European Commissioner accuses Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Simeonov of racism

Written by on September 2, 2017 in Europe - Comments Off on European Commissioner accuses Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Simeonov of racism

The European Union’s Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, wants to make sure the EU funding for programmes designed to fight discrimination against the Roma minority in several countries “is not wasted”. In Brussels, she announced a thorough review of how the funds which were spent. For the period from 2014 to 2020, a total of 42 billion euro was provided to a number of countries, including Bulgaria, when the European Commission powered up its anti-discrimination fight in 2011.

The countries in question were supposed to pass their own anti-discrimination programmes and make sure they are effective. This approach was chosen by the Commission, since the situation of the Roma minority differs, depending on the country.

“We will brutally assess the efficiency of EU funding,” Jourova said. “It cannot work without helping (the Roma) to get a job and helping them to keep a job. It’s about wasted trust of people. This is not only about money,” she added.

The Justice Commissioner is disappointed, since 80 per cent of Europeans of Romani origin are still at risk of poverty, despite the Commission’s efforts. The Roma’s situation regarding education, housing, healthcare access and employment is still floundering in many countries, the website Euractiv said.

The Commissioner said that she might take further action against Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria, because of discrimination against Roma children at schools. In those countries, more than half of all them are segregated from other schoolchildren, the European Commission says.

Italy’s discrimination against Roma will be investigated separately.

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova also blasted Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov, for what she called racist remarks against Roma. “I think that if I see that a minister is racist, I will go to the prime minister. And I will do that if necessary,” Jourova said.

She threatened to put the subject of discrimination “high on the agenda” when Bulgaria takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in January.

Simeonov is part of the far right “United Patriots” and one of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s coalition partners.

(Photo via YouTube)

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