A partnership for progress between national governments, European institutions and Roma representatives can lead the way to solving the discrimination fuelling Roma migration.
Robert Rustem, the European and Travellers Forum Executive Secretary, likens the flight of Roma people from central and eastern Europe to the 20th century migration to northern towns of African-Americans living in southern states.
He believes the support of European institutions is vital because a “failure of national politics” has allowed governments to remain “deaf” to the poverty and discrimination faced by Roma people. This causes many to flee to other European countries, bringing an international dimension to a national issue.
Rustem welcomes the proposal of French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault for a meeting of European governments to discuss the situation of Roma people.
Europe, Rustem says in a podcast interview, is “a family.” Governments should “fight” for the standards of the Council of Europe, to which they are committed.
Rustem describes the assistance offered by European institutions to Roma representatives and organisations as “back-up support” in negotiations with governments.
He adds: “The European Roma and Travellers Forum welcomes the proposal of the French prime minister.
“The Roma community across Europe faces staggering levels of poverty and discrimination. These have not been addressed sufficiently by national governments, forcing some in the Roma community to leave for other countries.
“This migration has a national and European dimension and can only be solved at both levels. The European institutions have an important role to play. They can be partners for progress, working with Roma organisations to defeat discrimination.”
Interview with Robert Rustem
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