FRA Director discusses Roma rights at international panel debate with Nobel laureate(11 November 2011)
On 10 November, FRA Director Morten Kjaerum, gave a speech at the Europe 2011 debate in Berlin. During the debate, ‘What Do You Mean by Gypsy? - How Europe is Treating its Largest Minority', Mr Kjaerum talked about the human rights situation of Sinti and Roma in Europe, as drawn from the data and evidence collected by the FRA.
The panel debate opened with a reading from Herta Müller, the Nobel prize winner for literature, from her book on Roma. Underlining the significance of the issue, the FRA Director pointed out: "In a few years from now 10, 15, up to 25% of the young people entering the work force in several EU Member States will be Roma. Society needs them and they need society - majority and Roma populations are intimately interconnected and interrelated... Only an open and informed discourse facing the real anxieties and fears from all quarters can bring us forward and break down hostile attitudes. This is not a Roma problem, it is a European problem." He was joined on the panel by Herta Müller; Wolfgang Thierse, Vice-President of the German Bundestag; the MEP, Livia Jaroka; a representative from the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Silvio Peritore; and the author, Klaus Michael Bogdal.