72 New Bond Street, London W1Y 9DD, United Kingdom
Directorate for EU Enlargement of the Commission of the European Union
Rue de la Loi 200
Dear (Mr. Verheugen),
Subject: Pre-Accession Countries the Czech republic, Hungary, the Slovak republic and other countries
Concerning: Failure of governments, and rural local authorities, to take any effective actions to improve the educational foundation of the Roma(Gypsies)
Impact: Major deficit in policy with significant macro-economic human resources and economic development impacts as well as the creation of serious social problems.
(1) Potential failure of the European Commission to bring about effective change in the human rights performance of pre-accession governments;
(2)Potential failure of the European Commission to apply the same standards in protecting minorities against racial discrimination, as applied within the EU, to pre-accession countries before accession;
(3) Macro-economic under-performance of economies concerned and failure to uphold required levels of economic policy credibility necessary for joining the EMU.
I thank you for your letter concerning the above, in reply to my letter to you dated 30th November 2000.
1. You mention in your letter that, when referring to the Composite Paper, "...this assessment was made on the basis of a number of sources, including a meeting with Roma Communities' representatives that the Commission services organized in July 1999 in Brussels."
2. Would you be so kind as to provide me with the names of the individuals and their organizations (with addresses) involved in this process and whom you refer to as sources and/or as Roma Community representatives?
3. You state, within a single paragraph that: " ... the Commission intends to provide more targeted support to the Roma communities in the framework of its pre-accession instruments, the 'Phare programme in particular. Indeed, the Commission expects to co-finance integrated regional programmes from 2000 onwards in candidate countries' selected regions. These funds, like the structural funds in the EU member countries, would support projects aiming at strengthening economic integration and social cohesion."
4. It is certainly the case that Phare has provided a very small amount of funding for Romani initiatives. Unfortunately this has not been directed at employment creation, which is the main problem facing the Roma.
5. Within the context of support for the Roma, you state that the Commission expects to co-finance integrated regional programmes from 2000 onwards in candidate countries' selected regions. You also state that these funds, like the structural funds in the EU member countries, would support projects aiming at strengthening economic integration and social cohesion.
6. I put it to you that these statements are entirely misleading because the mainstream sector programmes involved (agriculture, rural development, transport and the environment - SAPARD, ISPA) make no provisions for the Roma or minorities. If I am mistaken in this assessment, would you be so kind as to direct my attention to the appropriate sections of relevant documents or agreements which include the Roma in these programmes as beneficiaries?
7. As a stated to you in my previous letter, the Commission should be using these funds to lever in an appropriate level of participation for the Roma as a condition for candidate countries to be able to make use of this funding.
8. For your information, the European Commission's track record on this has been abysmal. During the last decade the Commission spent around 20 million Euro of Roma initiatives. Less than 2% of this went on anything to do with employment generation. During the same period the Commission provided 11.5 billion Euro on mainstream sector programmes from which the Roma were largely excluded.
9. If the Commission had provided funding for the Roma in proportion to their potential contribution to the labour force it would have spent in excess of 440 million Euro rather than the 20 million Euro spent.
Lastly, in your letter, you refer to copies of documents ''enclosed' but which were not in fact sent in the envelope we received. I naturally would like to review these documents and would therefore be most grateful if you would be so kind as to send these to the return Budapest address indicated in the letterhead.
Because of their potential interest in the content of this letter I have sent a copy to relevant members of the Management Committee of ECRE-European Committee on Romani Emancipation.
Hector W. McNeill
Cc: M. Courbet, Management Committee, ECRE-European Committee on Romani Emancipation; L. Smith, Management Committee, ECRE-European Committee on Romani Emancipation.
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