Honourable Mr. President, Honourable Mr. Prime Minister, The goal of launching a European Roma Strategy has been first announced by the European Parliament in early 2008 and during the three years since this resolution, a wide range of EU measures and documents have indicated the growing importance of combating the social inclusion and poverty affecting the 12 million Roma of our continent.
Hungary’s FIDESZ-government was however the first to fully endorse the idea and mission of giving a European-level solution to bridging one of the hugest gaps in the fulfilment of constitutional and human rights in Europe. Roma inclusion is one of the most staggering challenges that Europe faces today, but at the same time one of the most promising opportunities for our ageing societies, since the inclusion of Roma is not merely an obligation in terms of human rights but also an economic necessity, and not only is it a moral imperative, but also the strict financial interest of all the Member States.
As the only Roma member of this Parliament, I sincerely hope that based on our report and the Commission’s paper, the Hungarian Presidency will get across a true internal community strategy,
– which is in no way be divisive for the EU, creating splits among Member States,
– which will facilitate the fulfilment of all the human rights and will strengthen the implementation of the equality directives,
– which takes into account the territoriality of exclusion and alleviate the substandard conditions concentrated in the underdeveloped micro-regions,
– which measures progress by common, comparable and reliable indicators and
– which creates a direct link between the allocation of financing and the fulfilment of the objectives of the Strategy.
This process is about more than a European Roma Strategy, it is about mutual trust, and Europe’s ability to build a community of values and to tackle the interconnected challenges we face. I wish you good luck for your ambitious work; taves baxtalo!