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Gypsy in Italy: European Resolution against racism

by malini/Pegoraro/Picciau/Robinson Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007 at 5:44 PM




“A memorable result, which shows, reassuringly, that Europe can still be an example for the promotion and safeguarding of human rights, even for the weakest and marginalized”.

This is how the activists of EveryOne Group Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Saimir Mile and Irene Campari – president of the Circolo Paolini, who played an active part in drafting out the EveryOne document commented on the decision of the European Parliament to approve, on November 15, 2007 a resolution for the application of Directive 2004/38/CE, concerning the rights of EU citizens and their families to move around and settle freely in the territory of members states. The resolution is a harsh warning to the Italian institutions to interrupt the discrimination and oppression of the gypsy people and an invitation to understand and carry out, without looking for escape routes, Directive 2004/38/CE.

The European resolution focuses the attention on the culture and prejudice that has spread throughout Italy on all levels, and the abuses committed by the authorities. “The Roma people are still the target of discrimination and injustice in EU territory and their integration and inclusion in society and the defence of their existence and traditions […] are, unfortunately, objectives that still have to be achieved.”

In many of the points reference is made to the behaviour of the institutions and media towards the gypsies, particularly after the tragic murder of Giovanna Reggiani, the racist assault on the four Roma citizens in Rome and other episodes marked by xenophobia.

The resolution - before the warning to the Italian Government - analyses political events like the meeting between Romano Prodi and the Romanian Prime Minister Tariceanu and their joint letter on the subject of the Roma minority that was sent to the President of the European Commission, Barroso - who replied inviting them to make great efforts to curb the discrimination against gypsies.

The European Parliament, which approved the document with a large majority, condemned the declarations of public figures when they can be taken as an “encouragement of prejudice towards a particular group of the population”.

We are reminded, for example, of the statements made by the leader of the PD and mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, who presented the Roma and Sinti as people committed to crime, a statement which was taken up by the weekly magazine Newsweek, in an article on 5 October, 2007. We remember too the recent declarations to the Italian press given by Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the European Commission, who – like many other figures of Italian politics – spread ideas that contrast with the laws that safeguard minorities. He proposed, among other things, to deport the gypsies back to the countries they had fled from due to poverty or persecution, instead of attempting to support their families and helping them to gradually find their way into the workforce, schooling, and social and cultural life.

At point 14 the European resolution took up the recent declarations given to the Italian press (again by Franco Frattini) after the serious events that took place in Rome. Roberto Malini of EveryOne Group had written on several occasions to Europe Direct, underlining how contrary to the spirit and Directive 2004/38/CE Frattini’s statements were.

The European Parliamentary Assembly has therefore asked the Vice-President of the Commission, on the request of EveryOne Group to “respect the law in full”.

“The resolution of the European Parliament has replied to every point of our motion” declare the leaders of EveryOne Group, Malini, Pegoraro and Picciau, satisfied.

“The motion we presented on November 3 focalised its points on the need to call on the Italian institutions to curb the racist and xenophobic campaign against the gypsy peoples; we asked for a stop to the camp clearances and the unjust expulsions.

We called for programmes of immediate welfare help for the Roma, Sinti, Kale people present on our territory. The Parliamentary Assembly has replied approving a request for immediate facilitation in helping integration into the community of less privileged peoples. It also calls for a cooperation between member states in terms of managing the movements of their population, mainly through programmes of development and welfare help included in the European Structural Funds.

The document/motion of EveryOne Group counts, among its other supporters, associations of international fame where rights for Roma, Sinti and Kale gypsies are concerned: La Voix des Rroms” in Paris, the “Gypsy Lore Society” (USA), “Union Gypsy”, “Roma Right Watch” and “Union Romani” - and Circolo Pasolini in Pavia, always at EveryOne Group’s side in its fight against the discrimination of the gypsies present on Italian soil.

EveryOne Group also consulted with Matt T. Salo, President of the Gypsy Lore Society (USA); Saimir Mile (new member of EveryOne Group) a Roma of Albanian origin, jurist, lecturer in Roma, Sinti and Kale culture at the University of Paris, and Secretary-general of the Centre of Research an Action Against All Forms of Racism, and Marcel Courthiade, emeritus professor, holder of chair in Roma, Sinti and Kale languages at the University of Paris.

“EveryOne Group gives special thanks to the members of the Italian Radical Party, who with the contribution of Sergio Rovasio, National Secretary of the Rosa Nel Pugno, the executive Ottavio Marzocchi, President of the Civil Liberties Commission at the European Commission and the Euro-MP Marco Cappato, who - always attentive to the rights of minorities and influential in the institutions – joined their voices to that of EveryOne Group. Thanks too go to the European associations that cooperate for an improvement in the conditions of the gypsy people and the Euro-MPs who have not strayed from the path of human rights.”

