Billionaire George Soros, speaking at the first “European Roma Summit” sharply condemned Italy’s blatant government sponsored prejudice against Romas. “Certainly, fingerprinting, racial profiling, and so on is unacceptable,” he said, “and I believe illegal, and I hope the European Court of Justice will take up the case and declare it illegal.” Mr. Soros fears if Italy gets away with its fight to destroy the rights of Romas, “this could b ecome a de facto European standard.” Earlier this week the government of Silvio Berlusconi declared a national emergency in response to an increase in crime which he blamed solely on Romas. His action has been attacked by human rights groups throughout Europe who compared the bombastic prime minister to Benito Mussolini who was dictator of Italy prior to World War II.
The summit meeting brought together a wide range of government officials as well as representatives from Roma communities. It is clear many European Union leaders dislike the actions of Berlusconi but as of yet are unable to devise an approach that will protect Roma rights in Italy. The EU is still struggling with defining which rights belong to a nation and when does a national decision impact the entire European Union?