There is no doubt that Roma integration has risen up the EU agenda, as demonstrated by the activities of the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament. But [...] the gap has been widening between commitments at EU-level and delivery at national and local levels. Therefore, there is a growing desire and need to make the EU framework for Roma inclusion more effective.
Member States – especially those with large Roma communities – must urgently and forcefully promote effective equal access for Roma to quality inclusive education and to the labour market. Otherwise they will not close the gap between Roma and non-Roma and so fail to meet their Europe 2020 targets in the fields of education, employment and poverty reduction.
We cannot build a united Europe without people’s support. And that includes the social partners.
The Greek Government has acted throughout the crisis with great responsibility and awareness of the pan-European importance of its actions. I trust that the Greek people and their political representatives will continue their effort to get the economy running and to keep the society together. If the people and leaders of other European countries do the same, we can build a better future.
Closer cooperation between public employment services would help Member States anticipate and detect labour market problems earlier on, allowing for adequate action to be taken in good time.
Austerity may have been the necessary response for the short term — given the lack of a better design for the Economic and Monetary Union and in the absence of more solidarity — but it has made the crisis worse and it cannot represent the solution for the years to come.
It is now even more pressing to make sure that the most disadvantaged are not left behind. As the recent riots in Stockholm have shown, if we don't act to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged in our societies, the consequences can be far-reaching. Economic growth can only be sustainable if it is truly inclusive.