Member States continue to make progress in Roma integration, but further efforts are necessary. This is the conclusion of an annual Commission report adopted today.
Frans Timmermans, Vice-President for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights said: "Equal treatment and fundamental rights are at the very heart of the European project. Roma have faced a long history of exclusion. In Europe, no one must face discrimination on account of their ethnic or racial origin. It is time we step up our efforts to fight anti-Gypsyism, and promote the full inclusion of Roma."
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility said: "The European Commission actively supports Member States' efforts to promote the integration of vulnerable groups, including Roma. We have made more than €90 billion available to promote social inclusion and fight discrimination from 2014 to 2020. I urge all Member States to act at national, regional and local levels to make full and efficient use of the funds and help the Roma community gain better access to jobs, education, housing and healthcare."
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "Roma inclusion is a key political priority for the EU. Roma continue to be discriminated against and marginalised from society. This year’s report shows that Member States are starting to move in the right direction. However, we need more concrete results - especially at local level. Member States have to fight discrimination of Roma more actively and focus on elimination of hate crime and harmful stereotypes. We want to see Roma being treated equally, in schools, at their workplace, in housing and healthcare, just like other EU citizens."
Since the European Commission put Roma integration on the European political agenda in 2011, progress has been achieved in the following areas:
- More funding dedicated to Roma integration: Member States have strengthened the financial support for the most disadvantaged groups, including Roma, for the 2014-2020 period. National, regional and local authorities can make use of over €90 billion available in the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund to build human capital, promote social inclusion and fight poverty. One of the priorities in this area is the integration of marginalised communities such as Roma.
- Closer cooperation with civil society and local authorities: Several Member states have established coordination structures for Roma integration, involving diverse stakeholders. National strategies are increasingly translated into local action plans, and the National Roma Contact Points are more closely involved in making the best use of EU funds.
- Monitoring results on the ground: Many Member States have improved monitoring and reporting mechanisms at national and European level.
There are however many worrying developments that require further action from Member States:
- Fighting against discrimination: There is a worrying rise in anti-Gypsyism, hate speech and hate crime. The Commission has stepped up its efforts to ensure correct implementation of anti-discrimination legislation towards Roma, including at local level. The Commission urges Member States to demonstrate greater political will and a long-term vision to combat discrimination of Roma people.
- More cooperation with civil society and local authorities is needed: Although many Member States have developed coordinated structures involving stakeholders, these now need to become more effective, and need to ensure that all relevant actors are involved. The Commission will support Member States in developing national platforms for Roma inclusion.
The Commission calls on Member States to build upon these first steps by setting up national Roma platforms, stepping up efforts to fight against discrimination and segregation, and scaling up successful and proven practices.
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