The EURoma Network (though its Technical Secretariat) participated in the fourth edition of the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth that took place in Brussels on 20 May 2019. The Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth is an action-oriented platform bringing together civil society organisations and policymakers to discuss how to achieve inclusive growth.

This is a key moment for the EU since next year the Europe 2020 Strategy is coming to an end, and the European Pillar of Social Rights, the 2030 Agenda and the new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, that is currently under negotiation, will provide the structure for the work of the Union on social and economic inclusion in the decade ahead.

In this context, it is very necessary to debate on how the EU can strengthen its social dimension and for this, it is necessary to articulate a political, institutional and financial structure that will make it possible to continue advancing in the pursue of true equality for all people, without leaving anyone unprotected or behind.

The Convention was opened by Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, who stressed that is important for the next Commission to make sure that all the progress achieved is preserved. The EC referred to some data showing improvements in terms of equality and poverty reduction. However civil society representatives stressed the situations of special vulnerability and extreme poverty that millions of people experience (including children) in all European countries. The Commissioner also emphasized that the Convention is a privileged space to listen to key stakeholders, improve our societies and advance in the guarantee of equal rights.

The event was also attended by representatives of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, representatives of the Europeans Commission and other European platforms.

As EURoma, we put the focus on the specific situation of the Roma population, which despite progress made in recent years, continues to experience higher levels of inequality than the general population, which is why it is necessary to promote public policies and measures that guarantee equal opportunities and combat discrimination. ESI Funds (mainly ESF but also ERDF) can certainly contribute to promote such social change and invest with a long-term perspective on those areas that are key for promoting equality of Roma (education, employment, housing, health, non-discrimination…). We also emphasized the importance of improving existing European instruments and aligning them with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.