The leaders of EveryOne conclude: “We hope Italy immediately ceases the racist campaign, under the pressure from Europe as a whole, and that the measures are rapidly carried out to tackle the Roma problem – not through expulsions but through programmes of integration and aid that allow thousands of innocent families to have access to basic rights of freedom and citizenship, a situation that for many years has deprived hundreds of thousands of people of their human dignity”.

EveryOne Group has set in motion the Romanesia Project, (in collaboration with the Circolo Pasolini in Pavia) a project aimed at ensuring the Roma and Sinti gypsies an easier coexistence with the Italian population - with the opportunity to live in real homes or areas with adequate facilities; the chance for children and young people to have access to an education and the possibility of finding work - both in collective farms in Romania, where the Roma families can develop the activities in which they excel - from animal breeding to biological agriculture - while living in houses designed according to their needs and built by companies run by the Roma people.

This after a careful inspection of the living conditions and the possibility of finding work, schooling and a dignified existence that the Romanian authorities must grant the gypsies - at the present time this is insufficient due to discriminatory policies, a situation EveryOne Group is about to bring to the attention of international authorities.

The motion against the discrimination of gypsies and the Romanesia Project are to be seen on the following link: HYPERLINK ""

Attached is the text of the resolution of the European Parliament, in reply to the Motion put forward by EveryOne Group, ALDE, PSE, Verts/ALE, Gruppo GUE/NGL and Circolo Pasolini.

For EveryOne Group: Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau, Irene Campari, Saimir Mile, Udila Ciurar, Stellian Covaciu

EveryOne Group - Info: + 39 334 8429527 ::

(Further informations:


Thursday, 15 November 2007 - Strasbourg - Provisional edition - Application of Directive 2004/38/EC - P6_TA-PROV(2007)0534 - B6-0462, 0463, 0464, 0465/2007

European Parliament resolution of 15 November 2007 on application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States

The European Parliament ,

– having regard to Articles 2, 6, 13, and 29 of the Treaty on European Union,

– having regard to Articles 61, 62, and 64 of the Treaty establishing the European Community,

– having regard to Articles 6, 19, and 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter of Fundamental Rights),

– having regard to Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(1) ,

– having regard to the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities,

– having regard to its resolutions on the free movement of persons and the fight against discrimination in all its forms and, in particular, to its resolution of 28 April 2005 on the situation of the Roma in the European Union(2) ,

– having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the free movement of persons is an inalienable fundamental freedom accorded to Union citizens by the Treaties and by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and whereas it constitutes a linchpin of European citizenship,

B. whereas for that reason Directive 2004/38/EC on the free movement of Union citizens and their families, while allowing a Member State to expel a Union citizen, circumscribes that possibility within clearly defined limits intended to safeguard fundamental freedoms,

C. considering that security and freedom are fundamental rights and that the Union is seeking to ensure a high level of security for its citizens in an area of freedom, security and justice,

D. whereas organised crime and trafficking in human beings pose challenges on a trans-national scale and whereas free movement within the European space also depends on closer Europe-wide judicial and police cooperation for the purposes of investigation and prosecution, aided by Eurojust and Europol,

E. whereas respect for the laws of every Member State is a sine qua non for coexistence and social inclusion in the Union; whereas all individuals are obliged to comply with the law of the Union and the laws in force in the Member State in which they find themselves; whereas criminal liability is always personal; whereas, in addition to enjoying the rights and freedoms granted to them by the Treaty, Union citizens must comply with the requirements attached to the exercise of those rights, as set out, in particular, in EC law and the law of the host Member State,

F. whereas all national legislation must comply with the principles and provisions laid down in Directive 2004/38/EC;

G. whereas combating racism and xenophobia of every kind, as well as all forms of discrimination, is one of the fundamental principles on which the Union is built,

H. whereas in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of nationality, all Union citizens and the members of their families who reside freely and lawfully in a Member State should enjoy, in that State, equality of treatment with national citizens,

I. whereas the Roma are continuing to suffer discrimination and abuse on Union territory and whereas, regrettably, the objectives of integration, social inclusion, and protection of that minority have not yet been achieved,

J. having regard to the brutal attack on, and the murder of, a woman in Rome, the accused party being a Romanian national,

K. whereas Romanian citizens have been subject to racist attacks following this murder,

L. whereas public personalities are expected to refrain from statements that might be understood as encouraging the stigmatisation of groups of people,

M. having regard to the joint initiative by the Romanian Prime Minister and the President of the Italian Council, and their joint letter to the President of the Commission on the subject of the Roma minority,

