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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Roma integration: a European framework for guiding national policy

Roma © EU

The Commission today called for EU countries to set national strategies for Roma integration. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding and László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, put forward a European Framework to guide national policies and mobilise EU funds. "Member States have a joint responsibility to put an end to Roma exclusion.  This is a serious challenge", said Vice-President Reding.

Under the European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, Member States should cover, in proportion to the size of the Roma population, four crucial areas: access to education, housing, health and employment. Although these policy areas are primarily national or regional responsibilities, the EU has an important coordination role.

Europe's 10-12 million Roma continue to face discrimination, exclusion and the denial of their rights "despite some good intentions from national politicians," said Commissioner Reding. Initial reporting from the Roma Task Force in December 2010 found that funding is not being used effectively to tackle the social and economic problems of the EU's Roma population (MEMO/10/701). Following today's announcement, Member States will have to submit national Roma strategies by the end of 2011 and explain how they will contribute to achieving specific goals in the above four areas.

Integrating Roma, who represent a growing share of the working age population, can have both social and economic benefits. The World Bank said that some countries could achieve economic benefits of around €0.5 billion annually through improved productivity, lower welfare bills and higher tax receipts.