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European Roma Policy October1 2


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European Roma Policy October1 2

  1. 1. Towards an European Policy for Roma Inclusion An European focused approach to integration of Roma
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>The abysmal situation of Roma is largely acknowledged by NGOs, the European Union, Member States and International Inter-Governmental Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Roma is considered the “most complex issue related to social inclusion” still the European Union lacks a policy on Roma </li></ul><ul><li>There is an acknowledged failure of the EU “mainstreaming” approach to Roma integration ( lack of results, increasing anti-Gypsyism) </li></ul><ul><li>In the last year four Prime Ministers have called for a European Roma Policy (Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Italy) complementing similar calls from Finland, Slovakia and Greece. </li></ul><ul><li>5 Decade Countries are EU Member States, in this context the Decade of Roma Inclusion can provide the framework for advancing proposals for an EU Roma Policy (Enhanced Cooperation) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Advancement of an EU Roma policy is in the interest of Decade Countries, Potential effects: <ul><li>New Member States and Candidate Countries could play a visible role in promoting EU values and ensure their own political “niche” at the EU level . </li></ul><ul><li>Providing much needed support for a mechanism able to overcome the existing double standards among “old” and “new” Member States (balancing the discrepancies among states monitored for respecting the Copenhagen criteria and EU member states) </li></ul><ul><li>An EU Roma policy could be a result of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, and initiative perceived as one of the most promising political projects in Central and Eastern Europe </li></ul>
  4. 4. Advancement of an EU Roma policy is in the interest of Decade Countries. II. <ul><li>An EU Roma Policy could: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase the absorption and amounts of Structural Funds targeting Social Inclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase the efficiency and impact of funded projects through targeting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An EU Roma policy would accelerate integration, and: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help defuse social and inter-ethnic tensions and curb the existing rampant and widely accepted anti-Gypsyism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide solutions for economic migration and address its main reasons: poverty, insecurity, denial of access to basic rights and widespread discrimination </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An EU Roma policy could be a pilot project for developing much needed efficient EU policies related to minorities </li></ul>
  5. 5. European Roma Policy in practice, The Elements: <ul><li>An EU Framework Strategy on Roma Inclusion (EFSRI) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>modelled on existing ones EFS on Gender Mainstreaming, EFS on people with disabilities (DG Social Affairs) and EFS integration of migrants (DG Justice), to set objectives, provide guidelines and set benchmarks, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Roma unit” in a relevant European Commission Structure (DG Employment and Social Affairs), </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To support the already existing “inter-service” group on Roma, to provide support and expertise, to watch over implementation of the strategy and to and asses its impact , </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Inter-Governmental “high-level group” on Roma inclusion, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To provide a forum for efficient debates which to facilitate synergies among Member State interventions and approaches, </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. An EU Framework Strategy on Roma Inclusion (EFSRI) Definitions: <ul><li>A policy umbrella capable to use all existing relevant Community policies and ensure an efficient mainstreaming of Roma issues at the Community level </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The EFRSI will should ensure coherence and complementarily in policy making and implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The strategy should improve/create mechanisms for impact assessment by making use of benchmarks (set indicators and address the absence of data) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The EFSRI is a “soft instrument” meant to induce change, its role is to provide guidance and coordination in the design and implementation of national policies , a “roadmap” for Roma inclusion </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. An EU Framework Strategy on Roma Inclusion (EFSRI). II. Objectives: <ul><li>Prioritise and promote the inclusion of Roma, in economic life, by promoting equal access of Roma to economical, social rights, within relevant EU policy, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>in particular access to the right to employment, right to education, right to health care and right to housing, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To promote through specific action equal participation and representation of Roma, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure that Roma are involved in all processes aimed at improving the situation of the Romani communities, including EU level processes, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To increase efforts aimed at combating Anti-Gypsysm, and to ensure respect for fundamental rights of Roma citizens , </li></ul><ul><li>To improve/create mechanisms necessary to assess the impact of programmes/policies relevant for Roma inclusion, </li></ul>
  8. 8. “ Roma Unit” <ul><li>The “Roma Unit” should be seen as an addition meant to strengthen the existing European Commission structures relevant for Roma , such as the Inter-Service Group </li></ul><ul><li>One important role could be to assist and prepare the development of the EFSRI </li></ul><ul><li>The “Unit” should work in full complementarily with other Commission structures and ensure the mainstreaming of Roma issues within different relevant DGs </li></ul><ul><li>The unit should also be responsible of the impact assessment process </li></ul><ul><li>The unit would have a strategic role in addressing the acute lack of Roma human resources by attracting and promoting Roma experts within the European Commission </li></ul>
  9. 9. Inter-Governmental “high-level group” on Roma inclusion, <ul><li>Various models are already in place , i.e. High Level Group on Gender Mainstreaming </li></ul><ul><li>Should be comprised of high level officials from Member States, ideally at the ministerial level </li></ul><ul><li>Would constitute an important forum for discussions and information exchange facilitating synergies among National and EU policies and interventions </li></ul><ul><li>The International Steering Committee of the Decade, could provide the basis of such a development </li></ul>
  10. 10. State of play <ul><li>To date, concrete proposals for an EU Roma policy are coming only from NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>Besides several calls made by national leaders, no concrete steps aiming at initiating an EU level discussion on a Roma Policy are made </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities are arising with the European Commission being increasingly under pressure, due to recent increase of inter-ethnic tension and economic migration </li></ul><ul><li>In spite of a repeated calls of Civil Society actors, progress in this area will not be made without active participation of Member States, particularly the Decade Countries </li></ul>
  11. 11. Recommendations and steps forward, <ul><li>Advancement of an EU Roma Policy should become a clear priority within the Decade of Roma Inclusion and future ISC meetings </li></ul><ul><li>EU level decisions are taken within the European Council, therefore: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decade Countries should approach the EU Presidencies and advance concrete proposals in coordination with Roma NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Ministries of Foreign Affairs and their delegations (Permanent Representatives to the EU) are the main channels of communication, national Decade Coordinators should establish links and forward proposals towards MFAs, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful promotion of a EU Roma Policy depends on support of EU Member Sates, Decade Countries need to enlarge the pool of supporters of a Roma Policy beyond the participants to the Decade, (possible partners are: Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Finland, Holland, Sweden, Portugal) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Member States have the main responsibility to ensure that all the elements of the EU Roma Policy are consistent with Decade Goals </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Steps for the near future, <ul><li>The Slovene/French/Czech/Swedish EU Presidencies need to be engaged with a request to place the Roma EU Policy on their agenda </li></ul><ul><li>We recommend that a meeting of the Ambassadors to the EU be organized in Brussels </li></ul><ul><li>During the meeting the Ambassadors of EU- Decade countries should kick-start the discussion on the EU Roma Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Commissioners from the Group for Fundamental Rights, Anti-Discrimination and Equal Opportunities should be involved in the discussions </li></ul><ul><li>The National Coordinators of the Decade should act as the “engine” of all related initiatives </li></ul>