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Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship

Roma Integration: Commission calls on Member States to deliver on their commitments

Roma kids

The European Commission has called on Member States 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 on the implementation of Member States' national Roma integration strategies, which is also accompanied by a proposal for a Recommendation, setting out a series of specific policy recommendations to help guide Member States in effectively implementing their strategies.

Today’s Roma progress report finds that a majority of Member States have still not allocated sufficient resources from their national budgets to implement their strategies. Despite Member States repeated commitments to tackle Roma integration head on, progress remains the exception rather than the rule.

Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "The moment of truth has come: if Member States are serious about their national strategies, they need to deliver actions beyond paper."

To help Member States accelerate efforts the Commission has proposed a Council Recommendation. This is the first EU legal instrument for Roma inclusion and recommends Member States take positive action to bridge the gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population. The Recommendation asks Member States to earmark funds for Roma inclusion. And it offers specific guidance on how Member States can use positive action in each of these four areas to protect Roma children and women, address poverty and fight discrimination. This will now have to be adopted unanimously by the Council, and the European Parliament will have to give its consent.

Today's action follows up on the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies agreed by all Member States in 2011. Under the framework, every Member State adopted a strategy for Roma integration focusing on the four key areas: access to education, employment, healthcare and housing.