IRU's review of the EU elections: Europe has turned to the right, what should the Roma community expect from Europe?

The elections for the European Parliament in the 27 EU member states ended on Sunday.

The center-right European People's Party (EPP) will remain the largest political group in the European Parliament with 181 seats, ahead of the center-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (SD) with 135 MEPs, according to exit polls from the European elections held from Thursday to week in the 27 EU member states. But that's why there is a big drop in liberals and greens.

The third political force remains the liberals with 82 mandates, ahead of the right-wing group European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) with 71 and the extreme right-wing group Identity and Democracy (ID) with 62 seats. The bloc of the Greens and the European Free Alliance (EFA) won among 53 MEPs, and the Left won 34 seats.

Such results increase the chances of the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who is the EPP's "top candidate", for re-election.

The remaining 101 mandates in the 720-member European Parliament went to parties that are not members of any European group. Among them are the far-right Alternative for Germany (AFD), the Italian populist Five Star Movement (M5S), the national-conservative and right-wing populist Fidesz of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the left-wing populist and nationalist Direction-Social Democracy (Smer-SD) of the Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, the social democratic Glas-Social Democracy (Hlas) of Slovak President Peter Pellegrini and the German leftist and populist Alliance of Zara Wagenknecht (BSV). Among them are 51 former MPs and 51 newly elected ones, including representatives of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which was recently expelled from the "Identity and Democracy" group. The far-right has the most votes in Austria, the CDU won in Germany.

The far-right won the most votes in European Parliament (EP) elections in Austria, France, while coming second in Germany and the Netherlands, according to projections based primarily on exit polls.

It was announced in the European Parliament that the conservative coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) received the most votes in Germany – 29.5 percent, and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) 16.5 percent.

In Austria, the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) took first place with 27 percent of the vote, followed by the conservative Austrian People's Party with 23.5 percent and the Social Democrats with 23 percent. The Greens got 10.5 percent, which is the same as the liberal NEOS party.

In France, the Marine Le Pen party won yesterday's European elections, so the "Identity and Democracy" group in the European Parliament (EP) will get 30 new deputies, the European Parliament announced the results of the voting.

According to preliminary results, she won about 32 percent of the vote, and the parties around Macron's centrist, liberal Revival party just over 15 percent.

The Socialists are in third place with just over 14 percent.

Due to the bad result, the French president dissolved the parliament and in a few weeks will call for extraordinary parliamentary elections.

The far-right's gains in the EU's two largest member states come ahead of expected gains for Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's hard-right Brothers of Italy party.

For now, there is no information whether there will be Roma representatives in the new composition of the EP. In the previous composition were Livia Jaroca from Fidesz Hungary, Petar Polak - from Slovakia and Romeo Franz from Germany from the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance.

Otherwise, what can the Roma expect from the EU in such a right-oriented Europe?

The EU's Roma population of 6 million is present in almost every member state, and its size can be compared to a medium-sized member state like Denmark. Roma even make up about 10 percent of the population in some EU countries, including Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia. In addition, there are double - and in some countries three times as many Roma under the age of 15 as the majority population, meaning that the community had a relatively high number of first-time voters.

But so far with a few honorable exceptions, politicians have simply made too many mistakes, alienating much of this important electorate. The latest figures show, for example, that while the working poor in the EU make up 8.5 percent of the population, among Roma they make up 39 percent — almost the same as in sub-Saharan Africa (38 percent).

Finally - and most importantly - pro-European politicians are too often silent when the extreme right attacks the Roma.

The success of right-wing parties in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, etc. it is primarily due to the abuse of prejudices towards xenophobic performances and rhetoric towards migrants, Muslims, and this includes the Roma. These examples also suggest that pro-European leaders saw the far right more as an aberration that only threatened marginalized communities than as an early warning of a serious threat to them and the democratic system - how wrong they were!

These leaders have shown a similar attitude in their foreign policy. That is why there are countless examples.

For example, in 2018, when the notorious Ukrainian far-right group C14 carried out a series of violent attacks on Roma neighborhoods, leading to the brutal death of 24-year-old Daniel Papp and sparking protests outside Ukrainian embassies across Europe, pro-European leaders chose not to stand by. shoulder to shoulder.

