“The issue of inclusion of Roma communities is sometimes presented as a problem of the countries of origin, other times as a problem of the countries of destination, latter when the lack of integration capacity is on the table. But, the only really efficient way in tackling the Roma issue is to recognise the fact that it is a European issue. EU institutions have to coordinate their efforts with origin and destination member states in order to gain certain progress”, stressed Winkler.
The MEP talked about the young generation of Roma communities which is seen as a hope in the way it could generate changes of mentalities inside their communities.
“In today’s debate there was discussion about the young generation and I want to draw attention to the fact that a person born in 1990, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, was 17 in 2007 when my country, Romania, joined the EU”, commented Winkler “and today that person is 23, graduated from university and able to become an actor in the process of changing mentalities in the Roma communities. I’m perfectly aware that in Romania, as well in Bulgaria or Hungary many Roma young people, after graduating from university, choose distance from their community. From my own experience I can affirm that there are also a lot of young people who feel responsible for the future of their communities. I think that the Roma younger generation from Eastern member states can be the agent in changing mentalities and can contribute to the coagulation of their communities”.
He warned about the fact that for the Roma issue short term results are irrelevant to be gained and progress will be recorded trough perseverance over several decades.
“I believe that the realistic approach consists in the awareness that the Roma issue is a problem which needs decades for finding proper and functional solutions. I can’t specify a certain timeframe, but I’m convinced that only trough elaborating and financing long term projects of the EU we will obtain the desired progress”, stressed Iuliu Winkler.