European Roma Summit (Brussels, 16/09/08): extracts from the joint press conference by Vladimír Špidla, Georges Soros and Christine Boutin
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 16/09/2008 First transmission: 16/09/2008
As the European Commission today launched the EU-level summit devoted to improve the situation of Roma communities across the Union, Vladimír Špidla, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, told journalists that ethnic discrimination and profiling in the EU were unacceptable.
He said at the press conference that it's necessary to take all the measures to protect people and their data, referring to Italy’s controversial new immigration policies, which include the fingerprinting of Roma people living in squalid conditions in camps.
Christine Boutin, French Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs and President in office of the Council, told the press that this Italian issue, while being of national competence, showed the necessity of improving coordination amongst EU Member States.
George Soros, Chairman of the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations Network, said also that fingerprinting and racial profiling are unacceptable and illegal. He hopes that the Court of Justice of the EC will take up the case and declare it illegal.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Commission building.
||General view of the press conference.
||Christine Boutin, French Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs and President in office of the Council, saying (in FRENCH) that Italy was obliged to explain its position on the measures (taken against Roma) which she had taken by returning a report to the European Commission in the summer on this subject. On behalf of the French EU Presidency, she requires a coordination amongst Member States, because those matters concern as the national competences as well as the EU.
||Vladimír Špidla, Member of the EC in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, saying (in FRENCH) that on the same issue, he thinks he has already been very clear. Ethnic discrimination and profiling are unacceptable. The EC should take all the measures necessary to protect people and their data. The Commission has to comply with its role of guardian of the treaty and they are ready to do so.
||George Soros, Chairman of the Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations Network, saying (in ENGLISH) that he thinks it is important to realize that there is a Roma problem in Europe and that it is really the worst case of discrimination and social exclusion based on ethnicity that is intolerable. That is the first point. The second point is that the way the Italian authorities are dealing with the problem is the wrong way. It is not a security problem. It cannot be solved as a security problem; it can only be made worse. Certainly fingerprinting and racial profiling and so on are unacceptable and he believes illegal. He hopes that the Court of Justice of the EC will take up the case and declare it illegal.
||George Soros saying (in ENGLISH) that on the question of the economic crisis having more or less impact on Roma's life, so stranger it sounds, the situation of the Roma is worse in the Member States today than it was under the communism regime. This is a hard fact to accept, hard to cope with. But that is the case.
||Cutaways (3 shots)