International Roma Day

On the occasion of the International Roma Day - Friday 8 April 2016

International Roma Day is a good opportunity to reiterate the call for more progress on the inclusion of Roma in Europe and the world.

In Europe we still have a lot of work to do to eliminate discrimination against this large minority in our societies. Roma lack equal access to jobs, education, housing and healthcare.

Anti-gypsyism, a serious form of racism, is widespread in our countries and communities, which is a clear violation of EU fundamental values. Forced evictions of Roma as well as segregation in education continue to cause concern.

The EESC has created a permanent structure to promote the inclusion of the Roma, and has hosted debates on Roma in its SOC section and held a hearing on anti-gypsyism earlier this week as part of the EU Roma week. Civil society, most notably the Roma themselves have a vital role to play to end discrimination. We must ensure that Roma are represented and heard at all levels.

The EESC calls on the European Commission to vigorously pursue the implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies by 2020 and on the Member States to work on improving equal access to jobs, education, housing and healthcare in practice.

The principle of equality is a fundamental value of the European Union, and we must stand together to ensure equal treatment for all, including the Roma.