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European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopts resolution on EU strategy for Roma inclusion

16 February 2011

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament adopted on 14 February its draft report on the EU strategy on Roma inclusion with an overwhelming majority.

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament adopted on 14 February its draft report on the EU strategy on Roma inclusion with an overwhelming majority (50 votes in favour and one against) and with the support of the six political groups of the European Parliament. This report is the European Parliament´s contribution to the EU strategy for Roma inclusion that the European Commission is due to adopt in April. The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs already organised a public hearing on the Strategy on 30 November-1 December 2010 in Brussels. 

Lívia Járóka (EPP, HU), European Parliament rapporteur and the only member of the European Parliament (MEP) of Roma origin, highlighted that Roma inclusion is not merely a human rights obligation, but also an economic need and the financial interest of all Member States. “The social inclusion of the Roma is one of the most important strategic challenges that Europe faces and at the same time it provides one of the most promising opportunities for the continent", added Ms Járóka.

In the report, LIBE Committee members set out a number of priority areas that they consider will require more efforts from local, national and EU authorities to integrate Roma people and call on the European Commission to present a roadmap for introducing binding minimum standards at EU level for these priorities. MEPs also propose that Member States face penalties for the non-compliance of the objectives.

A better use of EU funds is one of these priorities. MEPs urge to allocate a dedicated funding to support the strategy inside the cohesion policy within the next Multiannual Financial Framework. MEPs also advocate creating EU support bodies under the supervision of the existing Roma Task Force to secure development-oriented EU funding in support of good local initiatives and to identify and report misuse of funds in time. Additionally, the scope of the EU funding should be extended so that besides development, the provision of quality public services also becomes eligible.

The Report calls on the Commission and the Council to develop a Community strategy for the  social integration of the Roma on a firm legal basis, coordinated and monitored by the Community Institutions, which allows for an annual evaluation of results regarding the priorities and objectives detailed in the Report.

The document also urges drawing an EU-wide crisis map which measures and locates those micro-regions where poverty and social exclusion mostly affecting Roma communities is concentrated.  It also proposes the adoption of common, comparable and reliable indicators and the adoption of an 'enlargement dimension', so that candidate countries and potential candidates could be associated in the Strategy.

Priority areas

Besides a better use of EU funds, MEPs put forward other priority areas including equal access to employment and education, housing, protection of fundamental rights and involvement of Roma women in policy development.

In the area of employment, the strategy must ensure effective access to the labour market by making micro-credit available for entrepreneurship and self-employment. Member States and the Commission are called upon to adopt measures to combat undeclared jobs and to promote the hiring of Roma staff in the public administration.

In relation to housing, MEPs highlight the need for affordable and healthy housing for Roma and the abolition of territorial segregation. All Roma citizens should also be recorded in up-to-date registers of births, marriages and deaths.

On education, the strategy could address the abolition of school and classroom segregation by employing Roma school mediators and increasing the number of Roma teachers. The identity of Roma children should be protected making education available in their own language. Also, equal access to early childhood education, adult vocational training and lifelong learning should be provided.

The EU strategy should address the specific needs of Roma women, by involving them in the development of policies and stopping the practice of child marriages. The support to girls' education should also be included in the strategy.

Next steps

The Parliament will vote the LIBE Committee report at its plenary session in March. The Commission is expected to present its proposal for the EU Strategy on Roma inclusion in April. Roma inclusion is one of the Hungarian Presidency's priorities and therefore hopes that the strategy is adopted by EU Heads of state and government at the European Council on 24 June 2011.

More information

Press room of the European Parliament: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+IM-PRESS+20110214IPR13638+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

Interview by Lívia Járóka MEP “Proud to be Roma: Roma MEP Lívia Járóka on the need for a European strategy” http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+IM-PRESS+20110204STO13208+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

Information on the EU strategy on Roma inclusion in the European Parliament legislative observatory http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/file.jsp?id=5884532

 

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