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Statement by Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence on the occasion of International Roma Day

08.04.2013, 11:00 GMT


On International Roma Day, 8 April 2013, the Irish Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, Chair of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, emphasised the importance of implementing the National Roma Integration Strategies, which were published in 2012.

Minister Shatter said: “The development of these Strategies was a major step towards a more inclusive and socially cohesive European Union based on respect for diverse cultural traditions and identities. Implementing the strategies will ensure that the plight of Roma is properly considered in the four priority areas of education, employment, healthcare and housing.”

The Minister pointed out that the experience of Member States in implementing their strategies will enable them to engage in mutual learning, and to elaborate and apply good practices in this field over time. The awaited proposal from the Commission for a Council Recommendation on good practices and approaches to faster socio-economic integration of Roma, which is due to be published during the Irish Presidency, will further advance this work.

Minister Shatter - "Implementing the strategies will ensure that the plight of Roma is properly considered in the four priority areas of education, employment, healthcare and housing.”

The Minister said: “Since our Union is founded on freedom, democracy, justice, the rule of law and respect for human rights, we as Europeans must be greatly concerned by the shocking increase in racism and anti-Semitism in some parts of Europe. I would like to commend Amnesty International for drawing attention to this very important issue.”

Protecting fundamental rights and promoting the Rule of Law in Europe is a priority for Minister Shatter during the Irish Presidency of the European Union. At the Informal meeting of Justice Ministers in January, Ministers considered ways in which political leaders can help tackle growing problems of hate crime and intolerance including racism and anti-Semitism across Europe.

The Minister said:

“We must remain constantly vigilant and take a united approach at European Union and Member State level to address this worrying issue.”

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