In a similar geopolitical reckoning, while EU High Representative Josep Borrell condemned the killing of George Floyd in the United States, at the same time the killing of Stanislav Tomas, a Roma in the Czech Republic, did not provoke a significant reaction. Russia, on the other hand, took the opportunity to stand with the Roma, pointing out the moral and political inconsistency of the EU.

It was usually noticeable that, during their campaigns, right-wing politicians had meetings with the Roma communities at all or very little, thus showing their lack of interest and xenophobia.  Roma have always been loyal. You don't need to look for evidence of this in history: but unfortunately, is a "dark period" for the Roma community in the EU in sight. The probability is high!

That is why IRU calls on all Roma relevant organizations, associations, and intellectuals to join together and defend the interests of the Roma community in the EU. The IRU and all well-wishers for the Roma community with all their capacity and credibility will stand at the table and participate and cooperate actively with the future composition of the EP, in order to bridge all possible barriers and for an equal distribution of tasks and obligations as well as benefits. arising from those relations.



With respect

Zoran Dimov

President of the IRU

Review by Tuula Åkerlund member of the IRU and member of the National Advisory Board for Roma Issues/RONK from Finland for the 12th Congress of the IRU in North Macedonia

The organization of the days was really well managed, the varied program lasted from morning to late evening. Several panels were held during the days. Finnish participants were well taken into account in the program. We all felt good about the trip, we gained new international relations and enthusiasm to continue promoting the status of the Roma on our own. We also understood that Finland has a lot to offer on an international level. Tuula Åkerlund participated in the meeting as a representative of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health/ the National Advisory Board on Romani Affairs.

The journey to the 12th World Congress of the International Romani Union held in Skopje, North Macedonia, began on June 2. on the morning flight first to Frankfurt. There was a few hours of waiting and after that we continued on the next flight to Skopje and arrived in the afternoon. IRU President Zoran Dimov picked us up from the airport in his car and took us to the hotel. In the evening, there was an evening reception, where we got to know each other and shared greetings from the Roma of our country. We were also served a hearty dinner.

The next morning, local Roma delegates and representatives of different countries started coming to the hotel. IRU's extensive international network made a great impression on us. 29 IRU representatives from different countries and continents had come to the congress from abroad. The furthest ones were from Chile and India. It was interesting and satisfying to get to know Roma delegates from different countries and to hear about the situations and conditions of the Roma. There were 5 of us from Finland, Rikhard Långström (Timi) and Ramona Grönstrand from Kajaani, Henry Hedman from Launonen, Anette Åkerlund from Helsinki and me from Vantaa.

The status and life of the Roma in Finland interested the participants. We were interviewed by e.g. Roma journalists Veli Brijani and Adam Parno Szoppe, who work in Sweden at Radio Romano. We heard that Radio Romano makes a lot of programs also in the Romani language and the radio is listened to all over the world. Together with the Finnish participants, we dreamed that there would be a similar Roma radio in Finland. Communication should also be developed internationally, of course in the Romani language, but there would also be a need to make programs partly in English, so that we could get contacts and share information in international Romani networks. Today, we in Finland have many talented, educated Roma youth who speak many languages fluently. They could be inspired to join the activity.

The organization of the days was really well managed, the varied program lasted from morning to late evening. Several panels were held during the days. Finnish participants were well taken into account in the program. Everyone participated in the panels of their own field in English. Rikhard Långström participated in the entrepreneur panel, telling about his experiences in working life and his personal story as an entrepreneur in the construction industry. Henry Hedman and Anette Åkerlund participated in the Romani language, culture, history and religion panel. In his speech, Henry Hedman discussed the Finnish legislation that protects the right to develop and maintain the Romani language and culture. He also told how the teaching of the Romani language and culture is taken into account in institutions under the state administration. In her speech, Anette Åkerlund brought up the study opportunities in Romani language, history, culture and music taught at the University of Helsinki. In her speech, Anette also discussed Romani art and its importance in promoting culture. I myself participated in the panel, which discussed e.g. the rights and status of Roma women.

