Hate – whether through speech or violence, whether against Roma or others, a hate rooted in prejudice and legitimized by politics – presents the leading challenge for Europe today. The European Roma Institute will seek to outlaw existing anti-Gypsyism just as anti-Semitism has been outlawed. On the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Committee, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière described it as the job of politicians to oppose the significant decrease of inhibitions against antigypsyism and other forms of xenophobia since the beginning of the Pegida demonstrations.
The European Roma Institute will be there for all of Europe, but it will play the most important role for Sinti and Roma themselves. Millions of Sinti and Roma were killed during the Second World War but Romani culture, language and history suffered near fatal damage as well. We see the serious repercussions of this today; instead of celebrating our culture, some Sinti and Roma prefer to conceal it in the hope of avoiding stigmatization and marginalization.
The European Roma Institute will build upon the existing work of Sinti and Roma artists, cultural and media figures who are to date dispersed, disconnected and operate on a small scale. The institute will enable them to co-produce and exchange. The Institute will be a public communicator that can present the talent and richness of Romani arts, culture and history and demonstrate Romani contributions to Europe’s culture.