European Economic Interest Grouping
128 Copnor Road - Portsmouth - Hampshire PO3 5AN - United Kingdom
30th August, 2003
Petitions Committee of the European Parliament
Dear Mr. Perry,
I write to you in your capacity of vice-chairman of the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament as well as the local Member of the European Parliament for Hampshire and Wight.
On the 28th February 2003 we wrote to the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament raising our concerns about the unacceptable denial of education to over 100,000 normal Roma children in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. It is now six months since that Petition was sent and we have still not received any indication as to whether the Petitions Committee will even look at this extremely important issue which concerns horrendous and ongoing human rights abuse.
We find this delay by the Petitions Committee, on such an important topic, to be completely unacceptable.
It is somewhat shocking that the European Parliament went on, after that date to vote for the accession of these countries without questioning this ongoing breaking of European laws by educational authorities and central governments in these countries. Indeed, as explained in the Petition, the central governments of these countries provide a proactive financial incentive of around Euro 1,750 per child per year for rural local authorities to force such children into so-called Apartheid special schools on the basis of fraudulent assessments of the ability of the children concerned. These children receive no education. In Hungary alone, this financial scam is worth around Euro 90 million each year (almost Euro 1 billion over the last decade), for the three countries over Euro 200 million each year or Euro 2 billion during the last decade.
As you know the special schools were initiated under Hitler in the 1940s to segregate Jewish and Roma children from other children. After the war, these schools were re-established in these countries by elements of the far right. Since the collapse of communism and the advent of "free and democratic" government the number of little children forced in to these Apartheid schools has not gone down but rather has increased more than threefold (300%). The Nazi spirit, Mr. Perry, is alive and well, and it would seem, this is entirely acceptable to Members of the European Parliament.
I would be grateful if, in your role as vice-chairman of the Petitions Committee, you could demand some action on this issue from your colleagues. This level of response, as it stands, constitutes a basis for a complaint of mal-administration. In the case of these little children, future citizens of the European Union, languishing in a state of educational denial, the Petition Committee's inability to get its priorities right and to act in a more effective fashion, in this case, constitutes a frank demonstration of prejudicial prevarication.
This ineffectiveness will no doubt become an issue in the forthcoming European elections.
This communication will be posted on our Internet site at http://www.eu-romani.org for public viewing and will be forwarded to l'équipe Agence Presse Européenne for consideration for publication and/or comment.
In accordance with Audit Commission International Transparency Standards any reply received from you will also be posted at our website.
For and on behalf of ECRE
European Committee on Romani Emancipation
City of Portsmouth, The County of Hampshire
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE ON ROMANI EMANCIPATION
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC INTEREST GROUPING
registered in compliance with the terms of the European Union Council Regulation Number 2137
Registration number GE 168
ECRE provides a non-exclusive representation for the promotion of the improvement in the social and economic conditions of the Roma within the European Union and in countries preparing to join the European Union. Membership of ECRE includes concerned Roma and non-Roma European citizens, private organizations, non governmental organizations and, in particular, those working in the field of Roma (Gypsy) community economic development. ECRE sees economic emancipation as the principal first step towards self-reliance and effective social integration of the Roma.
ECRE undertakes analyses to identify and advocate practical social and economic development policies and actions to secure the effective social and economic inclusion of the Roma in the European Union and countries surrounding the European Union and, in particular, in pre-accession countries. ECRE provides a forum for reviewing social and economic development policy and the establishment and management of :
ECRE - European Committee on Romani Emancipation
128 Copnor Road, Portsmouth PO3 5AN, United Kingdom
Fax: +44 23 92 789 081
web site at: http://www.eu-romani.org