Italy faces EU rap over Roma treatment

The European Commission may launch an infringement procedure against Italy over its treatment of the Roma community, a rights organization said on Tuesday.

Italy faces EU rap over Roma treatment
Rome’s city council last year spent an estimated €21 million on its Roma camps. Photo: Rosie Scammell

The Commission has written to the Italian government warning that the EU “could decide to start an infringement procedure”, Roma rights association 21 luglio said.

The EU’s executive arm has reportedly requested information on Roma accommodation in Italy, the only country in Europe to build camps specifically for the Roma community.

Drawing on La Barbuta camp in Rome, the Commission said it was concerned about Italy housing people “on a very remote and inaccessible site, fenced in with a surveillance system”.

Such a scheme “seriously limits fundamental rights of those concerned, completely isolating them from the surrounding world and depriving them of the possibility of adequate work or education,” the Commission letter said, according to 21 luglio.

The exchange of letters was confirmed by Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva, who told The Local that the Italian government had provided the EU with information on the Roma community's access to housing. "Should there be any more outstanding questions, we will follow up if necessary," she said.

Rome’s city council last year spent an estimated €21 million on its Roma camps, which 21 luglio said meet the UN’s definition of “slum households”.

There are around 8,000 people from the Roma community living in the Italian capital, of which 5,000 live in government-run settlements. Across the country there are approximately 150,000 people from the Roma and Sinti communities, half of which hold Italian citizenship.

SEE ALSO: Rome's slum dwellers demand proper homes

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