All European states should integrate Roma: foundation
All European states where Roma are living have a duty to integrate them, not just in their countries of origin, a Spanish foundation for the integration of Roma said Tuesday in Bucharest.
"We have to consider Roma as EU citizens. We have to improve their integration in every country where they are living and not only in their countries of origin," Humberto Garcia Gonzales-Gordon, deputy director of institutional action for the Foundation Secretariado Gitano (FSG), told AFP.
Gonzales-Gordon was in Bucharest for the launch of a two-year research programme on Roma integration in the labour markets in Spain, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria.
Funded by the European Union and coordinated by the Soros Foundation Romania, the programme aims to gather objective data and exchange examples of "good practice".
"In Spain, we are seeking solutions to improve the access to the labour market for Roma from Romania, because the solution is not just to keep them out of the country," Gonzales-Gordon said, when asked about the recent mass expulsion of Roma by the French government, sending them back to Romania and Bulgaria.
"Of course, we must also put pressure on the Romanian government to do more so that they can improve the situation of the Roma," he said.
Roma organizations in Romania often refer to Spain as a good example for integration, especially because of the ACCEDER programme developed by the FSG.
Launched in 2000, it offers an individualised itinerary to Spanish Roma job seekers to facilitate their access to the labour market. The programme has also been extended to Romanian Roma, whose number in Spain is estimated between 30,000 and 50,000.
"We are now working to implement the ACCEDER Programme in Romania," Gonzales-Gordon said.
There are about 10 million Roma and Gypsies in Europe, according to European estimates, up to 2.5 million of them in Romania.
© 2010 AFP