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European Economic Interest Grouping

Founded under Articles of Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2137/85
Regulation 9 of the European Economic Interest Grouping Regulations 1989


web site: http://www.eu-romani.org
email: info@eu-romani.org

to the
European Parliament

1.0 Background

As a result of a 2 year investigation, ECRE, the European Committee on Romani Emacipation has uncovered a financial scandal which has resulted in the diversion of massive financial resources from the education and training of a substantive section of the Roma community. The findings of this investigation, in support of this Petition, are in a report published on 26th February 2003 and which has been made available to the Committee of Petitions of the European Parliament. The full report content is also available on the ECRE web site (details below).

This is a complex matter but one which merits the full attention of the European Parliament.

2.0 The principles and objectives of the European Union at issue:

The European Union is concerned with the free movement of persons as well as non-discrimination on the basis of nationality as well as equality of treatment of men and women, this Petition respectfully requests that the European Parliament take a stand and recommend appropriate action with respect to an ongoing state of affairs under which:

A substantial quantity of financial resources destined for education and training have and are being diverted into illicit use and as a result individuals have not, do not or will not receive an adequate education and subsequent training, and are or will be unable to participate in the free movement, on the basis of professional interest or at the request of those who might desire assistance, because of reasons of the lack of qualification and training


such individuals as have been, are or will be subjected to this treatment are proactively excluded (negative selection) from adequate education solely on the basis of discrimination related to nationality and ethnicity


such individuals are not treated equally on the basis of sex, because of discrimination introduced on the basis of ethnicity


in carrying out their duty to inform the European Parliament and public of the state of affairs in candidate countries the European Commission has completely failed to draw adequate attention to this racial discrimination and has thereby failed to address this issue in a practical manner so as to bring matters into a acceptable level of conformity with current European Law


in failing to analyse this situation adequately, the European Commission has negotiated and provided a significant amount of European Union funding to agencies who already have available funds far exceeding those provided by the European Union, from national sources, but which are being used for illicit purposes. As a result the European Union is making up financial gaps created knowingly by the same institutions negotiating with the European Union for further EU funding

3.0 Characterization of the substantive issues

This Petition respectfully draws the attention of the Petition Committee of the European Parliament to the above forms of discrimination practiced by national governments, local governments and educational establishments in the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Slovak Republic.

The secondary impact of this behaviour is the inability of a large proportion of future European citizens to earn a sufficiently high income to provide an adequate standard of living for their families. The scale of this discrimination is such as to create significant shortfalls in the attainable Gross National Products of the countries concerned and, eventually the GNP of the European Union, as a direct result of this policy.

4.0 The specific mechanism

The system of Special schools was established under the Soviet regime in all satellite countries in the 1950s. It had the objective of transferring extra financial resources to local authorities who had, amongst their school age population, children with "special" needs. Children with special needs were considered to be those who were educationally subnormal or who had extreme learning difficulties. The extra resources were meant to provide more individual attention and didactic support.

During the period up to 1980 the resources called upon, and the numbers of children in Special schools, reflected roughly what would have been expected, up to 2.5% of the school population qualifying for support or, for example, in the case of Hungary some 15,000 children in this status.

5.0 Initiation and intensification of abuse of the system

Children classified as educationally subnormal and allocated to "Special" schools permit the local authority to gain Special school fund transfers to their budgets at the (current) rate of around Euro 1,700 per child per annum. Since 1989 it has become increasingly evident that these funds are not spent on Special schools or Special school children. Some 5% is used to pay teacher's salaries and the rest (some 95%) is used, illicitly, by national politicians, local politicians, churches and various other entities.

Special schools do not provide a syllabus, but simply occupy the children with games or open air walks. Such children lose motivation, languish and drop out.

In this system, which flourishes today, the futures of future citizens of the European Union are being traded for financial gain.

The issue of racial discrimination is apparent in the fact that whereas less than 5% of the Special school children in the 1960s were Roma (Gypsy), now, 98% of the children in Special schools, are Roma. Independent assessments have established that the majority of such children are of normal intelligence. As a result the futures of Roma children are no more than a commodity used by unscrupulous individuals in exchange for funds for illicit use.

More disturbing is the fact that Roma parents have been discouraged from complaining about this abuse through a conspiracy of silence. This is enforced through the threat of withdrawal of family allowances, children's allowances and unemployment benefit (where relevant) from such families, by the same local authority officials.

In 2003, this process continues on an expanded basis, in countries on the verge of becoming full members of the European Union in 2004.

6.0 Funds involved

We estimate that the volume of funding "diverted" away from the Special children between 1989 and 2003 was some Euro 2 billion. During this period the European Commission provided European public funds to the value of approximately Euro 2 billion.

7.0 Implications for the European Union

The European Union provides substantial funding to these same governments, local governments and educational establishments who justify the transfer of Special funds to their local authority budgets as a direct result of a selection procedure based upon overt racial prejudice.

The European Parliament will therefore understand that this is a matter, now being evident, is a of grave concern to members of the public in Europe. Not only from the standpoint of justification of the use of Euro millions of public money but that this is being managed by the same individuals who manage the Special school scandal. These are people with an established track record which reflects professional incompetence as educators as well as criminal intent in terms of the use of public funds.

We do not have to spell out to the Members of the European Parliament that in the European Union, within any member state jurisdiction, such behaviour would invariably be addressed, at least through dismissal for professional incompetence and or a prison sentence

More importantly, however, this ongoing activity represents a horrific human rights abuse in frank contravention of Article 13 of the Treaty of Rome (Amsterdam articles).

We remain confident that the European Parliament will not stand back and remain inactive on these issues of human rights abuse, corruption and, in terms of EU funds will ask for a re-evaluation of current financial undertakings and commitments by the European Union to the institutions concerned.

We call upon the European Parliament to take the appropriate actions on this matter and place our trust the ability of Parliament to do this. On our part we would suggest that there is an urgent need to place a temporary embargo on any further funding, including freezing that already committed, to the establishments involved. This should continue in force until such a time as the Special school system is done away with and the children within this system be provided with sustainable educational provisions which are suitable for future citizens of the European Union.

There is no real basis for rejection of such beneficial change by the institutions concerned on the basis of available resources because as is now known they have more than adequate and accounted funding available if only this were not diverted into illicit use.

8.0 Supporting evidence

In support of this Petition we provide a report on this matter as an attachment to this Petition (SENT UNDER SEPARATE COVER):

A case of wilful criminal neglect & professional incompetence
A report on an Investigation by
European Economic Interest Grouping Reg 168
ECRE(2003) 002 Brussels, 26 February 2003

This report can also be accessed on our web site at:


We stand ready and willing to provide any further information and clarifications which might be required and to provide any additional information we have on hand resulting from our investigation into this matter.

For and on behalf of
ECRE - European Committee on Romani Emancipation
Hector McNeill
Member of Management Committee
On the 28th day of February in the year 2003.

THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE ON ROMANI EMANCIPATION is a European Economic Interest Grouping established in compliance with the terms of the European Union Council Regulation Number 2137 and registered in the United Kingdom 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.

Basic Operations

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 :
  • community-based training and extension services
  • employment creating projects and programmes
  • a Romani development equity fund
  • a low cost European communications infrastructure

ECRE - European Committee on Romani Emancipation
European Operations
128 Copnor Road, Portsmouth PO3 5AN, United Kingdom
Fax: +44 2392 789 081
web site at: http://www.eu-romani.org
e-mail: info@eu-romani.org