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The European Commission's EU framework for national Roma integration strategies was endorsed at the highest political level. European leaders meeting in Brussels backed a plan to end the centuries-old exclusion of the continent's Roma minority.
Under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies, each of the EU's 27 countries will set out how they intend to improve the situation of the most vulnerable Roma communities living on their territory.
EU countries will have to address four key areas for better social and economic integration – education, employment, healthcare and housing – and set out measures proportionate to their Roma population.
EU funding and a strong legal framework to combat discrimination are available to support national efforts. Governments have until the end of 2011 to submit their national strategies. The European Commission will then assess the plans and report back next spring.