European Western Balkans

EU officials: Roma culture and history an intricate part of Europe for centuries

BRUSSELS – Roma culture and history have been an intricate part of Europe for centuries, says the joint statement by EU officials released on the International Roma Day.

“Words lead to hate, and hate leads to violence. We have to be vigilant that Roma people do not again become the target of harassment and attacks. We must learn from our history and we must prevent fanning the flames of past hatred. To do this we need to firmly stand by our founding values. The EU stands for a society where equal treatment is the reality for all minorities, and in which the same rights and opportunities are afforded to Roma communities as to anyone else. This is who we are”, state First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioners Johannes Hahn, Marianne Thyssen, Vĕra Jourová, Corina Creţu.

According to the statement, “International Roma Day is an opportunity to look at what has been done at EU and national level to improve Roma inclusion. The work of Member States has been guided by the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies since 2011 with EU funds also available to support the integration of Roma. This strategy is bearing fruit; we are seeing improvements, particularly in the field of education.”

The Roma are Europe’s largest minority community – with 6 million Roma living in the EU and 4 million in the enlargement region (Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Turkey).

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