Some thoughts on the II EU Roma Summit

There are few thought that come to my mind after the summit.

The representation was at a lower level than it was at the first summit in 2008. Few ministers from the countries concerned, Spanish Prime Minister and the President of the Commission did not attend.

The speech delivered by the Vice-President of the EC, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Ms Viviane Reding was confusing. She stated that there are policies and money so no need for anything else.One might ask then why do we need a summit on Roma?

The summit had an important cultural component as a result of local Roma re4presentatives. I noticed that Roma from Spain are really proud of being Roma mainly because of their culture and influence they had on culture in Spain. I did not see anywhere such an expression of Romani identity!

One issue that was untouched is the whole issue of racism that Roma are facing all over Europe. This is a problem where members states have to do more to promote equality and combat hate speech.

It was a surprise the fact that the French Minister of Foreign Affairs appeared on the stage in the first session. He talked about migration, equating migration of Roma with trafficking. While he touched this sensitive subject of human, especially children and persons with disability, trafficking he was mistaken in understanding migration of Roma. He left in an English style so nobody could reply to his opinions. However. he announced that France consider necessary to have a Roma strategy and that his government is supporting such a process.

Informal discussions with different persons from the EC confirmed that the elaboration of an EU strategy for Roma is on its way, that the train started and nobody can stop it.

My main concerns are not about the strategy but about the ways in which funds will be allocated, how these funds will reach the communities, what changes will produce these resources at the community level, how to measure the changes and who will be accountable for the funds. These are questions more important than others like will the EC adopt a strategy for Roma or not?

To conclude, the summit showed that the Roma is still on the agenda of the EC.  It was a opportunity for people working on Roma related issues to meet and exchange info.

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