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National strategy for Roma integration

Among the main goals of Spain’s strategy are reducing absenteeism of Roma children from school and eradicating slums.

Council of Europe estimates: approximately 725,000 Roma live in Spain (1.57% of the population).

National Roma Integration Strategy

Spain’s National Roma Integration Strategy defines the roadmap for public policies in the area of the social inclusion of Roma. In laying down policies focused on the gradual elimination of poverty and social exclusion among marginalised Roma communities, in particular in the areas of education, employment, health and housing, the strategy recognises the importance of developing local action plans reflecting the needs of individual communities.

The strategy relies on consultation and co-operation with all stakeholders, including NGOs, the media, academia, and the Roma themselves. The lives of the Roma in Spain have improved over the last 40 years, and Spain’s strategy was conceived to strengthen the work done so far in national plans and policies handling education, employment, housing and healthcare. The strategy’s main goals include reducing school absenteeism and early dropouts, reducing job precariousness by improving professional qualifications, and eradicating of slums. The National Reform Programmepdf Choose translations of the previous link  (NRP) proposes a series of measures that directly contribute to the social inclusion of Roma.

National Roma contact point

Each Member State was invited to appoint a National Contact Point for the National Roma Integration Strategy with the authority to coordinate its development and implementation. In Spain it is the Ministry of Health, Social Services, General Directorate of Services for Family and Childhood.

Assessment of Spain’s strategy implementation

In Spring 2014, the Commission adopted its assessment on the progress made in the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies in the four key areas of education, employment, healthcare and housing, as well as in the fight against discrimination and the use of funding.

Promising practices

Education: Spain is setting up new mediation programmes to help reduce early school leaving and absenteeism (in primary education, the objective is to reduce it from 22.5% today to 15% by 2015 and to 10% by 2020).

Employment: Within the ESF Operational Programme on Fight Against Discrimination, the non-profit organisation Fundación Secretariado Gitano has been playing a key role in the social and labour integration of Roma people as an intermediate body of the programme. Implementation through a non-governmental organisation as an intermediate body has proven to be crucial for the efficient and effective management of EU funding, the strong, operational and long-term partnerships established with private companies, the flexibility and adaptation of the programme to new social needs and the implementation of social innovation projects. As regards the whole OP, the number of agreements with entities and organisations has grown to 1400 active agreements, including businesses with a demand for employees (71%), the public administrations (20%) and entities of the Third Sector (9%).  Spain aims to increase the employment rate amongst the Roma population from 44% (in 2011) to 50% in 2015 and 60% in 2020, setting a specific objective for the employment of Roma women. The programmes will promote necessary skills and simultaneously facilitate access to ordinary training programmes for obtaining employment.

Healthcare: Health mediators have proven to contribute to the improvement of health among the Roma population in Spain. The example of Navarra that has been working for many years has been chosen as a good practice by the WHO.