Monday, April 20, 2009


Declaration on violence against Roma by Vladimir Spidla Member of the European Commission 20. 4. 2009:

"Following a brutal arson attack on a Roma family - including their small child - in Vitkov, Czech Republic, I wish to express my deep sympathy to the victims and assure them of my solidarity.

Similarly to a recent case in Hungary, I do not intend to comment on the details of this case, as it is clear that the normal judicial process must now take its course. I trust that the Czech authorities will investigate the crime properly and bring the perpetrators to justice.

However, I do wish to reiterate my deep concern about the increasing level of aggression against Roma in the European Union. It is clear that there is a pattern of violence targeting Roma, and that this is not a phenomenon which concerns only one or two Member States.

I am particularly concerned that the public debate in various Member States is continuously being influenced by populist anti-Roma rhetoric which might be taken, in extreme cases, as instigation to hate crimes.

The issue of personal safety of Roma is directly related to the broader problem of their being persistently discriminated against and marginalised in European societies. Unless both the EU and the Member States make significant efforts to overcome the exclusion of Roma, they will remain particularly exposed to attacks on their lives and property.

The European Commission strongly condemns all forms of violence against Roma and calls for Member States to increase their efforts to facilitate the transfer of active, evidence-based policies aiming at the social inclusion of Roma. The Roma should be able to enjoy their full rights as European citizens with full access to mainstream education, mainstream jobs and mainstream housing.
In this context, I welcome the joint efforts of the Czech Presidency and the European Commission to launch an EU Platform for Roma Inclusion on Friday 24 April in Prague where common principles on the inclusion of Roma will be agreed."

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