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The Roma: Can the European Commission do more?

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The Roma: Can the European Commission do more?


“Forced expulsions, ethnic profiling by the police, school segregation… Why doesn’t the European Commission implement more infrigement procedures against Member States that don’t respect the rights of the Roma?”

Nele Meyer, Officer for Social, Economic and Cultural Rights at Amnesty International says:

“There’s no legal reason why the European Commission does not open such infrigement procedures. Actually the Commission can – whenever EU law is infringed – open such a procedure and in such cases there is a clear infringement of the Racial and Equality Directive.

This Directive prohibits any form of discrimination on racial grounds in the areas of social services such as housing and education. The problem is that the European Commission has discretion, which means that the European Commission can itself decide whether it wants to trigger such an infringement procedure or not.

Lately the Commission has tried to use its limited capacities and said that it will, whenever there are cases of systematic discrimination, actually trigger infringement procedures.

Civil societies such as Amnesty International and others like the European Roma Rights Centre or the Open Society Foundations have delivered sufficient proof of systematic discrimination. So Amnesty International for instance has already handed over submissions on cases in Italy with segregated housing or in the Czech Republic with segregation in education to the European Commission and we’ve been waiting for more than a year now for any reaction from the European Commission.

So the European Commission must open up more cases, must threaten Member States with infringement procedures and also trigger infringement procedures in such cases. So where there are systematic evictions like in Italy, just start an infringement procedure. It’s a good tool which has never ever yet been used.”

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