Honouring the International Roma Day in the EP

2019. 04. 08.

Press release of MEP Lívia Járóka

On the occasion of the International Roma Day (8 April) upon the request of MEP Lívia Járóka, the first Vice-President of the European Parliament of Roma origin, the EP officially displayed the Roma flag on one of its buildings for the first time in history honouring the day.

Honouring the flag, MEP Járóka highlighted the importance of raising awareness of the poor living conditions and situation of Roma in the EU and around the world. “The national Roma strategies have not reached the expected goals set by the 2011 EP resolution on EU strategy on Roma inclusion. There is still limited involvement of local stakeholders, insufficient monitoring and limited progress and structural changes in the areas of education, employment, housing, health, digitalisation, agriculture and anti-gypsyism. The direction is good but the pace is too slow. The Commission and the Member States need to take more targeted actions,” stated the Vice-President.

“The millions of Roma living in the EU are European citizens whose fundamental rights are violated as their basic living conditions are not met. The European, national and regional action plans need to be widened in order to include the local action plans as well. Political participation and empowering of Roma is necessary in order to ensure their active participation in the society. There should be no Roma inclusion project without Roma leadership,” added MEP Járóka.

Regarding the Post-2020 EU Roma inclusion strategy, MEP Járóka called on the Commission and the Member States to design strategies featuring both proactive and reactive measures based on real, systematic consultations with Roma representatives and NGOs. EU Structural Funds shall also be optimised in order to promote accessibility and non-discrimination for Roma communities and increase the visibility of funding opportunities. 

The International Roma Day is honouring the first major international meeting of Romani representatives in 1971 in Chelsfield near London. Now Vice-President Járóka is calling for another high-level meeting of Roma leaders from all over the world by 2020 to set the next steps on Roma policies and to unite the coordination of Roma leadership.