European Year of Equal Opportunities
Strasbourg (F), 25 April 2007
“European Regions want the EU to do more in the field of anti-discrimination”: Klaus Klipp, Secretary General of the Assembly of European Regions (AER, www.aer.eu), stressed today during a press conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg the crucial importance of anti-discrimination issues for over 250 European regions members of the AER.
On this occasion, the Assembly of European Regions launched two major initiatives, which are set to bring gender equality and ethnic minorities at the top of the European agenda:
– the AER Observatory for Migrant Women: it will set a milestone in the field, both by creating a network of politicians, experts and NGOs from the regions working on the topic, and an AER database of regional good practice on migrant women. The Observatory, an idea originally mooted by Michèle Sabban (AER Vice-President and Vice-President of the Ile-de-France region), will be launched in cooperation with regions from the geographical area of Southern Europe and the Maghreb countries.
– the request to the European Commission to establish a single contact point dealing with all the issues related to ethnic minorities. At the moment the different Directorates (DGs) of the European Commission deal with this topic and launch several -not always coordinated- initiatives: the AER’s proposal is to have one contact office dealing both with national minorities and new arrivals (immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers), which develops concrete programmes and initiatives for the integration of these groups.
MEPs Patrizia Toia (ALDE, I), Edit Bauer (EPP, SK) and Lissy Gröner (Socialists, D) attended the press conference and supported the AER’s initiative.
According to MEP Patrizia Toia, “this is exactly the kind of initiative that Europe needs: if we want European policies to be more efficient, if we want to reach out to migrant women, then we need to work with the regions and the grassroots level. As a European Deputy, I give the AER Observatory my full support.”
“Respect the identity of ethnic minorities,” reminded MEP Edit Bauer. “The EU and national governments are not doing enough to monitor the situation of ethnic minorities. I congratulate the AER on its approach, because I am convinced that the regions have a tremendous role to play in promoting integration, through their policies on education, social inclusion and health and social services.”
MEP Lissy Gröner thanked the AER for giving a voice to those women who are not normally heard. “Migrant women often think they are alone and we need to help them join forces.” The EP Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee together with the AER will make sure that politicians at all levels understand the need to combat the multiple discrimination that women can suffer.
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