The European Commission has adopted a new 10-year plan, including a proposal for a Council Recommendation, to support Roma in the EU. There are seven key areas of focus: equality, inclusion, participation, education, employment, health, and housing. For each area, the Commission has put forward new targets and recommendations for Member States on how to achieve them, both of which will serve as important tools to monitor progress and ensure that the EU makes more headway in providing the vital support that so many Roma living in the EU still need.
Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, said: “Simply put, over the last ten years we have not done enough to support the Roma population in the EU. This is inexcusable. Many continue to face discrimination and racism. We cannot accept it. Today we are relaunching our efforts to correct this situation, with clear targets and a renewed commitment to achieve real change over the next decade.”
Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, said: “For the European Union to become a true Union of Equality we need to ensure that millions of Roma are treated equally, socially included and able to participle in social and political life without exception. With the targets that we have laid out in the Strategic Framework today, we expect to make real progress by 2030 towards a Europe in which Roma are celebrated as part of our Union’s diversity, take part in our societies and have all the opportunities to fully contribute to and benefit from political, social and economic life in the EU.”
While the aim is full equality, the Commission has proposed minimum targets for 2030, building on progress made under the previous framework. These include:
- Cutting the proportion of Roma with experience of discrimination by at least half;
- Doubling the proportion of Roma filing a report when experiencing discrimination;
- Reducing the poverty gap between Roma and general population by at least half;
- Cutting the gap in participation in early childhood education by at least half;
- Cutting the proportion of Roma children who attend segregated primary schools by at least half in Member States with a significant Roma population;
- Cutting the employment gap and the gender employment gap by at least half;
- Cutting the gap in life expectancy by at least half;
- Reducing the gap in housing deprivation by at least one third;
- Ensuring that at least 95% of Roma have access to tap water.
To achieve these targets, it is crucial that Member States put in place the right policies. The Commission is providing guidance for Member States and has set out a list of measures to be taken by Member States in order to speed up progress towards Roma equality, inclusion and participation. The guidance and measures range from developing support systems for Roma victims of discrimination, to awareness raising campaigns in schools, supporting financial literacy, promoting the employment of Roma in public institutions, and improving access to quality medical check-ups, screening, and family planning for Roma women.
The Commission is calling on Member States to submit national strategies by September 2021 and report on their implementation every two years. The Commission will monitor progress towards the 2030 targets, drawing on input from surveys carried out by the European Fundamental Rights Agency and input from civil society. There will also be an in-depth mid-term evaluation of the new 10-year plan in its entirety.
Although some improvements have been made in the EU – predominantly in the area of education – Europe still has a long way to go to achieve real equality for Roma. Marginalisation persists, and many Roma continue to face a combination of disproportionate discrimination, antigypsyism and socioeconomic exclusion in their daily lives.
The new EU Roma Strategic Framework is the first direct contribution to the implementation of the EU Action Plan against racism 2020-2025, and part of President von der Leyen‘s commitment to a Union of Equality.
The new EU Roma Strategic Framework for equality, inclusion and participation builds upon the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. It ties in with the work of the Commission in other areas, including the recently adopted EU Action Plan against racism 2020-2025, the Victims’ Rights Strategy, and the Gender Equality Strategy.
Many of the policy areas linked to improving Roma equality, inclusion and participation are primarily national responsibilities. However, the EU has an important role in providing policy guidance, coordinating actions by Member States, monitoring implementation and progress, providing support via EU funds, and promoting the exchange of good practices between Member States.