications, dwellings in seriously disadvantaged micro-regions and the barriers to self-employment from which our people are trying to escape when migrating," Járóka stated.