Speaking in a plenary debate this afternoon on the situation of Roma people in Europe, GUE/NGL MEP Mikael Gustafsson has expressed the urgent need for political will in the member states to put an end to discrimination and exclusion.

“For hundreds of years, hatred has been directed at the Roma across Europe despite all international agreements and anti-discrimination laws,” said the MEP.

Gustafsson continued: “The majority of EU countries treat Roma people badly. It is shameful that in Europe a whole ethnic group is being moved around, discriminated against and criminalised. The Illegal Roma police register in Sweden includes artists, politicians and journalists, as well as some 1000 children who have never committed any crime. But this is not just a Swedish issue it affects the whole of Europe.”

Gustafsson also highlighted the need to pay particular attention to women and girls.

“We are disappointing them,” he said. “While we work across the world to improve women's rights, there remains structural discrimination in European countries and it is a situation that maintains poverty and exclusion, particularly for women and girls. Their exclusion makes their situation much more serious.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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