AGE and ERIO call on the Commission and the future Danish Presidency to dedicate International Roma Day in 2012 to older Roma

JOINT PRESS RELEASE                                                                                        

Brussels, 7 April 2011


International Roma Day, 8 April 2011 

AGE and ERIO call on the Commission and the future 
Danish Presidency to dedicate International 
Roma Day in 2012 to older Roma

Roma people living in the EU face huge challenges and obstacles in their daily life but the situation of older Roma is even worse and their difficulties are not addressed adequately in today’s political discourse on the social and economic integration of Roma. Given the EU’s rapidly evolving demography and our ageing population, attention must be given to the largely invisible group of older Roma, many of whom face unacceptable levels of poverty, exclusion and discrimination which obstruct their ability to enjoy their fundamental rights as European citizens and prevents their integration into mainstream society.

2012 will be the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and it is important to ensure that older Roma will be considered as part of the target groups in this forthcoming European Year, as well as be integrated into EU initiatives on Roma inclusion. “The International Roma Day on 8 April 2012 will be an ideal opportunity for an EU event to be devoted specifically to older Roma and to consider how they can be encouraged to engage more both in their communities and with the broader society”, observed Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary General.  

Older Roma are often neglected and discriminated on the basis of their ethnicity and they struggle against particular challenges and barriers that are preventing them from enjoying the rights and opportunities that are afforded to other older people living in the EU. As yet, little attention has been paid to identifying how the needs of this growing group of older Roma can be met. “The significant difficulties that older Roma face are compounded by the challenges of ageing that are common to all older people living in the EU”, stressed Ivan Ivanov, ERIO Executive Director. He added that “it is important to ensure that the needs of older Roma will be taken on board by Member States and all EU institutions in the context of the EU Framework of National Roma Integration Strategies”.  

It is hoped that such initiatives will mark the first steps in EU and national efforts to improve the specific situation of older Roma and to raise awareness about some of the most problematic issues that older Roma individuals are facing such as discrimination, lack of access to healthcare, employment, adequate income in old age, decent housing, etc. ”The high levels of exclusion and discrimination that this part of our older population are facing needs to be urgently addressed and the Roma Strategy should include specific work to be done on older Roma during the upcoming European Year 2012 on active ageing and solidarity between generations” concluded AGE and ERIO.


Further details:

AGE - ERIO joint paper on Improving the situation of older Roma in the EU: Executive summary of interviews with older Roma in summer 2010




Press release in pdf format

Communiqué de presse en français (suivra)

Thursday 07 April 2011
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