Istria and Međimurje Good Examples for Integration of Roma Community

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MEP Ivan Jakovčić comments on status of the Roma in Croatia.

The experience of Istria and Međimurje show the right path for the integration of Roma and respect for their minority rights, said on Thursday a Member of European Parliament Ivan Jakovčić during a debate at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the occasion of the International Roma Day, which is celebrated on 8 April, reports Večernji List on April 6, 2017.

“Unfortunately, the Roma are nowadays linked with issues such as segregation, racism and intolerance. All this is in direct opposition to the values ​​for which we, in the European Union, stand – tolerance and respect for diversity,” said Jakovčić (IDS, ALDE), according to a statement from his office.

The Roma, along with Jews, suffered the largest number of casualties in World War II. In addition to the Nazi Germany, said Jakovčić, the Ustasha-led Independent State of Croatia was one of the countries in which people were persecuted and killed just because they were members of the “wrong” nation, race or religion.

“Despite all these tragedies of the past, today in Croatia there are excellent examples of systematic care for the minority rights of the Roma. I would like to point out that I, as the Prefect of Istria County, initiated and implemented a number of projects in favour of the Roma and their integration. With the opening of special kindergartens and providing scholarships for education of Roma children, by organizing media appearances for the Roma to present their culture, by supporting their entrepreneurial projects and their integration in the national minority councils, we have greatly improved the status and inclusion of the Roma community,” said Jakovčić.

Međimurje County, where there are Roma settlements, despite all the problems, is also a good example of caring about the Roma. However, national and European programmes, warned Jakovčić, will not be successful if their implementation does not fully include regional and local authorities.

“I call on the European Commission to consider how European funds can be directed to local and regional authorities, because that is the most effective way for a successful integration of the Roma,” concluded Jakovčić.


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