At the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest, Hungary, against the backdrop of France’s expulsions of Roma, euronews asked the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, about the politics surrounding vulnerable people.
Sergio Cantone, euronews: Why did you pay a visit to this centre? Is it important for you?
Jerzy Buzek, European Parliament President: Well, I would like to show solidarity with the Roma people because they live, very often, in poverty and social exclusion. It’s very important to symbolize our connection with all European citizens.
euronews: Is it a sort of message that you are sending, a political message to the European Union?
Buzek: Well, I can say that we should solve problems of people living in poverty and social exclusion, and very often [it is] minorities [who] live in such a situation. It’s not only a problem of one country and one minority, but we know very well that we should start tackling the problem.
euronews: Do you think that there are countries in the EU that are not working in [an] appropriate way when it comes to the problem of the Roma?
Buzek: I wouldn’t like to discuss it in this way, because I think that we have problems with many people living in poverty or exclusion, so we should treat it more widely and generally, but minorities are in an especially weak position [much of the time].
euronews: Do you think that sending back home Roma who are living in other countries of the EU, not in their country of origin, is a good way to deal with this problem?
Buzek: As you know, we must also keep a balance between many issues; our citizens expect [this of] us.
Buzek: What? It’s no way of discriminating any minority, just because it is a minority. The EU has got treaties and a law, and the European Commission is the guardian of European law.
euronews: The European Parliament took a clear position. [As its president,] what do you think about it?
Buzek: It is quite typical that the EU parliament is very tough and strong from the point of view of human rights; It is very good, because it is our basic value. [Furthermore, the] opening of the procedure by the European Commission is a very good signal that we are standing on the position of law.