As early as 1969, PACE was pressing European governments to take practical measures to help Gypsies and Travellers. Forty years later, after its repeated calls went largely unheeded, the Assembly was denouncing Europe’s shamefully poor record on Roma. But by the summer of 2010 – before Roma expulsions hit the headlines – those appeals had turned into an urgent warning about rising anti-Roma rhetoric...
25 October 2010: PACE President Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says that discrimination against Roma is just “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to xenophobia in Europe, reiterating that extremist populist parties are “simply equating immigration with crime and insecurity”.
20 October 2010: The President warmly welcomes the Council of Europe’s High-level meeting on Roma, organised with EU and Roma representatives, but reminds governments that the main responsibility for improving the situation of Roma lies with them: schools, jobs, clinics and housing are all national matters, he points out.
7 October 2010: Following an urgent debate, the Assembly in a resolution says it is worried by “discriminatory language which tends to link insecurity with ethnic communities, including migrants, using them as scapegoats” and strongly condemns “the use of language stigmatising Roma or any other minority or migrant group”.
22 September 2010: PACE’s Migration Committee calls on European governments to suspend planned returns of Roma to Kosovo “until they can be shown to be safe and sustainable”, saying these Roma face an unsustainable social situation when they return, as well as serious threats to their personal security. PACE’s Standing Committee is to debate the issue in Antalya on 12 November.
20 August 2010: Reacting to reports of evictions of Roma camps in France and expulsions of Roma from France and Germany, PACE President Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says these are “certainly not the right measures” to improve the situation of this vulnerable minority and will only increase racist and xenophobic feeling in Europe.
22 June 2010: Debating Mr Berényi’s report on Roma, PACE says in a resolution that it is shocked by recent outrages against this minority, which "reflect an increasing trend in Europe towards anti-Gypsyism of the worst kind", reminiscent of the darkest hours in Europe’s history. The parliamentarians again call for determined measures to improve Roma access to schools, jobs, health services and housing.
6 April 2010: PACE rapporteur József Berényi (Slovak Republic, EPP/CD) calls for an urgent probe into why efforts to help Roma over the last 20 years have all but failed. “It is a shamefully poor record considering the amount of paper – and money – dedicated to improving the situation of Roma at all levels,” he declares.