– NON DISCRIMINATION
Reding slams France for using Roma as election scapegoats
Euractiv: “Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding has strongly criticised the “electioneering” rhetoric of French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who has called for Roma from Bulgaria and Romania to sent back where they came from. EurActiv.fr reports.
“If I am not mistaken, elections are in the air in France. Whenever in this country [the government] doesn’t want to talk about important things like the budget or debt, they talk about the Roma,” Reding said yesterday (25 September) on France Info radio station.
France will hold municipal elections on 22 and 30 March 2014 and the political class is already preparing for battle (see background).
Reding, the commissioner in charge of justice and fundamental rights, was reacting to a recurring debate on the situation of Roma in France. Controversy was revived again this week by Valls, a flamboyant Socialist politician, who denounced the inability of the minority to integrate into French society.
“Roma should not remain in France,” he said. The minister added that Roma “should return to their country and integrate there”, referring to Romania and Bulgaria, from where the majority of Roma in France originate.
But Reding retorted: “We have European rules that were signed by France, the rules on the free movement of EU citizens. And we are not speaking about Roma, but about individuals. Only upon a decision by a judge they can be repatriated, if they did something that goes against the laws of the State in question,” she said.
A Commission spokesperson confirmed that the EU executive intends to make sure that France abides by its commitments.
“If these principles enshrined in the Treaties are not met, the Commission will use all means at its disposal to sanction such violations,” spokesperson Olivier Bailly stated.
Reding also recalled that €50 billion had been made available by the EU to support the inclusion of Roma…”
Also on the same topic:
France: Record number of forced evictions : http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/france-record-number-forced-evictions-2013-09-25
French minister’s anti-Roma remarks draw EU criticism : http://euobserver.com/justice/121573
French minister Valls defends call for Roma expulsions : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24273380
Sacked HIV positive worker awaits human rights court decision
Human Rights Europe: “A jewellery company worker, sacked because he is HIV positive, will find out next week if human rights judges support his complaint against Greece.
The European Court of Human Rights judgement in the case I.B. v. Greece (no. 552/10) is expected on 3 October.
The applicant, I.B., is a Greek national who was born in 1980 and lives in Athens. The case concerns the applicant’s dismissal from work on account of his HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) status.
He worked from 2001 in a jewellery company. He resigned in order to perform his military service and was then reemployed by the same company on completion of that obligation.
The applicant told three colleagues about his fear of having contracted HIV. This was subsequently confirmed by a test. Information about the applicant’s health spread throughout the company, which employed 70 people. The staff began to complain and to demand his dismissal. A doctor attempted to reassure the employees but without success. The applicant was dismissed. He found another job in a private company a short time later…”
– ELECTORAL RIGHTS
Electoral rights: Commission action ensures EU citizens can cast their vote in European and local elections
Europa Rapid: “European Union citizens will be able to use their right to vote in European and local elections more easily when living in another EU country, following legal action by the European Commission. The news comes as the Commission today closed infringement proceedings against Bulgaria for applying additional requirements to non-Bulgarian EU citizens wishing to vote or stand as a candidate in local and European elections (for example to provide the number and date of their residence certificate). Following changes to Bulgarian law, the Commission has decided to end legal action against the country. The Commission had identified similar obstacles to EU citizens’ voting rights in their country of residence in a further ten Member States (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia) since 2010, which have now been resolved except in three pending cases. The move comes eight months ahead of the next elections for the European Parliament, to be held on 22-25 May 2014.
“In May 2014, European citizens will have the chance to vote in the next European elections. This is the key moment in Europe’s democracy and I want them to make their voices heard on their future in Europe,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. ” That is why the European Commission has taken decisive action to make sure that the 8 million EU citizens of voting age who live in another EU country can effectively use their right to vote – both in European and local elections.”
European Union citizenship gives every citizen of an EU Member State the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal and European elections in whichever EU country the citizen resides. This right must be granted under the same conditions as nationals. Two pieces of EU legislation establish detailed conditions for citizens to be able to exercise these rights…”
EUROPEAN AREA OF FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE
EU needs to reflect on relocation
New Europe: “Europe’s Commissioner for Home Affairs has said that the bloc needs to start reflecting more on what it really means with solidarity and a true Common European Asylum System.
“We know that it for many reasons might not be suitable to create a distribution key within the Union, but is it really a fair and common system to have 5 Member States taking 70 % of all the asylum seekers?” said the Commissioner during a forum on asylum seeker relocation held in Brussels.
With southern member states- that is the ones that receive the brunt force of asylum seekers- hoping that relocation will alleviate their stretched services and facilities, and northern ones fearing this will attract more refugees, the Commissioner highlighted that the crises in Syria and Egypt mean the Union is now faced with the possibility that there could be significant increases in applications for asylum to countries within easy reach of Syria like Bulgaria, Malta, Cyprus, Italy and Greece.
“The events of the summer show that there is still a lot of pressure on certain states, especially due to the terrible crisis in Syria. The future is very uncertain and could bring new pressures regardless of the political developments,” said Malmstrom.
A number of view are currently being on the issue in Europe and were summarised by the Commissioner: the European Parliament is calling for compulsory relocation and an EU-wide distribution key where responsibility is shared more evenly within the Union. Some Member States are against relocation as a concept as they view it as a pull-factor and think that it is a disincentive to other Member States from improving the quality of their asylum systems. Most countries think it can be an important tool of solidarity but not a compulsory one…”
– JUDICIAL COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS
– – HUMAN TRAFFICKING
First report on human trafficking in Ireland
Human Rights Europe: “Human trafficking monitors want the Irish authorities to offer more help to victims, improve the criminal conviction rate and target child and labour slavery.
The recommendations are published today in a new report from the Council of Europe’s expert body on trafficking in human beings, GRETA.
In its first report on Ireland, GRETA underlines the progress made over recent years – including the adoption of anti-trafficking legislation, a comprehensive action plan and the creation of specialised bodies.
But the report underlines the need to “further involve NGOs and other parts of civil society in drawing up and implementing anti-trafficking policy, including by giving them a formal role in identifying victims…”