Efus calls for urgent action in favour of young Roma people education

During the General Assembly in Genoa, the debate on the resolution devoted to Roma people in Europe was introduced by Franco Corradini, in charge of security in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia, illustrated by Bernard Vincent, counsellor to the mayor of Aubervilliers (France) for prevention and security and vice-president of the urban agglomeration of Plaine Commune, in charge of housing issues.

According to Mr Vincent, there are between 10,000 and 15,000 Roma people living in France, and a majority of them are either Romanian or Bulgarian. Most of them live in the Paris region, particularly in the department of Seine-Saint-Denis.

“One of the most pressing issues is the schooling of children”, declared Bernard Vincent. “These people live in horrible conditions, in townships, squats… Roma people are also constantly under the threat of expulsion, but sending them back to their country of origin is not a solution, because they come back. The expulsion from a municipality only serves to move the problem to another municipality… Above all, it is necessary to keep in mind that Roma people, Romanians and Bulgarians living on our territory are full-fledged citizens, and that their presence can enrich the cultural input of the other 143 nationalities living in Aubervilliers and in the Plaine Commune urban agglomeration”.

Franco Corradini said that the Council of Europe had presented in Istanbul (Turkey), on May 11, the report Living together, combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe, which addresses the problems of intolerance and discrimination in Europe, particularly against Roma people and immigrants, and outlines ways of better living together in open, European societies.

Michel Marcus said that Efus wishes to launch a project aimed at allowing Roma children and youngsters to get a consistent education in spite of their travelling, by letting them follow classes in the different cities they travel to. The idea is to associate cities which are Efus members to this scheme, whereby Roma children and youngsters would benefit from a sort of schooling “passport”.

Mr Marcus insisted on the fact that the European Union has the budgets needed for such schemes, but that there is a lack of concrete projects which could receive financing. He called all Efus members-cities to “present a project on the schooling of Roma youths”.