Strasbourg, 8 april 2013 - On the occasion of International Roma Day, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland visited two Roma camps in Strasbourg, where the organisation is based. Accompanied by the city of Strasbourg’s Deputy Mayor, and head of European and International relations, Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, Mr Jagland met residents of the camps and discussed their situation. Concluding his visit he said:
“I would like to pay tribute to the Roma, their heritage and contribution to European culture. At same time I am concerned that discrimination and anti-Roma rhetoric are still widespread in Europe. Education and employment are key to integration and I welcome the considerable efforts of the city of Strasbourg to help the Roma community in this respect. Notwithstanding the challenges of accommodating some 450 Roma, the experience of Strasbourg also shows that fears of a mass influx of Roma are unfounded. The Council of Europe is providing concrete support in the member states with its Roma mediator programme, which also currently provides a mediator in Strasbourg”.