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03/11/2014
Androulla Vassiliou tells Košice it must pull down Roma segregation wall without delay

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Androulla Vassiliou tells Košice it must pull down Roma segregation wall without delay

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, has sharply criticised the authorities in Kosice (Slovakia) for constructing a wall to segregate the city's Roma community.

In a letter pdf - 345 KB [345 KB] to the city's Mayor, Richard Raši, the Commissioner states that she was disappointed to read reports about the wall in Košice Zapad.

'I strongly believe that the construction of physical barriers represents a breach with the values on which our European Union is founded, notably respect for human dignity and human rights, including those of people belonging to minorities. The Union has always been strongly committed to fighting all forms of racism and xenophobia. And the European Commission is always ready to take action, within the remit of its competences, to reaffirm the principle of non- discrimination.

An initiative intended to achieve, or merely resulting in, segregation of populations is also at odds with the very raison d’être of the title of “European Capital of Culture”, which seeks to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and to promote deeper mutual understanding between European citizens.

"Košice, European Capital of Culture 2013” committed to involve minorities in its programming through its strategic line Open Public Space and to include specific events concentrating on Roma culture. This was one of the main elements that determined the selection of the city for the 2013 title and one that must be implemented as planned in the bid.', stated Commissioner Vassiliou.

In reply to the Commissioner pdf - 422 KB [422 KB] , the Mayor Raši said that the wall had been illegally constructed and was an "unpleasant surprise" for him. He said that the wall was initiated by the authorities of the suburb of Kosice Zapad, which is under the control of former Mayor of the city, Rudolf BAUER.

Commissioner Vassiliou is now insisting that the authorities of Košice remove the wall without delay.

Commissioner's reply to Richard Raši pdf - 153 KB [153 KB]

Commissioner's reply to Rudolf Bauer pdf - 122 KB [122 KB]

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