CHAIRMAN OF THE PETITIONS COMMITTEE
11 MAR 2004 201309
Subject: Petition 0239/2003
Dear Mr. McNeill.
You will, no doubt, be pleased to learn that the committee on Petitions has investigated your petition thoroughly on the basis of the information which you provided and in the light of its own contacts with the European Commssion and various associations and authorities in the accession states referred to in your letters, including the most redcent one of February 23rd.
I am providing you with the written Notice to Members, which constitutes the official response from the European Commission on the subject. Like the European Commission the Committee was unable to corroborate your allegations, nor was it able to identify any evidence which might lead to such accusations being made.
None of the Members present including the former Chairman of the Parliamentary delegation for relations with Romania underestmate the enormous challenge which the integration of the Roma community represents for the European Union and its future member States. However, their full integration is a clear objective and a considerable amount of funding and human resourtces are destined to ensure that their social condition is able to improve.
Contrary to what you believe, "state sponsored child abuse" does not take place as it did in former times and every effort is being made, in particular, to bring and end the institutionalisation of child "facilities" by housing children with foster families or by providing them with the very least with a more humane and caring environment than was avauilable to them in the past. The European Union nevertheless remains concerned about the existence of special schools and at the extent of discrimination in terms of access to education and is working with the countries concerned to deal with this matter.
Given the gravity of the situation by the Roma communities and the complexities of the measures needed to resolve endemic poverty and its associated social injustice, no quick solution is possible, of course. However, Members of the Petitions Committee are satisfied that as much as possible is being done by voluntary associations and by national authorities to assist and develop local communities with a predominantly Roma population.
The Committee of Petitions decided to close its consideration of your petition.
(signed pp. Roy Perry)
Committee on Petitions
Annexe: Commission reply (PE339.355)