Calling for dignity for the EU’s Roma population
“We must understand that Roma people have lived in Europe for over 600 years. That should be long enough for us to see them as colleagues, neighbours, and above all, people who belong in Europe,” remarked Ernst.
“I have personally met with Roma people and their representative organisations many times and discussed their needs. From these conversations I can say that they do not want their own state, they don't want anything special or extra, they simply want to be able to live like everyone else. They want to live, work, have children, grow old and die – with dignity. They want equal treatment and equal opportunities. They want to be unafraid to say that they are Roma.”
“Roma are citizens of the world. They have never triggered a war. They really enrich the culture and economies of many countries in the world.
Ernst referred to the achievements of well-known Roma musicians and sportspeople including many guitarists, and boxer, Johann Wilhelm Trollmann.
Ernst recalled current and historic cases of discrimination against Roma people, including the recent decision by a German court to deport two Roma families to Kosovo despite the parents having lived in Germany for 17 years and most of their children being born there.
“When these people are sent back to Kosovo, where they cannot survive, after 17 years, racism and arrogance are getting the upper hand. This is a major challenge for our time.”
“On this day, we must also remember the Roma who were killed by Hitler in World War II,” she added.
“Time and again we hear talk about the Roma, but we have to get down to the essential point: the only precondition for having human rights is being a human being,” Ernst concluded.
International Roma Day is held every year on 8 April to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Roma people.
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European United Left / Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL)
European Parliamentary Group