The European Commission and You

After 5 years of working in the European Parliament I came to the conclusion that the situation of Roma in Europe remains unacceptable and can even be described with the Dutch word Apartheid.

Unfortunately a former Member of European Parliament (MEP) does not carry much weight. For this reason, in September 2009, I made a proposal to President Barroso.

As there were several delays in the forming of the new Commission, it was only in December 2009, after having sent another letter, that I received a reply. My proposal had been given to the external intermediary, engaged by the Commission to deal with possible future officials. Which means that there is a chance.

The proposal to the European Commission (EC) is that they hire me as an adviser who is linking the EC to local Roma intellectuals and vice versa. I have stressed the need of a meeting with the Commissioners for Social Affairs, Education and Human Rights. I reminded Mr José Manuel Barroso of his own spontaneous statement in 2006, when he said that the complexity of Roma issues demanded a taskforce within the Commission. Actually this is the beginning of a Roma strategy.

I ended my letter to President Barroso saying that my task would be a temporary one. After all, if I do a proper job, Roma will take over.

Inclusion and participation are crucial. Though the already existing networks should be reinforced and expanded, no one can deny the fact that there is an increasing number of young and educated Roma who deserve chances now. They are the trailblazers for a future Roma unit and a comprehensive approach of all issues by the EC.

In my letter to the EC I also gave some examples of Roma participation, financially supported by my MEP's office between 2004 and 2009, like the Roma Advisory Groups in Macedonia, who advise the national government in which way funds should be spent, after having consulted local communities. No one can work for Roma without them. The keyword is cooperation.

Els de Groen
Member of European Parliament 2004-2009
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