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First ever EU legal instrument for Roma inclusion adopted

09/12/2013 First ever EU legal instrument for Roma inclusion adopted

All 28 EU countries today committed to implementing a set of recommendations, proposed by the European Commission, to step up the economic and social integration of Roma communities.

The Council Recommendation was adopted unanimously by ministers meeting in the Council less than six months after the Commission’s proposal. It is the first ever EU-level legal instrument for Roma inclusion.

The Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the EU countries gives specific guidance to help EU countries strengthen and accelerate their efforts. It

  • recommends that EU countries take targeted action to bridge the gaps between the Roma and the rest of the population and
  • reinforces the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies agreed by all EU countries in 2011 by setting the conditions for an effective inclusion of Roma people in the EU countries.

Based on Commission reports on the situation of the Roma over recent years, the Recommendation focuses on the four areas where EU leaders signed up to common goals for Roma integration under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies: access to education, employment, healthcare and housing. To put in place the targeted actions, it asks EU countries to allocate not only EU but also national and third sector funds to Roma inclusion – a key factor identified by the Commission in its evaluation of EU countries' national strategies last year.

In addition, it gives guidance to EU countries on cross-cutting policies for Roma integration, such as:

  • ensuring that the strategies go local,
  • enforcing anti-discrimination rules,
  • following a social investment approach,
  • protecting Roma children and women,
  • addressing poverty.

Next steps

Although the Recommendation is not legally binding, EU countries are now expected to put concrete measures into practice to make a difference for Roma people on the ground. The Commission will report back on progress made by EU countries in spring 2014.