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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

One year after the "Roma controversy": Determined Commission action has helped resolve 90% of cases involving free movement issues.

© EU

It is one year since the European Commission took action to ensure that all 27 Member States fully comply with the EU's free movement rights. Thanks to continued political pressure, the Commission has achieved concrete results: 16 Member States have either fully addressed the Commission’s concerns or have drafted amending legislation to ensure full compliance with the EU Free Movement Directive. For the remaining Member States, the Commission has started or is considering infringement proceedings under the EU Treaties to ensure full compliance with EU law.

Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner, said: "Last summer’s events in France were a wake-up call for Europe. It has become clear that the Commission will not hesitate to speak out if Member States do not properly apply this fundamental right, notably the procedural safeguards that protect EU citizens from facing arbitrary or disproportionate expulsion. I am now satisfied that a majority of Member States have fully implemented the EU free movement rules. I expect the remaining countries to do so quickly. The European Commission will remain very vigilant until all Member States fully address the Commission’s concerns."

The free movement of persons between EU Member States is the most tangible success of the past 60 years of European integration. It brings great benefits to EU citizens, Member States and the European economy as a whole.

Free movement is one side of the coin. The other is integration. In April 2011 the Commission proposed an EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies which the European Council fully endorsed on 24 June 2011. More recently, a European Union co-funded project aimed at countering Roma stereotypes through film won a prestigious award from the US-based Society of Professional Journalists. The 'Colorful but Colorblind' project brought together 50 Roma and non-Roma journalists to produce a series of 25 short films recounting stories of Roma communities living in Central and Eastern Europe.

"This award proves that the European Union's unprecedented efforts and commitment to promote the social and economic integration of Roma are paying off," said Vice-President Reding. The adjacent video shows Vice-President Reding visiting the Catalan Federation of Gypsy Associations.