The EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Lazlo Andor, has said the EU Commission shares the concerns of the Celtic League about the ongoing discrimination against the Roma/Traveller communities.
The League wrote in March to express its growing concern following a spate of news reports in the UK press which outlined difficulties encountered by the group (see link below).
The Celtic League has forwarded the additional detail requested by the Commissioner in his response (text below):
“Dear Mr Moffatt,
Mr Andor has asked me to thank you for your letter of 31 March 2010 concerning the social inclusion of the Roma and the Irish Traveller community in the United Kingdom.
The Commission shares your concerns about the situation of the Traveller community and the problems they face in relation to the provision of adequate stopping sites. Unfortunately, we have not been able to access the Internet
links you provided in your letter — I would be grateful if you could send us either the working links or copies of the reports by email (EMPL-04-UNITE@ec. europa. eu).
The EU and the Member States have launched a series of initiatives to improve the social inclusion of travellers and Roma, including in such areas as education, employment, housing and public health.
Last year, the Commission launched a Europe-wide platform for Roma inclusion, which brings together representatives from the Member States, European civil society and international organisations. The aim is to enable them to share knowledge and experiences so as to build synergies and support the inclusion of Travellers and Roma in Europe.
The first concrete outcome of this process was the development of 10 Common Basic Principles for Roma inclusion1. In June 2009, the EU Council of Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs invited Member States to take these principles into account when developing, implementing and evaluating policies concerning the Roma. These Principles provide concrete guidance to Member States on how to implement their policies for Roma inclusion.
The last EU Roma Summit, which took place in Cordoba on 8-9 April, renewed the commitment of the EU and the Member States to improving the social inclusion of Roma. I would like to highlight that the representative of the Belgian delegation took this opportunity to announce the intention of the forthcoming Belgian Presidency of the EU Council to include the issue of stopping sites for travellers as one of the main priorities.
As you will appreciate, bringing about real progress is a continuous and evolving process.
Nevertheless, I can assure you that the relevant Commission services will continue to work closely with all key stakeholders, including those in the UK, to ensure that tangible results are achieved.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information