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July 22, 2017
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Czech MEP responds to antigypsyism at the European Parliament: Roma are underrepresented and positive examples should be highlighted

18.4.2017 8:28
Tomáš Zdechovský (PHOTO: http://www.zdechovsky.eu)
Tomáš Zdechovský (PHOTO: http://www.zdechovsky.eu)

According to a Member of the European Parliament (EP) from the Czech Republic, Tomáš Zdechovský, the commemoration of International Romani Day is very necessary. The MEP made his remarks during a debate about International Romani Day that took place at the EP on Thursday, 6 April 2017.

Zdechovský made his remarks in response to several racist MEPs who attacked Romani people across the board in their remarks. "This debate demonstrates how necessary it is to commemorate this Romani Day," said the MEP for the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL).

He described the four years that he spent as a street worker in a Romani community. "It is interesting to see how their coexistence with the majority group in Czech society has changed their culture in a significant way. Romani people are different, and that's what this debate is about. We must acknowledge this difference," he said, adding that Romani people do have problems such as criminal involvement and drug abuse.

The MEP said he believes it is necessary to ask why that is and how we can change it. "In the European Union there are several million Romani people - maybe more than some of the other nationalities who are represented in the European Parliament - but the Roma do not have a voice here. How many MEPs are of Romani nationality? How many people from the Romani community have made it here? How many people from the Romani people have the ability to study?" he asked.

"We can abuse these people and give examples of how they drive around in Mercedes while letting their children run wild in the street - but why not show the examples of Romani people who work as doctors, lawyers, police officers, who go to Italy to wipe the asses of Italian pensioners?" he responded to the anti-Romani attacks made by other MEPs. "Why don't you talk about the Romani people who create society together with us and are involved in the normal labor process?"

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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European Parliament, International Roma Day, intolerance, Italy



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