Below is an extract from an extremely important article written by Zeljko Jovanovica who is a Roma leader from Serbia and the director of Roma programmes for the Open Society Foundation. Roma communities have little or no involvement in the European Union and have to rely on human rights groups and advocates to represent them. For any real change to happen, all minority groups must have representation, be registered to vote and be active participants in the political arena.
Spurred on by recent headlines on the treatment of Roma in Europe, many EU policy-makers are now realising that they can no longer move forward on the issue of inclusion without speaking with those most directly affected – the Roma communities themselves.
Take for example EU Commissioner Viviane Reding’s recently announced five-point action plan that promises a dialogue with Roma. The problem is that the Roma are the least organised and most underrepresented ethnic minority group in Europe while the EU is the most advanced and powerful transnational political organisation in Europe. The promise of a dialogue prompts two fundamental questions – who exactly is commissioner Reding going to speak with? Who can, and who should, enter into dialogue with the commission on behalf of the Roma?
- Roma and the EU (deviousdiva.com)
- France not yet in the clear over Roma: EU’s Reding (reuters.com)
- Mediators, lawyers to help integrate Roma: Council of Europe (alternet.org)
- France’s Roma expulsions a ‘disgrace’: EU body (cbc.ca)