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European Commission to assess Member States' use of European Union funds for Roma integration

Commission Européenne - IP/10/1097   07/09/2010

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IP/10/1097

Strasbourg, 7 September 2010

European Commission to assess Member States' use of European Union funds for Roma integration

The European Commission established a Roma Task Force today to assess Member States' use of European Union funds. The proposal was part of an analysis on the situation of Roma in France and in Europe by Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner; László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion; and Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. The Commission's Roma Task Force, which will include senior officials from all relevant Commission departments, will analyse how Member States are following up the Commission's Communication of 7 April (IP/10/407; MEMO/10/121), which called for concrete programmes to help Roma integration. The Task Force will assess Member States’ use of EU funds for Roma integration and identify ways to improve the funds’ effectiveness. The Task Force's first findings will be submitted to the College of Commissioners by the end of the year. The Commission will keep the European Parliament and the Council informed about the Task Force’s findings on a regular basis.

The European Commission, meeting this afternoon in Strasbourg, approved the action items proposed by the three Commissioners following a discussion on the situation of Roma. In addition to setting up the Task Force, the Commission called on the Belgian Presidency of the European Council to hold a joint meeting of Justice and Social Affairs Ministers as soon as possible to identify a more targeted use of national and complementary EU funding to promote the social and economic integration of Roma. This Council meeting should be followed up by yearly meetings at ministerial level. The Commission will also organise regular meetings of high-level civil servants to review progress on Roma integration in all EU Member States.

The Commission called on future presidencies of the Council to address the priorities identified in the Roadmap agreed last June by the European Platform on Roma inclusion. In this context, the dialogue with representatives of the Roma community should be intensified.

Finally, the Commission will continue to monitor all Member States' measures taken with regard to Roma concerning EU law on free movement, non-discrimination and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Background

EU institutions have made available substantial funding under EU Funds to support and complement Member States' actions on Roma integration:

  • Of the 27 Member States, 12 Member States (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia) have support programmes in place targeting Roma (among other vulnerable groups) for a total budget of €17.5 billion (including €13.3 billion from the European Social Fund). This represents 27% of their total European Social Fund budget.

  • In May 2010, following a Commission proposal to change a Regulation, Member States can now use European Regional Development Funds to help vulnerable groups, such as Roma, in the field of housing.

The three Commissioners’ analysis followed a meeting with French and Romanian authorities on 31 August regarding the situation with the Roma community in France. A follow-up meeting at a technical level with French authorities was held on 3 September to clarify questions on free-movement issues. The Commission will continue to monitor the situation in France as well as in all other Member States. It stands ready to act as a broker between Member States and to monitor and assess progress being made on Roma integration.

For more information

Roma people living in the EU: Frequently asked questions – MEMO/10/383

Justice Directorate-General Newsroom:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/news/intro/news_intro_en.htm

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/reding/index_en.htm


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