Ambassador Sequi address on the occassion of the International Roma Day (10/04/2012)
Tirana, 7 April 2012
On the occasion of the International Roma Day, celebrated on the 8 April, the Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore F. Sequi, greeted the Roma community and emphasised the need for stronger efforts for Roma inclusion in Albania.
"Social inclusion of the Roma is a European issue. The Roma are an ancient presence in Europe, and as such they should be entitled to the rights of full citizenship through real politics of inclusion. The European Union is particularly committed to this purpose. As a Union founded on strong values, we must ensure that Roma's fundamental rights are respected.
Social inclusion of the Roma should be an Albanian issue too, as the Roma as an ancient presence and a nowdays reality in Albania as well.
Reinforcing the protection of human rights for Roma is among the 12 key priorities of the Opinion on Albania’s EU membership application and, as such and is one of the conditions for moving ahead on the EU integration path.
This priority to be fulfilled needs the commitment and joint efforts of national and local authorities, civil society, media and obviosly the awreness of the Albanian public.
A Seminar on inclusion of Roma and Egyptian communities, organised by the European Union and the Albanian Government in the framework of Albania's European Union integration was held in 15 December 2011. The Seminar recognised the importance to address a number of issues, such as the civil registration, education, social and health care, vocational training and employment, housing and infrastructure.
We all have a shared responsibility to end the exclusion of Roma from schools, employment, healthcare and the housing. I recognise that this is a major challenge. But that is why we are setting targets for the integration of Roma and we need a clear commitment by all to put them into practice.
The European Union will continue to assist Albanian authorities in order to improve the situation of Roma in the country. For this purpose the EU has committed 1.5 million euro under IPA 2012, for the social inclusion of Roma and Egyptian communities.
Marginalised groups in society are also typically those who are hit the hardest by times of crisis, and we have to be careful to keep these groups in our attention.
I want to assure Roma comunity in Albania that they will always enjoy the support of the European Union and my persistent attention as the Head of the European Union Delegation to Albania".
The International Day of the Roma was declared in 1990 in order to raise public awareness of the discrimination and marginalisation of the Roma community and to celebrate the Roma culture.