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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

European Commission calls on Member States to implement national plans for Roma integration

Roma children with a teacher © EU

Today the European Commission has called on EU Member States to implement their national strategies to improve the economic and social integration of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma.

Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "It is a good first step that Member States have presented national Roma integration strategies. They now need to make sure that these strategies do not exist on paper only. We need tangible results that improve the lives of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma. The ball is in the court of national politicians."

Member States developed national plans for Roma integration in response to the Commission's EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies adopted on 5 April 2011 (see press release and FAQs) which was endorsed by EU leaders soon afterwards.

The EU Framework for national Roma strategies set out four key areas which Member States were asked to address: access to education, jobs, healthcare and housing. In June last year, for the first time, the heads of state and government of all 27 EU Member States committed to addressing these four policy areas. One year on they have now delivered national strategies to do just that. This shows the strong political will to tackle the challenges of Roma integration.

However, today's report shows that, whilst this is an important first step, much more needs to be done when it comes to securing sufficient funding for Roma inclusion, putting monitoring mechanisms in place and fighting discrimination and segregation.

"Member States now need to move up a gear and strengthen their efforts with more concrete measures, explicit targets, earmarked funding and sound monitoring and evaluation," said Vice-President Viviane Reding.