The IRU's vision and mission is ambitious; unites the world's Roma, informs and promotes their position. The International Romani Union is already extending its network to almost all continents. Henry Hedman was elected at the IRU meeting held at the end of the day as an advisor to IRU leader Zoran together with Finnish IRU delegate Marja Eronen. Ramona, Anette and the undersigned wanted to join international women's organization activities.

We Finnish representatives felt good about the trip, we gained new international relations and enthusiasm to continue promoting the status of the Roma on our own. We also understood that Finland has a lot to offer on an international level.





Declaration of the 12th IRU Congress

The International Romani Union – IRU's 12th Congress demands that in all countries the Roma people must be included as actors and planners - in addition to our international influence work - at all levels nationally, regionally and locally. We are no longer content to be the targets of measures, and we can no longer be considered only as problem cases. We are no longer satisfied with the crumbs of well-being.

We, the Roma of the world, are active, equal, communal, enterprising and positive citizens. We want to be involved in developing society and influencing our own affairs. We want to cooperate with all partners and actors who sincerely improve the conditions of the Roma: We extend our open hands for cooperation.

In each country, a National Roma Policy and a concrete measureable Roma action program must be drawn up, in cooperation with Roma organizations and Roma, added with a comprehensive annual monitoring and reporting system: The Roma themselves and own Roma organizations give feedback on the national and regional and local level, about the impact on their own lives.

In the preparation of monitoring indicators, cooperation must be done with Eurostat and FRA, also taking into account the EU's strategic program for equality, inclusion and participation of Roma in different areas of life. The cross-cutting objectives of the National Roma Policy are equality, inclusion and participation, as well as the elimination of discrimination by tackling antigypsyism.

National Roma political programs and concrete action programs must promote the education, employment, housing and health of the Roma, and strengthen the social, linguistic and cultural rights of the Roma, according to uniform indicators that can be measured. One possibility to improve the employment of Roma is to set national minority quotas for the recruitment of public positions and give tax breaks to employers who hire Roma for permanent employment.

We believe in a world where Roma are respected and included in all aspects of society. We are focused and actively working to create sustainable change and improvement in societies for the integration, peace, well-being and equality of Roma in the world. Our mission is to achieve economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) for Roma, included the rights to adequate food, to adequate housing, to education, to work, to social security, to health, to take part in cultural life, and also to get clean water and sanitation.

IRU is also concerned and reacts to any violation of human rights with an emphasis on the Roma and the Roma community and directs a reaction to all countries with an emphasis on Norway and its government as well as some other Scandinavian countries due to illegal and illegal registration in special police or judicial registers intended only for Roma and the Roma community regardless of age and gender. It is a fundamental violation of basic human rights and its integrity, and is against all laws in their countries that are against discrimination.

We are proud of our own and valuable Romani culture. It is our duty to preserve Romanipen, our internal and external Romani culture. Internal Romanipen consists of Romani values (respect for elderly, solidarity, and Roma purity), attitudes, and the inner feeling of being Roma. External Romanipen includes not only the Romani language but also the observance of Romani customs in three different contexts: the family, the immediate family, and the wider social environment. Family values are very important to us. Young Roma people are our future and carriers of our mission for better life of Roma.

April 5, 2024 in Skopje

The 12th Congress of the International Romani Union – IRU

Poprad, Slovakia: IRU President Zoran Dimov presented the IRU program during the working meeting of the Roma minority in Slovakia

Civic Institute - Mutual coexistence under the leadership of Amalia Pompova, who is also the President of the IRU Parliament, on May 31, 2024 in Poprad, in the Satel Hotel, an informal working meeting was held in which the President of the IRU, Zoran Dimov, participated.

The purpose of the informal working meeting was to name the real problems and cultural needs of the Roma minority in Slovakia and to exchange professional experiences attended by 20 participants from different regions of Slovakia, as well as from Prague, working in different areas - local self-government, education , social economy, social area, public administration, the informal working meeting was enriched by the president of IRU Zoran Dimov, who in his speech presented the international program of IRU, its structure and goals for the future.

