Regarding the International Roma Day, the European Commission’s First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioners Johannes Hahn, Marianne Thyssen, Vĕra Jourová, Corina Creţu stated:
“Today, we celebrate Roma culture and remember their history, which has been an intricate part of Europe for centuries. Despite being Europe’s largest minority, Roma communities still suffer from widespread discrimination and marginalisation. This prevents them from accessing fundamental rights to education, employment, decent housing or basic health services.
Antigypsyism is on the rise. We are witnessing extreme speeches, including from politicians, and the spreading of hate speech and fake news online. Words lead to hate, and hate leads to violence. We have to be vigilant that Roma do not again become the target of harassment and attacks. We must learn from our history and we must prevent fanning the flames of past hatred.
To do this we need to firmly stand by our founding values. The EU stands for a society where equal treatment is the reality for all minorities, and in which the same rights and opportunities are afforded to Roma communities as to anyone else. This is who we are.
International Roma Day is an opportunity to look at what has been done at EU and national level to improve Roma inclusion. The work of Member States has been guided by the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies since 2011 with EU funds also available to support the integration of Roma. This strategy is bearing fruit; we are seeing improvements, particularly in the field of education.
But, we still have a long way to go to make sure that Roma communities can fulfil their potential. The European Commission encourages EU countries, as well as partners with a European Perspective, to uphold their commitments, to strengthen the fight against discrimination and to support Roma participation and representation in the political sphere, in our economies and societies. They are us.
Putting an end to centuries of marginalisation requires Europe-wide cooperation. Politicians, from national to local level, need to improve trust between Roma and non-Roma communities, and ensure that they enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other Europeans,” the statement reads.
More details and background on the Commission’s official website. On International Roma Day, Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia, ambassador Sem Fabrizi participated on the event “Institutional mechanisms for social inclusion of Roma men and women”.