The European Commission has called on EU Member States, in a report adopted yesterday, to implement their national strategies to improve the economic and social integration of Europe’s 10 to 12 million Roma. Member States developed these plans in response to the Commission’s EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies adopted on 5 April 2011, which was endorsed by EU leaders soon afterwards.
The EU Framework identifies four pillars where national efforts to improve the integration of Roma are required: access to education, jobs, healthcare and housing. For the first time, all Member States committed to developing an integrated approach across these four policy areas and delivered national strategies to address these priority areas.
In yesterday’s report, the Commission concludes that Member States have made an effort to develop a comprehensive approach to Roma integration. However, the Commission report highlights that much more needs to be done when it comes to securing sufficient funding for Roma inclusion, putting monitoring
“It is good news that Member States have delivered on their commitment and presented Roma integration strategies. Presenting national strategies is a first and important step,” said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. “However, Member States now need to move up a gear and strengthen their efforts with more concrete measures, explicit targets, earmarked funding and sound monitoring and evaluation. We need more than strategies that exist on paper. We need tangible results in national politics that improve the lives of Europe’s 10 to 12 million Roma.”
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said: “The inclusion of Roma in Europe is a shared economic, social and moral imperative, even if the challenges facing Roma communities vary between Member States. This report underlines the need for our October 2011 proposal that Member States, for the 2014-2020 financial period, should have in place an appropriate Roma inclusion strategy before receiving European Social Fund money for it.”
In their strategies, all Member States acknowledge the need to reduce the gap between Roma and non-Roma in the four key areas identified by the European Commission.
Most Member States have presented specific measures on how they intend to reach the agreed objectives.