Europe’s Roma people seem to be constantly in the headlines. In Italy, they have been chased from their encampments and blamed for crimes ranging from theft to murder. Now a new European report says they are the most discriminated group in the Union and that is having serious consequences.
Livia Jaroka, a European People’s Party MEP of Roma origin said: “Roma people in Europe are dying 10 years younger than any other population. We are facing multiple discrimination in the sense that 90 percent of our people are unemployed. Most importantly I think, we have to mainstream the issue in the sense that we have to understand that these issues are not Roma issues, they are education issues, regional development issues, unemployment issues, which have to be dealt with, not in a separate Roma organisation.”
The report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights attacks the overt evictions of Roma communities, like the one in Naples last month.
One organisation trying to help them accuses the European people of having short memories.
Mario Marazziti of the Sant’Egido association said: “Over the past couple of years the situation is becoming worse and worse. There is no memory of the Holocaust, of the extermination of the gypsies in the camps, and Roma are becoming a scapegoat for any social insecurity or bad feeling that there is in the population.”
The report paints a desperate picture for the young. Many Roma children do not attend schools. Lack of education denies them opportunities and fuels the vicious cycle of segregation, it says.