ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 13-02-2014
Government representatives in Germany, Britain and France have been agitating against immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria for months. Above all, members of the Roma population have been labelled as “welfare tourists” and poverty migrants who allegedly intend to scrounge welfare benefits.
In Germany, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) has placed itself at the head of this campaign, while in Britain Prime Minister David Cameron has threatened to withhold welfare benefits to immigrants. They have been supported by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany and the Labour Party in Britain. In the recent German coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and CSU, the SPD agreed to challenge claims to welfare benefits by European Union (EU) citizens.
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Hristo Kyuchukov is a Bulgarian of Romani descent, a specialist in Romani psycholinguistics and education of Roma children in Europe, and author of a number of books. He is currently a visiting professor at the Free University in Berlin.
Watch the interview here (42:32 min.)
BRUSSELS - British figures indicate that just as many UK citizens live in the EU as vice-versa, despite popular perceptions. The numbers, covering 2010, were put forward last week in a government response to a parliamentary question by Matthew Oakeshott, a Liberal member of the House of Lords.
Compared to the 2.3 million EU citizens in the UK, which includes people who came after Poland and nine other states joined the Union in 2004, British consular authorities estimate that 2.2 million Britons live in the other 26 EU countries, excluding Croatia, which joined in 2013.
A previous response to an Oakeshott question in January said another 900 Britons live in Croatia, putting the net immigration-emigration ratio even closer to par, however.
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Paris/Prishtina - A French court has refused to grant a residence permit to the parents of Leonarda Dibrani, a Romani girl from Kosovo who was deported from France last year under scandalous circumstances. Wire services reported at the end of January that the teenager has responded to the court's decision by threatening to commit suicide.
The case sparked great emotion in France last year, causing problems for French President François Hollande. Police officers in the village of Pontarlier near the town of Besançon pulled 15-year-old Leonarda off of a bus during a field trip last October in front of her shocked fellow students and teachers.
That same day she and the rest of her family, whose asylum requests had been rejected, were deported to the northern city of Kosovska Mitrovica in Kosovo. The family, who have seven children aged between one and 23 years of age, came to France illegally in 2009.
"This is not fair. I will kill myself, because we have no life here [in Kosovo]. My home country is France, we are dying of hunger here. The attorney is telling us not to lose hope because we have the right to appeal, but I no longer believe in justice," Leonarda told Agence France-Presse.Read more here
Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic - Martin Košnar, director of the primary school in the Předlice quarter of Ústí nad Labem, says that exponentially more children than usual are enrolling into the first grade there. All of the children enrolled there are of Romani nationality.
"It's not that the school was established as a Romani one, that fact has developed on the basis of the situation in Předlice," Košnar said. The school will be enrolling 23 children this year, seven of whom will attend a preparatory class and the rest of whom will make up two first-grade cohorts.
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France - One of the main organizations defending the rights of Roma people in Romania has charged French President François Hollande with inciting racism. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports that the group is responding to a recent attack against Roma in Paris.
"Your aim is to rid France of Roma... irrespective of the Constitution, European laws, or human rights," AFP quotes from the letter sent by the CRISS association in Romania to European Commission President José Barosso and Hollande today. "Your policy and your speeches incite racism and violence against Roma people."
ERIO news and activities
ANNOUNCEMENTS and events
ERIO is organising a workshop on 26 February. The aim of this workshop is to discuss the challenges faced at national level when it comes to raising awareness and recognition of the Roma and Sinti Holocaust and finding possible solutions to overcome them taking into consideration the national context. The workshop will result in concrete recommendations to send to national governments, media, schools, museums, etc.
This workshop is part of a one-year project funded by the European Commission under the Europe for Citizens Programme: MemoROM “Keeping the Memory Alive: the Roma and Sinti Holocaust”.
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