8 April, the day on which the first International Roma Congress took place in 1971, offers an opportunity to highlight the continuing difficult situation of the Roma.
Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth issued the following statement today (8 April 2015) to mark International Roma Day:
In many countries, also within the EU, the everyday life of this community is still marked by discrimination and social exclusion. In particular, there is a lack of fair educational opportunities and jobs for young Sinti and Roma. Their quality of life must finally be improved in a tangible and palpable way. The Federal Foreign Office is a partner in the fight for respect and against racism.
The EU also supports the efforts to enhance the economic and social participation of Roma. It holds a Roma Summit on a regular basis. Roth went on to say:
European institutions and member states share a responsibility. For the European Union is first and foremost a community of shared values which has committed itself to freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and above all to the protection of minorities. We have to practise, fight for and protect these values in our daily lives. I therefore hope that we focus more on positive examples of acceptance, integration and social cohesion instead of allowing the debate to be dominated by prejudices and stereotypes.