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National strategy for Roma integration

Croatia sees the involvement of the Roma as crucial in setting up all the projects.

Council of Europe estimates: approximately 30-40,000 Roma live in Croatia (1% of the population).
For data on the situation on Roma in this country, please see the overview published by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights.

National Roma Integration Strategy

Croatia’s comprehensive national strategy is based on long-standing experience of Roma inclusion issues under the National Roma Programmepdf (Decade of Roma inclusion 2005-2015. This includes the need for better vertical co-operation, as well as improved co-ordination between departments and stakeholders. The strategy addresses the four key areas of education, employment, healthcare and housing, as well as citizenship rights, poverty and social welfare.

National contact point

Each Member State was invited to appoint a National Contact Point for the National Roma Integration Strategy, with the authority to co-ordinate its development and implementation. In Croatia it is the Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities.

Assessment of Croatia’s strategy implementation

Croatia joined the European Union in July 2013. The Commission is assessing its national Roma integration strategy for the first time in 2014, using the same criteria it used  for Member States in 2012.

Promising practices

Including the Roma in education, employment and housing

Mursko Središče is a small town in Medjimurje County in northern Croatia, bordering Hungary. The majority of inhabitants are ethnic Croats, while some 460 (15%) have identified themselves as Roma. Some 400 Roma live in the Sitnica locality and another 60 in Hlapičina.

Mursko Središče has chosen three long-term priorities in terms of Roma inclusion: education, employment and housing. The most successful efforts have been in pre-school and primary education. Work towards the full inclusion of Roma children in regular kindergartens began in 2007, with funding and expertise from the Roma Education Fund. Gradually all costs were integrated into the municipal and national budgets, allowing all Roma children of pre-school age to attend a regular kindergarten. In turn, this has contributed to an approximately 98% enrolment rate of Roma children in primary school. These good practices include educating kindergarten teachers about innovative teaching methods, after-school mentoring, introducing Roma teaching assistants in the classrooms, and free transport to primary school. Roma parents have participated as volunteers in the school programmes. Annually, €25,000 is allocated to the pre-school programme from the municipal budget.