EPHA and Roma Health Network respond to consultation on national Roma strategic frameworks

EPHA and its Roma Health Network have continually been monitoring the developments in the EU Roma Strategic Framework. Feedback sent to the Roma Coordination Team at the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST) in December revealed a careful improvement in cooperation between the Commission and civil society, but also a reduction in direct engagement. 

Through the Network’s members, a review of Roma health civil society in the national Roma inclusion strategies – the so-called ‘National Roma Strategic Frameworks’ (NRSF) – was made possible. This input has been used to respond to the Commission’s consultation titled ‘National Roma strategic frameworks – assessing implementation.’ The main resulting messages are that EU Member States should 

  1. increase their focus on health in the NRSF, not instead of other sectoral focuses, but in addition to them;  
  2. reduce Roma health inequities by recognising and addressing antigypsyism in a more cross-cutting and cross-sectoral way in the strategies;  
  3. make it easier to attain medical cards/registration numbers without requiring identification documentation to improve access to essential services;  
  4. significantly increase engagement with Roma (health) civil society in the development of the NRSF and with the National Roma Contact Points, empowered through more easily accessible funding
  5. foster exchange between Roma and pro-Roma (health) civil society to ensure capacity building conscious to the needs of individual Roma communities. 

Accession country members are particularly concerned about the lack of transparency in the development of the NRSF, unclear definition of activities, the lack of clear indicators, use of incorrect terminology and an unclarity about who is responsible for their Roma inclusion strategy in general. 

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