30 May 2017
Commenting on the adoption of the proposal for a dedicated legal base and budget for the European Solidarity Corps by the European Commission, European Green Party co-chairs Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni said:
"We welcome that the European Commission will dedicate new funds to the European Solidarity Corps, albeit this is not enough. Now it is up to the member states to provide fresh money. At the same time, we expect a full and functioning integration of the existing European Voluntary Service with the new system.
"From our perspective, the European Solidarity Corps should not focus exclusively on traditional volunteering, but also include young people who are undergoing vocational training. The European Solidarity Corps should thus provide incentives especially to those target groups who typically do not participate in European exchange programs and who could enhance their professional skills through the cultural exchange and language training.
"We welcome the possibility for volunteering teams to establish their own project. This promotes the creativity, commitment and motivation of many young people in Europe."
Head of Communications and Press
European Green Party
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Resolution accepted at the 13th EGP Council, Tallinn, Estonia, October 8-10, 2010
The European Green Party believes all countries must be held to their commitments with regard to all people living within their territory, and should have the highest aspirations for their rights and conditions.
Whether they live in the country they were born in, or have moved to another country, the fundamental rights held by European Citizens are a vital part of the EU, and foremost amongst these rights is the right to equal treatment. We have deep concern for the collective deportation of Roma people, most notably from France and Italy, which violates this principle of equality in a severe and harsh way. It is embarrassing for such shameful actions to take place in countries which profess to keep to high standards of human rights and to respect the equality of all people. The European Green Party believes all countries must be held to their commitments with regard to all people living within their territory, and should have the highest aspirations for their rights and conditions.
The European Green Party and the Green Group in the European Parliament, 1. Deeply condemn the recent measures taken by the French and Italian authorities, as well as by other Member States' authorities, in targeting Roma and Travellers for expulsion, and urges them to immediately suspend all expulsions of Roma while calling for the European Union, and its Member States to intervene with the same request;
2. Recall that the European Directive 2004/38/EC provides very clearly defined limits on the possibility of expelling a European Citizen and that, specifically: decisions on expulsions must be assessed and decided on individually, taking into consideration the personal circumstances (Article 28); that procedural safeguards have to be applied (Article 30); that access to judicial and administrative suspension and redress procedures shall be guaranteed (Article 31); that expulsions of citizens on grounds of representing an unreasonable burden on the host Member State's social assistance system is not sufficient in itself to justify automatic expulsion (recital 16 and Article 14); that any restriction of freedom of movement and residence based on grounds of public policy, public security or public health cannot be invoked to serve economic ends, shall be proportional, and be based solely on the personal conduct of the individual concerned and on no account on considerations of general prevention (Article 27); and that sanctions laid down by Member States must be effective and proportionate (Article 36);
3. Consider that the actions of France and Italy are arguably contrary to EU law, and are certainly not in the spirit of the EU, or the values of justice and tolerance which the EU claims to be founded on;
4. Note that the Directive does not foresee or include any procedure for the facilitated or voluntary return for EU citizens to the Member State of origin on the basis of an economic “compensation”, and that this would also be contrary to the spirit and letter of the Treaties, since freedom of movement is a fundamental right which cannot be alienated, bought or sold, and would create a degree of discrimination between European Citizens ;
5. Underline furthermore that the collection of fingerprints from the expelled Roma is illegal and contrary to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (articles 21.1 and 2), the Treaties and EU law, most notably, directives 38/2004 and 43/2000 and amounts to discrimination based on ethnic or national origin;6. Note that the expulsions have specifically targeted the Roma community, considering it to be a threat to public order and safety, and its members a burden on social assistance programmes, and that the expulsions have been carried out in an extremely short period of time, with methods that included public stigmatization and the use of force and intimidation; since no precise individual and case-by-case evaluation can be reasonably and properly done in such conditions, the procedural safeguards have not been applied and guaranteed, and the condition of proportionality has been violated and the measures could have been taken for economic ends or for general prevention;
7. Highlight the deep flaws in presenting the Roma community as a threat to public order and safety and the expulsions as a solution to this; rejecting this approach for its deeply unjust nature, and for its great level of inefficiency in improving security and preventing the degradation and the persisting poor conditions of the life of many Roma people; The stigmatising rhetoric has to stop. Serious steps must be taken to counter discrimination of Roma, not least in their home countries. Indeed, proactive measures are necessary to undo injustices which have turned Roma into a European underclass. A first step is to give children a chance to be educated and adults to find a job.
8. Note that whenever an illegal camp is dismantled without finding an alternative solution for its occupants, another camp is set up in another place, more people have no possibility to look for a job, and fewer children will go to school;
9. Share the views of the European Commissioner for Justice on "the rhetoric that has been used in some Member States in the past weeks" which "has been openly discriminatory and partly inflammatory" and the call to treat "carefully and responsibly" the issue of Roma integration by policy-makers and rejects inflammatory statements linking minorities and immigrants to criminality, as perpetuating negative stereotypes, contributing to the stigmatization of, and discrimination against, Roma; There is widespread anti-Gypsyism in many European countries today and extremist political groups are trying to exploit these tendencies. It might be sobering to learn that the Canadian authorities have in fact granted asylum to Roma refugees from these countries.
10.Highlight the importance of education on the general acceptance of different cultures and the impact of discrimination and prejudice; notes that responsibility for effective inclusion lies with both the Roma and mainstream society, both of which must make an effort to integrate with one another if social unity is to be achieved.
