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Roma housing debate

Strasbourgh, 10.2.2010 23:14, (BBC)

A law to allow financial assistance for housing for the EU's "marginalised communities" - primarily the Roma community - has been backed by MEPs.

The proposal by the European Commission was supported by MEPs on the European Parliament's Regional Development Committee , although they called for a number of amendments to be made.

The MEP's lead speaker on the law, Dutch MEP Lambert Van Nistelrooij urged the European Commission to expand the law to affect Roma people in all parts of the EU.

The original proposal would only apply to countries who have joined the EU after 2004.

If passed, the law would allow EU funding to renovate or replace poor quality housing used by the Roma community.

During the debate, UKIP MEP David Campbell Bannerman raised concerns that expanding the law to cover the whole of the EU could lead to increased mass migration from the Roma community.

However Hungarian MEP Kinga Göncz said that an improvement in housing standards in eastern Europe would make it less likely for Roma migration.

At the vote on 10 February 2010, MEPs passed the measure by 588 votes to 57.

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