At the same time, at this event, he awarded the official IRU Decrees to Amalija Pompova as the President of the IRU Parliament and to Julia Vesela, as Secretary General of the IRU Parliament, who were elected last month for the 12th Congress of the IRU in Skopje. This event is a great honor for Slovakia.

Otherwise, besides them, they also took part in this meeting: Amália Pompová, Julia Veselá, Ivan Mirga, Radko Tokár, Radoslav Gunár, Viktor Valk, Katarna Horváth, Benjamn Illéš, Štefan Mirga, Ivan Veselí, Petar Ščuka, Jana Ščuková, Jovan Bihari, Vladimir Putk, and others.

Concrete personal participation in solving specific problems of generational poverty, human rights, mutual coexistence with the majority and the overall development of the citizens of the Roma national minority in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The working group - Crisis Solutions Network in Slovakia was created to create model reform activities directly in the Roma settlements, because from the Roma settlements, some political parties created vote incubators with naive promises. Cooperation with the Government of Slovakia, with the individual Office of the Czech Government for Roma communities and with the Office of the Government of Slovakia for National Minorities is being prepared.

Raducanu Gheorghe has been selected as a special consultant - advisor, for political systems of the IRU

Within the congress activities of the IRU which were held in Skopje, North Macedonia and in the election of the new presidency and leadership of the IRU, in the presence of over 60 delegates of the IRU from 50 countries in the world, Mr. Raducanu Gheorghe from Romania, as a consultant -  advisor for political systems in the International Roma Union - IRU.

He will lead this position in the following years, and his choice was due to the fact that Raducanu was recognized as an excellent Roma leader who has been fighting for the rights of the Roma from Romania and for the rights of the Roma at the international level for many years.

He is an excellent connoisseur of political activities, because in fact he is the founder of one of the strongest and most respected Roma political parties in Romania, Asociatia Patrida Romilor "Pro Europa".

Mr. Raducanu Gheorghe is actually the founder of this party, which was founded 34 years ago on April 3, 1990.

This means that Raducanu as an active and top politician has been present for more than 3 decades and his experience and actions are enormous, therefore his experience, his skill and doctrine of political action together with the IRU can contribute to the greater dignity of the Roma nation at the level of international political character.

Mr. Raducanu has shown and proven this many times as a top politician.

New mandate for Zoran Dimov as President of IRU (2024 - 2028)

At the 12th Congress of the IRU, which was held on April 4 and 5 in Skopje, Republic of S.Macedonia, the current President Zoran Dimov was elected as the President of the IRU again with a four-year term by the IRU delegates and members.

The following have been elected as IRU Vice Presidents: Stefano Kuzicov (Sweden), Attila Stojka (Hungary), Punita Singh (India, Asia), Elisa Costa (Brazil, America), and Vice Presidents for Australia and the Russian Federation Artur Kvik will also be appointed soon.

President of the IRU Parliament: Admir Ismanovski (Denmark), Secretary General: Ramush Muarem, Treasurer: Veli Husein (Croatia), Marja Eronen: Advisor to the IRU Cabinet

Gheorghe Raducanu (Romania) - IRU Special Advisor on Political Strategy

High Commissioner: Karina Daminovska (Denmark), Daniela Zamanova (Slovakia) - Deputy High Commissioner, Commissioners: Sumi Yusuke - language and culture, Lucica Tudor (Romania) for religion, Petar Šchuka (Czech Republic) - economy Richard Langstrom - Finland, deputy Commissioner for Economy Sebihan Demirovski (Macedonia) Social Affairs Andris Tertates - Latvia Deputy Commissioner for Social Affairs Kemal Vural Tarlan (Turkey) Commissioner for Human Rights Zuhal Gezichir (Turkey) Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights. IRU women and program implementation: Milka Pompova - Slovakia, Maria Elena Andrich - Chile, Tula Akerlund - Finland, Meleci Renja - Albania, Marja Erone - Finland, Daniela Zemanova - Slovakia

Honorary IRU Presidents: Tore Jarl Bielenberg - Norway and Rishi Verandra - India

An IRU Board will be formed (which members will be appointed at the next IRU Parliament) and an IRU obdusman will be appointed.

FaLang translation system by Faboba

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