On 4-5 March 2019 EURoma Network Technical Secretariat and representatives of Network partner National Roma Contact Points took part in the High-level conference on the EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies (NRIS) organised by the Romanian government, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The Romanian Presidency’s event aimed to build on the previous work of the Bulgarian and Austrian Presidencies, which also worked to advance Roma issues at the European and national level.
The event came timely; the discussions and conclusions will feed into the current process of reflection on the future framework for Roma inclusion policies once the EU Framework ends in 2020. The Romanian EU Presidency, which will present the conclusions from the event in Council, aimed to seek a renewed commitment by Member States and the enlargement countries to advance the Roma inclusion agenda beyond 2020.
The event brought together representatives of relevant national authorities of the EU Member States and enlargement countries, EU institutions, international organisations, EU and national-level civil society, Roma youth, media and academia.
Based on the advancements made and on the conclusions of the European Commission’s mid-term evaluation of the European Framework, released by the European Commission in December 2018, this High-level Conference sought to build on the lessons learned by countries since the adoption of the EU Framework in 2011 and to encourage Member States and enlargement countries to commit to a process of Roma inclusion beyond 2020. In particular, the conference aimed to:
- Identify the lessons learned at EU and national level since the adoption of the EU Framework in the field of socio-economic inclusion of Roma (education, health, housing, employment) and in the fight against discrimination and antigypsyism.
- Identify the strengths and challenges that affect the implementation of the EU Framework at the level of the Member States and in the enlargement region. Discussions covered aspects such as overall relevance of the EU Framework, its EU added value, barriers to increased effectiveness of the Framework at national level, mainstreaming of Roma inclusion in EU and national policies as well as the tools and mechanisms put in place at the European and national level to advance the implementation of NRIS in Member States and enlargement countries.
- Identify solutions to strengthen the relevance, effectiveness, coherence and, coordination of the EU framework and the NRIS, with a view to achieving a better impact and sustainability, based on the lessons learned.
- Strengthen the commitment of the EU Member States and enlargement countries to Roma inclusion as a priority at the European and national levels, with a view to develop a Roma policy beyond 2020.
Participants agreed on the importance of counting on an EU framework for Roma policies after 2020.