Statewatch article: RefNo# 6843
Immigration; Discrimination against Roma violates EU accession standards
Statewatch Bulletin; vol 13 no 2 March-April 2003
In anticipation of a growing number of applications for membership by eastern European countries, the EU Council established at the Copenhagen Summit in 1993 what is now known as the "Copenhagen Criteria". Apart from administrative and economic standards, applicant countries must have a democratic government, which includes "stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities." A study conducted by the EU Accession Monitoring Program of the Open Society Institute (EUMAP), has found that Germany violates the "Copenhagen Criteria" of minority protection. The report refers to institutional discrimination in the areas of housing, education, employment, healthcare and a lack of protection from racist violence. Another aspect of Germany's mistreatment of the Roma is the large-scale deportation programme targeting families from the former-Yugoslavia, who are being deported into economic and social insecurity.
Germany's deep-seated institutional racism against the Roma and Sinti dates back to the sixteenth century and continued throughout the Nazi era up to today, from deportation policies specifically targeting Roma communities to institutional racism reinforced through anti-Roma court decisions and unchallenged popular racism. In 1661 and 1725 respectively laws were passed ordering the death penalty on any "Gypsy" to be found in Saxony and demanding that any Gypsy in Prussia over the age of 18 should simply be hanged. Similar regulations continued until the Weimar Republic and the Nazi era, where forced labour camps and extermination policies killed around 500,000 European Sinti and Roma. In the post-World War 2 era, the discrimination of Roma and Sinti continued, often at the hands of the same people who retained positions of authority, and through Nazi regulations and institutions which have stayed in force up to today. Court decisions have denied Roma and Sinti compensation as victims of the Nazi regime.
Details on historical and contemporary anti-Roma and Sinti racism can be found in the second volume of EUMAP's 2002 Monitoring Minority Protection report which for the first time also concentrates on the five largest EU member States, examining the situation of Muslims in France, Italy and the UK, and of Roma in Germany and Spain. The volume was prepared "with the intent of underlining that EU standards must be applied and monitored equally throughout the European Union, not only in candidate countries."
A recent incident of anti-Roma racism involves one of the more prestigious hotels in Berlin, the Estrel Hotel which has publicised itself as a metropolitan meeting point: on 28 January this year, Johann Herzberg, a German businessman of Roma origin attempted to book a room in the hotel only to be told that he had been banned because "the hotel computer identified him as a Gypsy". Asking to speak to a superior, he was transferred to "Ms. Müller" who told him the hotel "does not rent out rooms to the race of Gypsies". Even if this could be put down to individual racist behaviour, the reaction by the hotel's management to official complaints lodged by Petra Rosenberg, the chairman of the regional association of German Sinti and Roma as well as the International League for Human Rights portrays the full extent of Germany's deep-seated anti-Roma racism. Without any investigation into the complaint, Thomas Brückner, the hotel's director, dismissed the incident as a "misunderstanding" and claimed Mr Herzberg had violated hotel regulations, without providing any more detail on grounds of the hotel's "discretion" policy towards its customers. Furthermore, unaware of the racist connotations of this statement, Brückner's colleague Ute Jacobs claimed that racism simply could not exist within the hotel's structures because foreigners were employed there and reassured the newspaper Jungle World that the receptionist would have reacted in the same way "if it had

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