Plan to improve Roma peoples' access to education, the jobs market, healthcare and housing.
‘Roma' is an umbrella term for the variety of Romani groups who might describe themselves as Roma, Gypsies, Manouches, Ashkali or Sinti. With a population of some 11 million, they are Europe's largest ethnic minority. There are Roma communities in almost all EU countries.
Roma in Europe face greater hardship than the rest of the population. Many lack the education they need to find jobs. They often have shorter lives and reside in poor-quality housing.
The EU framework for national Roma integration strategies sets EU-wide targets to raise Roma peoples' quality of life, bridging the socioeconomic gaps that can separate them from mainstream society. The targets are:
EU countries will be required to devise their own national Roma strategies by the end of this year using these guidelines.
The plan also proposes ways to improve the use of available EU funding to better target Roma needs. Today, most member countries do not put the money granted by the EU to good enough use by supporting Roma-focused projects.
Making sure Roma have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else is important for their integration, and for the social cohesion of society. It also promises economic benefits. With the right skills to find work, Roma will be able contribute to economic productivity - cutting state benefit payments and increasing income tax revenue.
The Commission will monitor the progress of national Roma integration strategies, notably through the EU agency for fundamental rights, and report back to the Parliament and the Council each year.