Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner on Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Roma across Europe – 6 million in the EU – are the largest and most disadvantaged minority in the region.
Thousands of Roma are forced to live in informal settlements; they are forcibly evicted from their homes, and, if not left homeless, are resettled in inadequate conditions. Each year, thousands of Roma children are segregated in schools offering inferior education. Many Roma are denied access to jobs and quality health care. They are victims of racially motivated violence, often left without police protection or access to justice.
This is not a coincidence. It is the result of widespread discrimination and racism facing Roma across Europe.
Many EU member states fail to enforce, in policy and practice, not just international human rights standards, but also EU anti-discrimination law. The European Commission has the competence, responsibility and obligation to ensure compliance with this law and fight against the discrimination facing Roma.
The EU prides itself on being founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This continues to ring hollow while millions of Roma are denied their basic human rights due to discrimination.
I urge you to use all your powers, including sound legal monitoring and political pressure, to guarantee the compliance of EU member states with EU anti-discrimination law and uphold equal rights for all.
The March 2013 brief by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) provides information about the situation on the ground in the EU as well as suggestions for the way in which the EU and its Member States could better address crimes motivated by hatred and prejudice.