Lisbon – 4 November 2010 – In September, Guilherme Pinto, president of the Forum, issued a public statement on the situation of Roma people in Europe following the wave of expulsions ordered by the French government over the summer. Mr Pinto said the majority of Efus members, both cities and local authorities, regretted the association being made between immigrant populations and crime, and that they were keen to keep on receiving these populations.
The Efus executive committee has reaffirmed this stance through a resolution adopted during its most recent meeting, held on 4 and 5 November in Lisbon (Portugal). “European cities wish to stay open to newcomers and to maintain their multiculturalism,” says the text. The Forum, it adds, “calls the European Union to help cities hosting Roma communities as well as to help their countries of origin, so as to create the necessary social and cultural conditions that will prevent new migration flows. “
The resolution also calls for the implementation of a system by which young Roma people will be able to get an education by being allowed to attend classes in schools throughout Europe. The Forum is preparing a project that will be submitted to the European Commission in the coming weeks.
Although figures vary depending on the sources, the amount of Roma people living in Europe is estimated to be between seven and 10 million. Some 350,000 to 500,000 are living in France (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roms), and most of them have French nationality.
Last summer, the French government ordered the dismantling of various Roma settlements and the expulsion of people from the country, particularly to Romania. This policy has been criticised in France and by the international community. In particular, the United Nations and the European Parliament have asked the French government to avoid any form of racial discrimination.