1. Expresses its deep regret at the murder of Ms. Giovanna Reggiani in Rome on 31 October 2007, and sends its sincere condolences to her family;

2. Reaffirms the value of the free movement of persons as a fundamental principle of the Union, a constituent part of European citizenship, and a key element of the internal market;

3. Reaffirms the objective of making the Union and its communities an area in which each inhabitant is guaranteed a high level of security, freedom and justice;

4. Notes that Directive 2004/38/EC circumscribes the possibility of expelling a Union citizen within very clearly defined limits and that, specifically,

under Article 27, Member States may not restrict freedom of movement and residence other than on grounds of public policy, public security or public health, and those grounds may not be invoked to serve economic ends; any measures taken must accord with the principle of proportionality and be based solely on the personal conduct of the individual concerned and on no account on considerations of general prevention;

under Article 28, any expulsion decision must be preceded by an assessment designed to allow for the personal circumstances of the individual concerned, taking into account, for example, the duration of his/her residence, his/her age, his/her state of health, and family and economic situation, and the extent to which he/she has integrated in the host Member State;

under Article 30, the persons concerned must be notified in writing of expulsion decisions and in such a way that they are able to comprehend their contents and implications, and must be informed precisely and in full of the grounds of the decision, of the court or administrative authority and time-limits for appeal and, if appropriate, of the time allowed for them to leave the country, which must not be less than one month from notification;

under Article 31, the persons concerned must have access to judicial and administrative redress procedures to appeal against the expulsion decision in the host Member State, and have a right to apply for an interim order to suspend the enforcement of the decision, which must be granted, except in specific cases;

under Article 36, sanctions laid down by Member States must be effective and proportionate;

under recital 16 and Article 14, a citizen may be expelled if he/she imposes an unreasonable burden on the host Member State's social assistance system, subject to the proviso, however, that each individual case must be thoroughly examined and that the above condition cannot, under any circumstances, be considered sufficient in itself to justify automatic expulsion;

5. Maintains that national legislation must, in every instance, conform exactly to these limits and safeguards, including the possibility of legal appeal against expulsion and the exercise of the right to a defence, and that any exception laid down in Directive 2004/38/EC must be interpreted restrictively; points out that mass expulsions are prohibited by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

6. Welcomes the Romanian Prime Minister's visit to Italy and the joint statement issued by Romano Prodi and C?lin Popescu-T?riceanu; supports the call by the President of the Italian Council and the Romanian Prime Minister for the Union to commit itself to the social integration of the most underprivileged populations and to cooperation among the Member States as regards management of their population movements, making use of the development and social aid programmes provided for under the Structural Funds;

7. Calls on the Commission, without delay, to submit a detailed assessment of the steps taken by Member States to implement Directive 2004/38/EC and of the correctness of its transposition by the Member States, together with any necessary proposals, acting pursuant to Article 39 of that Directive;

8. Without encroaching on the remit of the Commission, instructs its appropriate committee, in collaboration with the national parliaments, to complete an assessment by 1 June 2008 of the problems entailed in transposition of the Directive, highlighting best practice and those measures that might lead to forms of discrimination among European citizens;

9. Calls on the Member States to cease all hesitation and move more rapidly to strengthen the means available for Europe-wide police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters so as to make for effective action to fight the trans-national phenomena of organised crime and trafficking in human beings, while providing a uniform framework of procedural safeguards;

10. Rejects the principle of collective responsibility and emphatically reaffirms the need to combat every form of racism and xenophobia and all forms of discrimination and stigmatisation based on nationality and ethnic origin, as required by the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

11. Reminds the Commission that it is imperative to submit a proposal for a horizontal directive to combat all the forms of discrimination referred to in Article 13 of the EC Treaty, as provided for in the Commission's 2008 legislative and work programme;

12. Considers that protection of the rights of the Roma, and the integration of that minority, pose a challenge to the Union as a whole and calls on the Commission to act without delay by pursuing an overall strategy for social inclusion of the Roma and, not least, making use of the available budget lines and the Structural Funds to support national, regional, and local authorities in their efforts to bring about the social inclusion of the Roma;

13. Advocates the establishment of a network of organisations dealing with the social inclusion of the Roma as well as the promotion of awareness-raising instruments regarding the rights and duties of the Roma community, including exchange of best practices; considers intensive and structured cooperation with the Council of Europe to be extremely important for this purpose;

14. Believes that the recent statements to the Italian press by Franco Frattini, Commission Vice-President, in connection with the serious incidents in Rome were contrary to the spirit and the letter of Directive 2004/38/EC, a Directive with which he is called upon to comply in full;

15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.


OJ C E, 23.2.2006, p. 129.

EveryOne Group - Info: + 39 334 8429527 ::

(Further informations:

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