Social inclusion of Roma minority, a subject of topical interest on European agenda

Social inclusion of Roma minority is a highly topical subject on the European agenda and the Council of Europe (CoE) and the EU needs to identify an equitable, humane and sustainable solution to address the issue, Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi stated on Tuesday at the end of the meeting with CoE Secretary-general Thorbjorn Jagland.

"The mobilization of political energies and of both national and community responsibility in view to combating discrimination against the Roma  is also a hot subject, because this European minority that now calls several lands its home is regrettably further marginalized, both in the countries where they have already settled, and in the EU countries they migrated to; from this point of view, we must strike a fair balance between each state's responsibility and, at the same time, a multilateral approach of this phenomenon which is economic, social and cultural", said Minister Baconschi.

He believes that a "vigilant" monitoring of the standards applied for the protection of national minorities is equally important, and expressed his conviction that the subject will be closely monitored on the agenda of the Strasbourg-based organization.

According to the Romanian top diplomat, since its admission to the Council of Europe, in 1993, Romania has proved to be a "creative, active and responsible" member of this organization.

'We unanimously agree that human rights are the foundation and the engine of a healthy institutional and economic development. Our common agenda comprises a number of priority issues that also include the Republic of Moldova. We proceeded to a joint assessment with positive findings of the recent developments in this country. Most likely, the forthcoming debates in the Council of Europe will take more into account the phenomenon of migration, which has been growing in recent years, and which threatens to cause tension in certain European societies', the Romanian top diplomat also said.

In his turn, the Council of Europe Secretary-general pointed out that Romania is a "constructive, active and important" member of the organization.

Thorbjorn Jagland talked about the need to combat new continental threats in the context of globalization and of a borderless Europe, such as organized crime, corruption, human trafficking, terrorism, that could all spread far more easily at present.

"We must take a more active stance in combating these new threats, but we must fight them by applying the principles of the rule of law. We have unique conventions in place to combat these threats and we must improve all our tools in order to be able to do so", Thorbjorn Jagland emphasized.

The CoE official also referred to the threats that are heightened now by the economic crisis and a new social environment - such as xenophobic tendencies, tensions inside societies, minorities protection, of Roma in particular.

"The Council of Europe takes action as a pan-European organization because these challenges must be addressed at a pan-European level", he underscored.

Likewise, the two officials underlined the importance of a more active involvement of CoE in the implementation of democratic standards at the level of all the 47 member states, at the same time lending support for the democratic changes in the North African countries.

"We have the necessary tools to assist these countries, as we had done in Romania's case, when Romania passed from communism to democracy. We can proceed the same in the Mediterranean region to help these countries to pass from dictatorship and oppression to the rule of law. We have excellent means to be able to back up these countries that are part of the European space", CoE official also stated.

The two officials also reviewed some other topics, such as evolutions in Western Balkans, Serbia, Ukraine, as well as in the Russian Federation.

Source: Romanian National News Agency AGERPRES

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