The European Commission has called on Member States to deliver on their commitments to ensure equality and to do more to improve the economic and social integration of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma.
The call follows the Commission's progress report released today which shows that Member States need to do better in implementing their national Roma integration strategies submitted under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies.
The new report is accompanied by a proposal for a Recommendation addressed to EU countries which proposes to Member States on the one hand specific measures, including positive action, and on the other hand, horizontal policy measures, including local actions to improve the situation of Roma people. It focuses on the four areas where EU leaders signed up to common goals for Roma integration under the EU Framework: access to education, employment, healthcare and housing.
Member States would have two years to put concrete measures into practice to make a difference for Roma people on the ground.
"Roma inclusion measures must be implemented and monitored with the full involvement of civil society, including representatives of Roma communities themselves. They – together with National Roma Contact Points – must also be involved in the current planning of the use of EU funds for 2014-2020", said László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. "Member States – especially those with large Roma communities – must urgently and forcefully promote effective equal access for Roma to education and the labour market. The Commission has also proposed Country Specific Recommendations to the Member States most concerned. Providing equal opportunities to Roma will contribute to meeting the Europe 2020 targets in the fields of education, employment and poverty reduction."
The proposed Recommendation suggests Member States allocate sufficient funding to their national and local strategies and action plans for Roma inclusion from any available sources. This should be facilitated by allocating an adequate share of EU cohesion policy resources to investment into people through the European Social Fund, and allocating at least 20% of this amount in each Member State on social inclusion.
To enter into force, the proposal for a Council Recommendation will first need to be unanimously adopted by Member States in the Council and receive consent from the European Parliament.