‘Besides strategies, besides the state of affairs in various parts of Europe, the issue of the Roma ethnics and their situation can only be solved at European level. I believe the establishment of a European Agency for Roma is necessary, because this way the problems will migrate from one place to another, in compliance with the principle of communicating vessels,’ said Nastase.
‘Identifying and attempting to cast light on the problems facing the Roma in an area or another cannot bear any more fruit now,’ said Nastase.
The ex-prime minister gave some examples to the members of the PACE committee who convened in Targu Mures about what has been attempted at a national level in Romania about the Gypsies: Roma counsels with prefectures, and the free croissant and milk meal for school children, which, he argues, was mainly designed for the poorest school children, and particularly those from Gypsy families.
‘To the extent that Roma, the Romany children, are schooled, their social integration becomes easier to achieve. Yet, the essential problem in Romania as well is employment.
Things became very different after 1989. Many of the Roma would work with agricultural farms before but the farms were disbanded and one of the ideas I put forth, and which might have been useful, was to earmark money for local communities to enable them to buy farmland, which is usually very cheap in Romania and other areas, in order to give the Roma a chance to also make their own homes and earn a living,’ said Nastase.
He underscored that if the Gypsy issue is treated only in terms of potential discrimination, it can be noticed that Roma people who left Romania sometimes claiming they were discriminated against reached Italy and other countries where their situation was or is much more difficult.
Nastase added that funding means for concrete programmes should be found at a European level and a very good idea would be discussing them together.
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe started on Monday a working meeting in Targu Mures, under the chairmanship of Herta Daubler-Gmeli.