Brussels, 28 March 2014
Roma integration: EU Roma Summit to evaluate progress
Local, national and EU politicians and leaders will gather with civil society in Brussels on 4 April to discuss progress on Roma integration across Europe. This will be the first EU Roma Summit since the Commission put in place an EU framework for national Roma integration strategies in 2011 (IP/11/400). The aim is to take stock of how the national Roma strategies submitted by Member States on an annual basis as a result of the EU Framework, are being implemented and if they are improving the life of Roma communities on the ground. Speakers will include European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, the President of Romania Traian Băsescu, Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria Zinaida Zlatanova and Ministers and State secretaries from nine other EU Member States (see Annex). Non-government speakers include George Soros, Chairman of the Open Society Foundations and Zoni Weisz, survivor from the Roma holocaust. The event is open to journalists, who can register to attend by emailing Joshua.Salsby@ec.europa.eu.
"Since 2010, the European Commission has put Roma integration firmly on the political map. When I look back to the Cordoba Roma Summit just four years ago, the topic of Roma integration was not on the radar of most Member States. With the upcoming Brussels Roma Summit attended by national politicians from many Member States, we see that a wind of change is blowing. This is encouraging," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "The EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies was a landmark achievement in gaining commitments from national governments at the highest level to work towards improving Roma integration. I look forward to fruitful discussions about the most effective ways of going local with Roma inclusion and making a difference on the ground. I am convinced that together we can trigger changes for Europe's largest ethnic minority.”
"Member States must act to improve the daily lives of Europe's Roma communities in terms of education, employment, healthcare and housing," said László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. "The Commission will continue to closely monitor Member States' concrete actions and work with them to ensure the best use of EU money available over the next seven years to reach this objective. This summit is a good opportunity to discuss with many of those directly involved in efforts to make a real difference to Roma communities, in particular on making sure that the necessary funding reaches the local level."
The third ever EU-level Roma Summit coincides with the European Commission’s 2014 assessment of progress in implementing the National Roma Integration Strategies. It is the most significant report following the EU Framework so far, presenting progress in the Member States since 2011. It will assess the situation in the 28 Member States in the key areas of education, employment, healthcare and housing, as well as in the fight against discrimination and the use of funding and put forward recommendations. The findings will also feed into the annual European Semester process for economic policy coordination which can result in the EU issuing Roma-relevant country specific recommendations. This annual cycle helps to ensure that Roma integration remains firmly and continuously on the European agenda.
The EU Roma Summit will be held in Brussels on 4 April 2014 (see draft Agenda in the Annex). Around 500 representatives of EU institutions, national governments and parliaments, international organisations, civil society (including Roma organisations) and local and regional authorities will express their views on what has been achieved so far and how to further improve Roma integration in the future.
This year’s summit will focus on three challenges for improving Roma integration at local level: ensuring that policies are inclusive for all Roma at the local level; helping EU funding reach local and regional authorities to support Roma integration; and making Roma integration a local reality in enlargement countries. A number of mayors from several Member States and candidate countries will take part in the Summit (see list of participants in the Annex).
The event will also be streamed live online.
Roma integration is more than a societal inclusion duty. It also has a positive economic impact in particular in those Member States with a large Roma minority. Roma represent a significant and growing proportion of the school age population and the future workforce in many countries. Efficient labour activation policies and individualised and accessible support services for Roma job seekers are crucial to allow Roma people realise their human capital and to actively and equally participate in the economy and society.
The social inclusion and integration of Roma communities is a joint responsibility of Member States and the European Union. The Commission monitors the progress made by Member States through the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies.
The Commission regularly brings together a network of coordinators responsible for overseeing the national Roma integration strategies from all 28 EU countries to discuss progress and challenges ahead (MEMO/14/107). Roma summits are organised to take stock of the achievements undertaken at EU level for Roma inclusion and to renew commitments.
In its 2013 report, the European Commission called on EU Member States to implement their national strategies to improve the economic and social integration of Roma in Europe (IP/13/607). Member States developed these plans in response to the Commission's EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies, adopted on 5 April 2011 (see IP/11/400, MEMO/11/216) which was endorsed by EU leaders in June 2011 (IP/11/789). In December 2013 Member States also unanimously adopted the first ever legal instrument on Roma integration, a Council Recommendation, thereby committing to step up the economic and social integration of Roma communities (IP/13/1226).