In light of this, we call for,
11.The European Commission to act promptly to ensure that EU Treaties and law are respected, notably by immediately requesting Member States to stop expulsions of Roma people, since its evaluation of the legality of these actions is not yet completed;
12.The EU to assess the use of European funds to fight against Roma discrimination and to make full use of all relevant European funds so as to ensure real Roma inclusion, with a view to enforcing the mainstreaming of Roma issues in European and national policies on fundamental rights;
13.Those EU Member States concerned, most notably France and Italy, to close the gap in minorities' protection on their territory by signing and ratifying the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe;
14.The Danish, Estonian, French, Romanian and Slovenian governments to strictly comply with their obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by immediately endorsing the recommendations of the U.N. Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in its 77th session; especially for
France to avoid collective deportation, to take all necessary measures to ensure equal opportunities in access to quality education at all levels, health, housing and other public facilities, to take all necessary measures to ensure right to vote, to provide shelters as planned by the Besson Law of 5 July 2000 and to guarantee an equal treatment between all the citizens by abolishing the titles of circulation for "travellers";
15.France to remove any provisions of French law which are discriminatory against Travellers, such as requiring them to carry travel permits and restricting their voting rights; and call furthermore for the French authorities to abide to French law, under which all municipalities (communes) with more than 5,000 inhabitants must establish authorized halting sites for Travellers;
16.The EU to produce a comprehensive European Roma Strategy containing “concrete and forward-looking measures to improve the social integration of Roma" and "measures involving housing, access to the labour market, education and health" to contribute "to improving the situation of the Roma", with an analysis based, not only on its exchanges with the public authorities concerned, but also on in depth consultation with relevant NGOs and Roma representatives; and we call on the EU, its Member States and regional and local authorities to take on their joint responsibility for the Roma and contribute in this strategy at their respective level of responsibility;
17.Together with the national commission for equal opportunities, every member state to implement and enforce a national action plan against racism. This plan will ensure enough funding to combat anti-Gypsism;
18.The countries of Europe to remember their obligations under international human rights law to guarantee the right of the child to education on the basis of equal opportunity by avoiding any administrative obstacle;
19.Civil society and political structures in the EU to hear and acknowledge the many and varied voices from within the Roma community who struggle to change structures of patriarchy and traditional values, and support these with the resources needed to present a pluralistic and vibrant Roma community;
20.The importance of role models in integration to be remembered, and support the exchange of best practices from those Member States with more experience of preventing social exclusion of Roma, notably the United Kingdom and Spain; asking in this respect the Agency for Fundamental Rights to prepare a report on best practices regarding Roma inclusion so as to enrich EU policies and to enhance integration;
21.The spread of positive stories of integration of Roma people, and call for incentives to be given to communities and local authorities which decide to welcome Roma communities.
22.A campaign from all national parliaments, the EU, and local and regional authorities, to raise awareness of the meaning of European Citizenship, the rights which are associated with it, especially the principle of equality, and the way in which EU countries should protect these rights, encouraging others to, like the European Greens, proudly defend the principles of equality and non-discrimination, as well as an active countering of the stigmatising and discriminatory misinformation which often circulates regarding Roma people and migrants in general.
23.As European Greens, we will organise a common action or series of common actions involving as many of our member and observer parties throughout Europe as possible. These actions will highlight the need for more just treatment of Roma people throughout Europe, better and more transparent use of the funds which have been earmarked for Roma integration projects, and investment in education and public information programmes about the Roma . Although the precise nature of these actions is still to be decided, they will aim to highlight the positive contribution that Roma people have made
and continue to make to Europe despite the exclusion and discrimination they often have to face. The actions will have a strong cultural, artistic and musical element and will feature the talents of Roma people and other European citizens.
Download the complete resolution in PDF format here...
EGP Resolution adopted at Utrecht Council, 20-22 May 2016
(available to download in .pdf in EN)
The European Greens have a role to fulfil in protecting the rights of all minorities and ensuring that Europe is home to all. Increasingly extreme nationalism, xenophobia and intolerance have been on the rise throughout the continent. The European Greens believe that rights of minorities, including the rights of national minorities, should be equally guaranteed across the continent.
- The European Greens believe that ratifying the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities is a crucial step in protecting all minorities in Europe.
- We, European Greens, stress the importance of stability, solidarity and peaceful coexistence of the multitude of people living in Europe and believe that as Europe is unified through diversity, so are its countries unified through their interior diversity. Thus the protection of the rights of national minorities should remain a priority on the political agenda.
- Protecting minority rights will also support the stability of societies, their economic development and the sharing of our prosperity to all.
- Best practices for the protection of the rights of national minorities should be widely considered and implemented to enhance the protection and promotion of the rights of persons belonging to national minorities.
- We, European Greens believe that territorial self-government arrangements, can also contribute to effectively protecting minority rights with a collective dimension and avoiding assimilation.
- Therefore, we urge members of the Council of Europe to:
- Encourage countries that have not yet done so to sign, ratify and implement in good faith the Charter;
- Promote the official use of languages spoken by national minorities in the territories where they live, at local or regional level, in conformity with the principles of the European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages;
- Formulate education policies that take into account the needs of national minorities, such as specific educational systems and institutions, as well as special modules included in the already existing educational systems;
- Support European and national strategies for the promotion of literacy, both in the mother tongue and in the official language, among socially deprived minority groups;
- Encourage the preservation and development of minority languages through relevant measures in the field of higher education;
- Consider and encourage the promotion of minority languages as part of the cultural heritage and encourage the visibility of minority languages in public and state media;
- Seek and ensure the active involvement of minority groups in the development, implementation and monitoring of the principles of the Charter.