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Roma integration: national representatives discuss progress and pool ideas

European Commission - MEMO/14/107   13/02/2014

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 13 February 2014

Roma integration: national representatives discuss progress and pool ideas

Two months after the adoption of a set of recommendations by EU Member States to step up the economic and social integration of Roma communities (see IP/13/1226, and IP/13/607, MEMO/13/610), a network of coordinators responsible for overseeing the national Roma integration strategies from all 28 EU countries is meeting today and tomorrow in Brussels to discuss progress and challenges ahead. This 4th meeting of the national Roma contact points network will focus on how to better implement integration measures locally. The national contact points will also discuss with the national equality bodies how to effectively address discrimination towards Roma in each Member State. The European Commission will publish its progress report on the national Roma integration strategies in April 2014 ­ in time for a Roma Summit with national governments, Roma representatives, civil society and the European institutions which will take place on 4 April 2014. This will be the moment to take stock of Member States' efforts to deliver on their Rome integration pledges.

Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner said: "EU action has succeeded in placing Roma inclusion high on the political agenda, both at EU and national level. We now need to see concrete results. After the unanimous adoption of the first ever legal instrument on Roma at the end of 2013, the European Commission called on all Member States to put words into action. We cannot remain idle as entire communities of people are marginalised from society and the economy. Today's meeting is a good opportunity for those who have their eyes and ears on the ground to discuss amongst each other and with equality bodies how to make national actions more effective, and how to improve the integration of Roma across Europe."

The unanimously adopted Council Recommendation of December 2013, requires EU Member States to step up their efforts to better integrate Roma communities, and gives specific guidance to help strengthen and accelerate their efforts. It recommends that Member States should take targeted action to bridge the gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population.

Based on Commission reports on the situation of the Roma over recent years, the Recommendation focuses on the four areas where EU leaders signed up to common goals for Roma integration under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies (IP/11/789): access to education, employment, healthcare and housing. To put in place the targeted actions, it asks Member States to allocate not only EU but also national and third sector funds to Roma inclusion – a key factor identified by the Commission in its evaluation of Member States' national strategies last year (IP/12/499).

Background

The national 'Roma contact points' were set up following the EU's adoption of common objectives for Roma integration in 2011 (see IP/11/400, MEMO/11/216). The contact points are responsible for coordinating national efforts to improve the situation for Europe's largest ethnic minority, for following up on the progress made under the national Roma integration strategy and reporting to the European Commission.

Roma integration is not only a moral duty, but is also in the interest of each and every Member State, especially for those with large Roma communities. In some Member States, Roma represent a significant and growing proportion of school students and the future workforce. Efficient labour activation policies and targeted and accessible support services for Roma job seekers are crucial, in order to allow Roma people to actively and equally participate in the economy and society.

In its 2013 report, the European Commission called on EU Member States to improve the economic and social integration of Roma in Europe. 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).

EU structural funds are available to Member States to finance social integration projects, including for improving Roma integration in fields such as 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 aims is to secure the appropriate financial resources for Roma integration.

Member States are responsible for managing these funds, including selecting specific projects. Much of the funding goes to projects aimed at socially excluded groups more generally and is not necessarily only meant for Roma communities. In order to ensure more effective and targeted projects, the Commission has asked Member States to involve their national Roma contact points in the planning of funds deployment for the Roma, and to also involve local and regional authorities.

For more information

European Commission – Roma:

http://ec.europa.eu/roma

The Commission’s 2013 Progress report on Roma:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/files/com_2013_454_en.pdf

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

http://ec.europa.eu/reding

Follow the Vice-President on Twitter: @VivianeRedingEU

Follow EU Justice on Twitter: @EU_Justice

ANNEX 1

Agenda - 13th February 2014

14.30 -15.00 Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States – presentation by the Commission

15.00 -15.30 Assessment of progress in the Member States on Roma integration – presentation of preliminary feed-backs by the Commission

15.30-17.00 Going local: Commission's 2014 priority for Roma integration – presentation by the Commission:

  • Roma summit 4th April 2014

  • Information on EU funding for local and regional authorities

  • Evaluation of local authorities' needs of support on Roma integration

  • MATRIX and ROMACT projects

17.00 – 17.30 How to make the most out of the CAHROM experience – presentation by a NRCP who is member of CAHROM of latest developments in CAHROM

17.30 Conclusions

Agenda - 14th February 2014

9.30 - 10.00 Involving Equality bodies in the development and implementation of Roma integration policies