The Commission will continue to assess Member States' progress on Roma integration, notably in countries with sizeable Roma populations, within the framework of the 2014 European Semester. In 2013 five Member States received country-specific recommendations on the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies and on mainstreaming Roma-specific measures (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia).
EU funds are available to Member States to finance social integration projects, including for improving Roma integration in education, employment, housing and health. Around €26.5 billion was made available for social inclusion projects as a whole over from 2007-2013. Under the new financial period 2014-2020, Member States must earmark at least 20% of their European Social Fund allocation to social inclusion. The aim is to secure the appropriate financial resources for Roma integration. Member States are responsible for managing these funds, including selecting specific projects.
The 2014 Roma Summit will be an opportunity to confirm the political commitment of all Member States and civil society and to pursue the path initiated with the EU Framework.
For more information
2014 Roma Summit – programme and background information:
European Commission – EU & Roma:
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:
Homepage of László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion:
Follow Vice-President Reding and Commisoisner Andor on Twitter:
Follow EU Justice on Twitter: @EU_Justice
Annex 1: Draft programme European Roma Summit, 4th April 2014
8.45 – 10.15 Opening
Chair: Françoise Le Bail, Director General for Justice, European Commission
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission
Traian Băsescu, President of Romania
Zoni Weisz, Roma Holocaust survivor
Viviane Reding, Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, European Commission
Ioannis Michelakis, Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Roma Issues, for the Greek presidency of the Council of the EU
László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
10.15 – 10.30 Coffee break / Video-message from Livia Jaroka, Member of the European Parliament
10.30 - 12.30 Panel 1 - Making policies inclusive for all Roma at the local level
Moderator: Edit Bauer, Member of the European Parliament
Viviane Reding, Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
Zinaida Zlatanova, Deputy Prime Minister, Bulgaria
Zoltán Balog, Minister for Human Resources, Hungary
Jiří Dienstbier, Minister for Human Rights and Equal Opportunities, Czech Republic
Pekka Haavisto, Minister for International Development, Finland
Damian Draghici, Senator and National Roma Contact Point, Romania
Nicoleta Bitu, Executive Director of Romano ButiQ Association
Olguta Vasilescu, Mayor of Craiova, Romania
Barbara Loth, Undersecretary of State for Labour, Integration and Women, Berlin, Germany
Debate - Questions and answers
13.00 – 14.00 Press Conference with Vice-President Viviane Reding and Commissioner László Andor
14.00 – 16.00 Panel 2 - Making EU funding reach the local and regional authorities to support Roma integration
Moderator: Kinga Göncz, Member of the European Parliament
László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Jan-Ove Jerrestål, Secretary of State for Integration, Ministry of Employment, Sweden
Peter Pollák, Member of the Slovak Parliament, Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for Roma communities
Klára Orgovánová, Director of the Roma Institute, Slovak Republic
Tsonko Tsonev, Mayor of Kavarna, Bulgaria
Maria Winberg-Nordström, Deputy Mayor of Helsingborg Municipality, Sweden
Morten Kjaerum, Director, European Agency for Fundamental Rights
Debate - Questions and answers
16.05 – 16.15 Coffee break / Video-message from Livia Jaroka, Member of the European Parliament
16.15 - 18.00 Panel 3 – Making Roma integration a local reality in enlargement countries
Moderator: Janez Lenarčič, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
George Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management and of Open Society Foundations
Suad Numanović, Minister for Human and Minority Rights Protection, Montenegro
Nezdet Mustafa, Minister without portfolio, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General for Democracy of the Council of Europe
Nemanja Delič, Mayor of Sombor, Serbia
Snezana Markovic, Director General for Democracy, Council of Europe
Elmas Arus, Chair of Zero Discrimination Association, Turkey
Christian Danielsson, Director General for Enlargement, European Commission
Debate - Questions and answers
Chair: Michel Servoz, Director General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, European Commission
Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health, European Commission
Jens Geier, Member of the European Parliament
Martina Balogova, Country Association of Roma Initiatives, Slovakia
Stefano Sannino, Ambassador, Permanent Representation of Italy to the European
Union, for the forthcoming Italian presidency of the Council of the EU
Annex 2: Key participants