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Social and economic integration of Roma

The Roma community is the largest ethnic minority in Europe. It represents between 10 and 12 million extremely marginalised people. The Commission proposes to improve the effectiveness of instruments aimed at the socio-economic integration of Roma through a long-term approach and multisectoral actions (education, employment, health, housing, etc.).

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 7 April 2010 – The social and economic integration of the Roma in Europe [COM(2010) 133 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The Commission presents a strategy which is to improve the economic and social integration of Roma in the European Union (EU). This action shall also be carried out in those countries involved in the EU enlargement process.

Improving the impact of existing policies

The EU has a set of legal instruments for combating discrimination (the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and legislation on non-discrimination and the free movement of persons), as well as funding to encourage social cohesion (the Structural Funds and the Instrument for pre-Accession Assistance (IAP)).

Instruments also exist at international and national levels. The Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have adopted initiatives for this purpose. Countries involved in the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 initiative have also adopted national action plans.

The Commission states that all existing initiatives must be:

  • better coordinated;
  • implemented better at local level;
  • accompanied by awareness-raising actions for Roma communities and the Roma population as a whole;
  • guided by desegregation policies;
  • included in more general policy strategies, such as those for education, employment, health and territorial development.

Improving the implementation of actions

European financial instruments are not optimised due to their complexity. The Commission shall therefore provide measures for technical assistance. In addition, existing resources shall be increased.

The Commission supports multisectoral, national and European strategies for tackling the marginalisation of Roma communities. It also encourages the participation of communities in developing and implementing strategies.

Adapting public policies

All relevant European and national policies shall contribute to the integration of the Roma. National public authorities shall exchange experiences, particularly through the EURoma Network.

In particular, the Commission shall:

  • organise meetings between the public authorities in EU countries;
  • support the creation of an academic network on Roma studies;
  • improve coordination between the structural funds and adapt the next generation of structural funds and programmes accordingly;
  • take account of the inclusion of Roma under the framework of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the “European Platform against Poverty”, in particular;
  • encourage mutual learning in the area of employment;
  • take account of the inclusion of Roma in the enlargement process.

Improving policy coherence

In order to encourage coherent action and stakeholder responsibility, specifically the Commission shall:

Developing model intervention approaches

The Commission proposes to draft integration strategies adapted to the specific nature of each Roma community. This relates to situations where Roma communities:

  • live in urban districts close to other disadvantaged communities;
  • live in disadvantaged districts or rural settlements;
  • are mobile with citizenship of an EU country;
  • are mobile or sedentary with citizenship of a non-EU country (they may be refugees, stateless persons or asylum seekers).

Intervention approaches shall be developed to respond to core socio-economic needs, such as employment and self-employment, education, housing and health. They shall help to define types of funding, legislative tools and the role of each stakeholder involved.

Context

This Communication forms part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is published in preparation for the 2nd European Roma Summit.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

Last updated: 04.08.2010
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