The 6th meeting of the European Platform for Roma Inclusion took place in November. EPHA pointed out that out of the four focus areas of the Roma inclusion strategy, health has received the least attention and been greatly disadvantaged.
The 6th meeting provided an opportunity for discussing the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies before Member States are expected to present their strategies to the Commission. In relation to this, some civil society representatives asked the European Commission to encourage Member States to consult with the Roma and other civil society organisations in this process, as frequently they are excluded from such developments.
EPHA commented on the fact that out of the four focus areas of the Roma inclusion, the health one has received the least attention and been greatly disadvantaged. Given the vast inequalities in the health outcomes of the Roma population, and a great divide in the socio-economic determinants of health faced by the group, health should be a top priority for the successful Roma inclusion. With improved health, also other areas (education, employment, culture and housing) will follow. In fact, they are all interlinked to a great extent.
The European Platform for Roma Inclusion brings together national governments, the EU, international organisations, Roma and other civil society representatives. Its aim is to stimulate cooperation and exchanges of experience between all stakeholders on successful Roma inclusion and integration policies and practices.
In order to make a real difference to the lives of Roma people, the European Commission has proposed an EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies. This initiative invites Member States to present national Roma integration strategies to the Commission by the end of December 2011. In May and June 2011, Member States agreed to commit to this process.
The question of the importance, accessibility and quality of early childhood services provided for Roma children and their families has been also discussed during the previous meetings of the Platform. As a result, the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union developed and promoted Preventing social exclusion through the Europe 2020 strategy: early childhood development and the inclusion of the Roma families.
At the last meeting of the Platform, another yet important dimension of the Roma Inclusion was raised - the territorial aspects of extreme poverty.
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