On January 16, 2014 the European Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights said in an interview for Euronews that Roma communities need “to be willing to integrate and to be willing to have a normal life”. See the video here from minute 2.00
The fact that the Commissioner in charge of Roma perceives us Roma in general as being abnormal should not be a surprise for anybody that knows how clueless (when it comes to Roma issues) arrogant and egotistical Viviane Reding is. The fact that she makes her opinion public on Euronews and that there is no serious reaction to this either from the European civil society or the European Commission itself should be mind-blowing. That is if you are not aware that the European Commission is suffering from a lip-service culture and Commissioner Reding is surrounded by powerful and revengeful sycophants. The relationship between the Commission and European civil society is profoundly dysfunctional and servile as most of the civil society depends on the money distributed by the Commission .
The Commissioner and top-level politicians in the West have made a habit for the last years into scapegoating Romania, Bulgaria and Eastern Europe in general when it comes to the situation of Roma. I argue that is just smart window- dressing as it hides the fact that a good part of the responsibility for this mess we are in is in fact the responsibility of the European Commission and Western Europe…
Yes, we Romanians do have an unbelievable number of cretins that are in leading positions in government, public administration and almost everywhere else where jobs are paid from public money. We are a mess when it comes to corruption and citizens lead action. Nepotism and ass-kissing remain among our most cherished and needed values if you want to be successful here.
Yes, Romanian society is struggling with racism and many other forms of discrimination; sexism and anti-Gypsyism seem to be prerequisites for being part of the male Romanian political elite.
We are still abysmally incompetent when it comes to absorption of EU Structural Funds and we are particularly skilled at fighting among ourselves and rationalizing our own failures as being the result of fabulously idiotic conspiration theories.
To conclude – we are kind of a mess. As with any mess – it can be cleaned and if building on the few, but considerable strengths available, Romania could be quite an amazing place. The difference from what Romania was just a decade ago and what it is now –is a clear proof of this amazing potential.
Viciously attacking Romania for the situation of Roma is not at all a good idea. The end result will not be less Roma in your countries but the opposite. Social inclusion of Roma needs to be thought seriously and as a long-term process. It needs smart and massive investments for decades not furious rants neither the festive conferences, dances and fire-works as seem to be the trend nowadays.
Agree that the Eastern European governments seem incapable to do much about addressing properly the Roma issues. They are indeed incapable to spend the available EU money .
But it is you the Western Europeans that control the European bureaucracy. It is you that let the situation go from bad to worst by accepting all kind of incredibly weak and some utterly clueless people to deal with the situation of Roma at the EU level. The Commissioner in charge of Roma is from Luxembourg and she is amazingly clueless even after 5 years in that position as it is clear from her recent interview for Euronews.
The EU Funds as they are designed now are a joke. They can not change much (if anything) even if they are fully absorbed. It is impossible to use EU funds in the most problematic Roma communities . If the states are incapable to use properly Roma money then create a EU financial mechanism that can solve this problem. Bring in the best experts and base this financial mechanism in Romania or in the region. Help solve the problems not made them bigger than they already are.
Unfortunately up to this moment Western Europe was the reason for more problems and not at all for a betterment of the situation of Roma. The lack of experts capable to come up with solutions is stridently visible in the West as it is in the East of Europe.
Creation of a EU wide Roma Experts Network capable to come up with solutions is something that could work if done properly. There are plenty of precedents for it. Create a working group at the level of the European Council and the situation might change for the better quite fast.
Scapegoating Romania or any other Eastern European country when it comes to the situation of Roma will just increase resentments against Western Europe. It will lead to an increase in anti-Gypsyism and significant electoral gains for anti-European extremist parties. At the end of the day will increase the pressure on Roma to leave and will do nothing to address the reasons why the number of Roma leaving for the West is constantly increasing …