Support for Roma Inclusion Framework Strategy

Following national ministers’ unanimous support for the EU’s Roma Inclusion Framework Strategy in the EPSCO Council last month, EU Member States have started to prepare targeted national strategies for the social and economic inclusion of Roma minorities. The European Council endorsed the ministers’ conclusions on 24 June, but left the way open for Roma integration to be pursued as a part of wider social inclusion policy measures.

ESN calls upon national ministers responsible for social affairs in the 27 Member States to involve local and regional authorities (particularly social welfare and social work services) in the design and delivery of their national strategies. Read ESN position on National Roma Strategies[1].

The Hungarian government, currently holding the EU Presidency, has taken the lead by drafting its national strategy straight away and signing a framework agreement with representatives of the Hungarian Roma minority on 20 May.

The Danish government has indicated that it is unlikely to draw up a special strategy. "We already have a very good safety net for everyone in need of social protection (…) Our social legislation does not operate on the basis of categories and those who need it are entitled to it ", said the Danish deputy permanent representative. Answering questions from Europolitics, EU Commissioner László Andor highlighted that Denmark “cannot be content with a marginal policy since it will take up the Presidency (in 2012) and cannot distance itself from the European effort ".

On 25 May, Commissioner Andor was in Košice, Slovakia, attended a high-level event on the role of EU funds to fight Roma exclusion, where he visited a European Social Fund (ESF) project in Tuhrina Municipality. “The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies is an opportunity to bring about cooperation and co-ownership with the local, regional and national authorities, so that Roma inclusion becomes a reality in villages, towns and regions across Europe,” Andor said. Read full speech.

In a speech on European funding post-2013, the Commissioner also emphasised the need to “do more and better” with EU funds by “improving our financial instruments”, changes which should also benefit Roma populations and other minorities. As a result the Commission is set to prepare a proposal for the multi-annual financial framework that will cover the period after 2013, which will then be followed by specific proposals on the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) aiming to:

  1. Enhance the contribution of the ESF to achieving the EU poverty reduction target;
  2. Ensure that the necessary resources are allocated to promoting social inclusion and reinforcing support for disadvantaged groups;
  3. Simplify access to grant schemes for local partnerships; and;
  4. Create greater synergies and complementarities between EU funds

Watch video extracts from the press conference by Viviane REDING, EC Vice-President in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and László ANDOR, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.