"Third World in Europe" – Germany should finance a development program for the impoverished Romani people in the Balkan States

International Romani Day (April 8)

Germany should finance an effective development program for the impoverished Romani people in the Balkan States. On occasion of the International Romani Day on Monday (April 8), the General Secretary of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) in Göttingen, Tilman Zülch, stated: "Third World in Europe – this is what we could call the situation of the Romani minority in Bulgaria , Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia. Our human rights organization therefore demands a well-financed assistance program for the Romani – for housing, infrastructure, education, health care and the creation of jobs – lasting for several years."

According to the human rights activist, Germany spent only 0.38 percent of last years gross national income for development aid – instead of the promised 0.7 percent. Thus, there should be enough money left to help the Romani minorities in south-eastern Europe. The government should also invite the other wealthy European countries to join the Romani development program. The feared refugee movement of Romani people towards western Europe can only be avoided if they will be able to find a livelihood in their homeland areas.

40 years ago, the developed countries initially agreed on spending 0.7 percent of their gross national income for development assistance. While all of the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands managed to more or less achieve this goal, and while Great Britain managed to use 0.56 percent of the gross national income to support poorer countries, Germany only managed rank 12 in western Europe with its 0.38 percent. In 2011, Germany had spent 14.1 billion US-$ on foreign aid, but only 13.1 billion in 2012.

The International Romani Day takes place on April 8. In 1971, the first World Romani Congress in London took place on this day, with Romani representatives from 25 countries. In 1981, the STP – under the patronage of Indira Gandhi and Simon Wiesenthal – organized the third World Romani Congress in Göttingen, with delegates from 28 countries and four continents. Shortly after, President Carstens and Chancellor Schmidt had apologized for the genocide the Nazis committed against the Sinti and the Roma.