The European Commission has called on Member States to deliver on their commitments to ensure equality and to do more to improve the economic and social integration of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma.
The call follows a progress report released today, accompanied by a proposal for a Recommendation to EU countries.
Today’s Roma progress report finds that while many Member States have set up mechanisms to better coordinate their Roma integration efforts and bolster dialogue with local and regional authorities, there is room for improvement in involving civil society organisations and putting in place sound monitoring and evaluation methods to measure results.
The report also finds that a majority of Member States have not allocated sufficient resources from their national budgets to implement the strategies. In addition, public authorities should do more to fight discrimination and explain the social and economic benefits of Roma integration.
Despite criticism, the report also draws attention to a series of examples of good practice from Member States.
The Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation is the first EU legal instrument for Roma inclusion.
The proposal would recommend Member States to take positive action to bridge the gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population. It reinforces the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies agreed by all Member States in 2011 by setting the conditions for an effective inclusion of Roma people in the Member States.
The proposed Recommendation focuses on the four areas where EU leaders signed up to common goals for Roma integration under the EU Framework:
The proposed Recommendation suggests Member States allocate sufficient funding to their national and local strategies and action plans for Roma inclusion from any available sources. This should be facilitated by allocating an adequate share of EU cohesion policy resources to investment into people through the European Social Fund, and allocating at least 20% of this amount in each Member State on social inclusion.
To enter into force, the proposal for a Council Recommendation will first need to be unanimously adopted by Member States in the Council and receive consent from the European Parliament.