ROMA-NeT: Integrating the EU’s Roma communities
The project is helping to combat high levels of social exclusion and poverty among the EU’s Roma people by sharing best practices in an interregional network.
" ROMA-NeT started at a crucial moment when inclusion of Roma populations and other excluded groups got higher attention on the EU agenda and the URBACT methodology is an excellent tool to support cities in preparing integrated action plans. We are now better prepared and more motivated to work towards our goals. "
Despite efforts at local, national and European levels, Roma populations continue to face high levels of social exclusion and poverty around the EU. In particular, Roma people often have difficulties accessing employment, education, health and social services. This often leads to high rates of illiteracy and poor school attendance among Roma children.
Moreover, Roma people often live in segregated and isolated districts. Extreme overcrowding and a lack of basic facilities aggravate their poor health condition.
The interregional ROMA-NeT project was devised to tackle these problems in ten cities and urban areas in seven EU countries (Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Slovakia).
Sharing best practice
The project aimed to share expertise and to spread good practice, to improve local Roma inclusion policies and to strengthen community cohesion between Roma and neighbouring communities. These aims were achieved by informing and supporting city partners to develop local action plans to support the social inclusion of Roma. Local support groups, made up of key local stakeholders, were set up in each city and they were responsible for the creation of the local action plans.
A concrete example of the project’s work was the introduction of smaller class size in a primary school in the Torrente district of Valencia where 95 % of pupils are of Roma origin. Two additional social workers were brought into the school to help improve the performance and integration of Roma schoolchildren.
Another example comes from Glasgow where employment and training programmes were developed to include local Roma. The projects offered pre-employment support and on the job training and employment to local Roma people living in the Govanhill area of Glasgow.
The ROMA-NeT project is part of the interregional URBACT Programme, which is jointly financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund and EU Member States. URBACT is a European exchange and learning programme promoting sustainable urban development.
Pilot Network of Roma-NeT partners
Six Roma-NeT partners (Almería, Bologna, Budapest, Glasgow, Nagykálló, Torrent) have been selected as a pilot network to focus on the delivery of Local Action Plans. This delivery phase will continue the participatory approach working with key local stakeholders, especially Roma communities, as they move forward with local delivery of the Roma inclusion actions to improve access to education, health, housing, services and to stimulate employment opportunities for working age Roma. They will use transnational exchange to build local, national and European policy influencing capacity and to strengthen local implementation management and monitoring structures. The project will be implemented between December 2013 and March 2015.
Total investment and EU funding
The “ROMA-NeT” project had a total eligible cost of EUR 622 918, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 459 549 through the URBACT II European Territorial Co-operation Programme 2007-2013. The project was implemented between November 2009 and January 2013.