Introductory remarks from:

  • Ms. Lina PAPAMICHALOPOULOU, European Commission

  • Ms. Anne GASPARD, European Network of Equality Bodies

Open floor

10.00-11.00 Supporting Roma who are victims of discrimination - Presentation of good practices by Equality bodies, discussion on challenges and ways forward in connection with the NRCPs

Introductory remarks and examples from:

  • Ms. Pia LINDHOLM, European Commission

  • Mr. Dominique BAUDIS, Défenseur des droits, France

  • Mr. Istvan HALLER, National Council to Combat Discrimination, Romania

Open floor

11.30-12.30 Raising awareness – Presentation of good practices by Equality bodies, discussion on challenges and ways forward in connection with the NRCPs

Introductory remarks and examples from:

  • Mr. Andrey IVANOV, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

  • Ms. Kerstin JANSSON, Equality Ombudsman, Sweden

Open floor

12.30 Conclusions

ANNEX 2

List of participants

Organisation

Austria: Bundeskanzleramt Österreich, National Roma Contact Point, Vienna

Austria: Ombudsman for Equal Treatment, Vienna

Belgium: Centre pour l'égalité des chances et la lutte contre le racisme, Service de deuxième ligne - Département Discrimination

Belgium: PPS Social Integration, Brussels

Bulgaria: Bulgarian Commission for protection against Discrimination, Sofia

Bulgaria: Secretariat of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues at the Council of Ministries, Sofia

Croatia: Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities, Zagreb

Croatia: Ombudsman Office of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb

Czech Republic: European Co-ordination Department, Office of the Government of the Czech Republic

Denmark: Law and International, Ministry of Social Affairs, Children and Integration

Estonia: Department of Cultural Diversity, Ministry of Culture, Talinn

European Commission

Finland: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

Finland: Office of the Ombudsman for Minorities, Helsinki

France: Cabinet du préfet délégué interministériel

France: Défendeur des droits de la République Française, France, Paris

France: Equinet

France: Le prefet, délégué interministériel pour l'hébergement et l'accès au logement des personnes sans abri ou mal logées (DIHAL)

France: Secrétariat général aux affaires européennes

Fundamental Rights Agency

Germany: Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, BERLIN

Germany: Federal Ministry of the Interior of the Federal Republic Germany
Division M II 4 - National minorities and regional languages in Germany; European policy on minorities, Bonn, Germany

Greece: EKKA=National Centre for Social Solidarity, Athens

Greece: Human Rights Department, Greek Ombudsman, Athens

Greece: Ministry of Labour Social Insurance and Welfare, Athens

Hungary: State Secretariat for Social Inclusion, Ministry of Human Resources

Ireland: The Equality Authority, Dublin

Ireland: Traveller Policy Division, Department of Justice and Equality

Italy: General Direction of the National office against racial discriminations (UNAR), Rome

Latvia: Department of Society Integration Affairs of the Ministry of Culture, Riga

Latvia: Equal Treatment Division, Ombudsman Office of the Republic of Latvia, Riga

Lithuania: Division of national minority issues, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania

Luxembourg: Ministère de la Famille et de l'Intégration

Malta: Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties, Valetta

Netherlands: National contact Point Roma, Ministry Of Social Affairs and employment

Poland: Office of Plenipotent of Government for Equal Treatment, Chancellery of Prime Minister, Republic of Poland, Warsaw

Poland: Roma Minority Division, Department of Denominations and National and Ethnic Minorities, Ministry of Administration and Digitization

Portugal: Commission for Equality and Against Discrimination (CICDR)

Portugal: High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue

Romania: ”Honorific Councillor” of the Romanian Prim-minister, in charge with Roma issues, Bucharest

Romania: National Council to Combat Discrimination

Slovakia: Office of Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Government for Roma Communities, Ministry of Interior

Slovakia: Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, Bratislava

Slovenia: Government of the Republic of Slovenia, Office for National Minorities

Spain: Equal Treatment and Non – Discrimination, General Directorate for Equal Opportunities, Ministry de Health, Social Services and Equality, Madrid

Spain: Services Family and Children (General Secretary for Social Services and Equality – Ministry for Health, Social Services and Equality

Sweden: Ministry of Employment, Division for Discrimination Issues, Stockholm

Sweden: The Equality Ombudsman, Stockholm

UK: Gypsy, Traveller & International Team, Integration Division, Department for Communities and Local Government


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