ANN CAHILL: Money being used as an excuse by EU states to discriminate

ROMA, gypsies, Muslims and gays promise to divert some of the attention from Europe’s see-sawing economic predicament this autumn.

It seems to be the case that – as an enlightened piece of graffiti on a wall in Brussels says – “There are too many foreigners in the world”.

The Roma have always had a bad time, not having a country of their own but being divided up between mostly Bulgaria, Romania, Hungry, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

The elimination of borders in the EU has given them access to the rest of the Union and their tradition of women and children begging gives them a higher profile and nuisance value than most other immigrants.

Italy, with its history of ham-fisted methods of getting rid of foreigners, is ripping up their Roma shanty and camp sites and sending them ‘home’.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who like Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi has no problem breaking international rules for local political gains, is busy expelling Roma also.

Hungary, with a dreadful history of mistreating Roma, has taken encouragement from the two western European countries and one of its political parties has proposed setting up prison-type camps for Roma.

Naturally, the Roma are not waiting to be ‘moved on’ but according to reports they are trying to keep a step ahead of the police and moving into neighbouring countries.

This at least will concentrate the minds of foreign ministers from the EU when they meet in Brussels later this week. If even just to protect themselves, some will hopefully insist that an EU-wide solution be found that does not include camps.

Gays are also hoping that they will receive more legal protection from discrimination via the EU. An Italian MEP, who is gay, wants to organise a “Kisses against Intolerance” moment in cities throughout her home country.

Paola Concia had around 100 gay friends take part in a public kissing session in her home town of Terre del Lago last month to highlight the homophobic tendencies of police and others in Italy.

She is hoping that the draft EU anti-discrimination directive will be adopted, giving greater protection to people including gays, minorities and disabled. But it is currently being blocked by a few countries, including Germany.

The draft directive is wide ranging, aimed at reducing discrimination on grounds of age, disability, sexual orientation and beliefs not just in employment but also to access to goods and services such as banking education, transport and health.

They argue that most countries already have strict legislation and do not need it at EU level. Strange given that their foreign minister is a gay man and their finance minister is in a wheelchair.

Some believe that Chancellor Angela Merkel does not want to alienate any of her right-wing support. But officially the reason will be money. Some countries are arguing that they cannot afford not to discriminate against people.

They say small businesses will not be able to afford to install wheelchair ramps for instance. The European Parliament suggested that small businesses be exempted from such demands.

But it’s not just the parties of the right that are raising the temperature in Germany. Thilo Sarrazin, politician of the left leaning Social Democratic Party and member of the Central Bank says German culture is disappearing as the native population is shrinking and being overtaken by Muslims. He says they don’t integrate and change their culture and as a result Germany is abolishing itself.

Sounds like the history of the world where every civilisation has given way to the next one.


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