Brussels, July 2nd, 2008: European Roma Information Office (ERIO) welcomes the launch of the new Social Agenda by the European Commission.
This document includes a report on the inclusion of Roma in the European society that could be seen as a first step in the direction of a substantial and consistent European Strategy for Roma.
The report could also offer a good basis of discussion to prepare for the European Roma Summit that will take place in Brussels on September 18th, 2008.
Awareness raising is fundamental to tackle the growing prejudice against Roma in Europe. Ivan Ivanov, ERIO Executive Director, commenting on the Social Agenda stated that: “As the recent Eurobarometer survey on discrimination shows, once again Roma are the most discriminated minority in Europe. Alarming levels of prejudices among Italians and Czech can easily be explained by the racist attitude of its politicians. Therefore we need urgent action and we hope that the Member States will cope with their resposibilities and use all the instruments at their disposal to improve the level of protection and integration of Roma in their societies”.
ERIO also welcomes the Commission proposal for a horizontal directive that will complete the anti-discrimination protection beyond the workplace: this directive would include age, sexual orientation, disability and faith. Gender and ethnic origin are already covered (although not always in an effective way, as the last Fundamental Rights Agency report showed) by another directive. This new directive would ensure equal treatment in the areas of social protection, including social security and health care, education and access to and supply of goods and services which are commercially available to the public, including housing.