On 19 May, 2011, social affairs ministers adopted conclusions on EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020, inviting the member states to set up and implement goals in the fields of education, employment, healthcare and housing, so as to close the gaps between marginalised Roma communities and the general population.
The Conclusions set up that:
National Roma Inclusion strategies or integrated sets of policy measures are to be drawn up by the Member States (MS) and presented to the Commission by the end of 2011. MS are also invited to consider the need to advance the social and economic inclusion of Roma when designing, implementing and monitoring their National Reform Programmes in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy as well as all overall policy framework.
More specifically, MS should improve equal and non-discriminatory access to good quality services in the fields of education and healthcare, as well as access to housing and employment. Integrated action covering all four priority areas is needed and MS should pay special attention to the gender dimension and promote desegregation.
In order to do improve the situation, MS are invited to set achievable national goals, to identify the most disadvantaged micro-regions or segregated communities, to allocate sufficient funding from national budgets, to cooperate closely with Roma civil society and regional and local authorities, and to appoint national contact points.
In addition, together with the Commission, they are encouraged to make better use of the EU funds available for Roma integration projects, including simplifying delivery, strenghtening administrative capacities, and involving civil society and Roma communities themselves.
The inclusion of Roma is an urgent social priority, as about 8 million citizens of the EU are Roma. Many experience marginalisation, social exclusion, discrimination, segregation and extreme poverty. This often means limited access to quality education and jobs, low income levels, sub-standard housing conditions, insufficient access to quality services, poor health and nutrition, and lower life expectancy. It also means little participation in decision-making and social matters of their concern.
EPHA related articles