Who are the Roma?
The Roma are Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Out of an estimated 10-12 million in total in Europe, some 6 million live in the EU, and most of them hold the citizenship of an EU country. Many Roma in the EU are victims of prejudice and social exclusion, despite the fact that EU countries have banned discrimination.
The term Roma encompasses diverse groups, including Roma, Gypsies, Travellers, Manouches, Ashkali, Sinti and Boyash. Roma is the term commonly used in EU policy documents and discussions.
EU Framwork for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020
The EU has long stressed the need for better Roma integration (see the 2010 communication on the economic and social integration of the Roma in Europe).
The European institutions and every EU country have a joint responsibility to improve the living conditions and integration of the Roma. In 2011, the European Commission called for national strategies for Roma integration.
The EU Framework for National Roma integration strategies centres around four key areas: education, employment, healthcare and housing.
Each country produced a Roma strategy that was assessed by the European Commission in 2012: National Roma integration strategies: a first step in the implementation of the EU Framework. In 2013, the European Council agreed on a recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in EU countries.
The Commission produces annual reports (until 2020), using information from each country, as well as from NGOs, international organisations and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency.
The 2013 assessment report focused on the structural improvements needed in each country.
The 2014 report looks at progress in all key areas. The 2015 Communication focuses on structural improvements and recommends aligning (revised) national Roma integration strategies with EU funding instruments.
The 2016 Communication assesses progress on the EU Framework. It also reviews, for the first time, Roma integration measures put in place in response to the Council recommendation.