Roma: Commission calls on Member States to step up efforts on integration
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 the Commission's progress report which shows that Member States need to do better in implementing their national Roma integration strategies submitted under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies.
The new report is accompanied by a proposal for a Recommendation addressed to EU countries which proposes to Member States on the one hand specific measures, including positive action, and on the other hand, horizontal policy measures, including local actions to improve the situation of Roma people. Member States would have two years to put concrete measures into practice to make a difference for Roma people on the ground
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.
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.
Based on previous Communications, the proposed Recommendation focuses on the four areas where EU leaders signed up to common goals for Roma integration under the EU Framework: access to education, employment, healthcare and housing.
The findings will also feed into the European Semester process for economic policy coordination. In the May 2013 exercise, the Commission proposed country-specific recommendations (CSRs) for five Member States under the European Semester on issues related to Roma (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia).