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Roma integration: EU Roma Summit to evaluate progress

European Commission - IP/14/317   28/03/2014

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European Commission

Press release

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.

Background

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:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/events/roma-summit-2014/index_en.htm

European Commission – EU & Roma:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/roma/index_en.htm

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

http://ec.europa.eu/reding

Homepage of László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion:

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

Follow Vice-President Reding and Commisoisner Andor on Twitter:

@VivianeRedingEU @LaszloAndorEU

Follow EU Justice on Twitter: @EU_Justice

Contacts :

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)

Natasha Bertaud (+32 2 296 74 56)

Jonathan Todd (+32 2 299 41 07)

Cécile Dubois (+32 2 295 18 83)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e­mail

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

18.00 Closing

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

BARROSO

José Manuel

President

REDING

Viviane

Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

ANDOR

László

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

VASSILIOU

Androulla

Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth

BORG

Tonio

Commissioner for Health

BAUER

Edit

Member of the European Parliament

GEIER

Jens

Member of the European Parliament

GÖNCZ

Kinga

Member of the European Parliament

LOCHBIHLER

Barbara

Member of the European Parliament

BĂSESCU

Traian

President

Romania

ZLATANOVA

Zinaida

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice

Bulgaria

PLUMB

Rovana

Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion

Romania

BALOG

Zoltán

Minister for Human Resources

Hungary

DIENSTBIER

Jiří

Minister for Human Rights and Equal Opportunities

Czech Republic

HAAVISTO

Pekka

Minister for International Development

Finland

KOLS

Rihards

Minister of Culture

Latvia

MICHELAKIS

Giannis

Minister for Interior

Greece

TRUSEVIČ

Edvard

Deputy Minister of Culture

Lithuania

KOVACS

Zoltan

State Secretary for Social Inclusion

Hungary

SALON

Marián

State Secretary for Ministry of Interior

Slovak Republic

JERRESTÅL

Jan-Ove

State Secretary in the Ministry of Integration

Sweden

NUMANOVIĆ

Suad

Minister of Human Rights and Minorities

Montenegro

DRAGICEVIC

Miladin

Vice Minister, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees

Bosnia and Herzegovina

NEZHDET

Mustafa

Minister without portfolio

Former Yugloslav Republic of Macedonia

MARTINOVIC

Zoran

State Secretary for Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy

Serbia

KOSPIRI

Bardhylka

Deputy Minister of Social Welfare and Youth

Albania

SANNINO

Stefano

Ambassador, Permanent Representation of Italy to the European

Italy

DRAGHICI

Damian

Senator, Honorific Councilor of the Romanian Prime-Minister, in charge of Roma issues

Romania

POLLÁK

Peter

Plenipotentiary for Roma Communities, Ministry of Interior

Slovak Republic

SOROS

George

Chairman of Soros Fund Management and Open Society Foundations

WEISZ

Zoni

Holocaust survivor


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