Elaborated by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), it aims to contribute to the ongoing discussions on the post-2020 EU Framework/National Strategies on Roma inclusion and equality by putting forward concrete recommendations addressed to the European Commission and Member States.
Over the past months, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) has been working on an own-initiative “Report on the implementation of National Roma Inclusion Strategies (NRIS): Combating negative attitudes towards people with Romani background in Europe” (rapporteur Member of the European Parliament Romeo Franz). The Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) (as associated committee), the Culture and Education Committee (CULT) and the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) are also contributing to the elaboration of the report.
The report aims to contribute to the ongoing discussions on the post-2020 EU Framework/National Strategies on Roma inclusion and equality by putting forward concrete recommendations addressed to the European Commission and Member States. It draws on the impact assessment study carried out by the Parliament’s Research Service some months ago. It calls, inter alia, for a binding proposal invoking Article 19(2) TFEU.
The vote at the LIBE Committee and in plenary will take place in September 2020.
EURoma has been closely following the elaboration of the report and contributing to it based on EURoma’s position paper on “Proposals for an EU Framework for Roma equality and inclusion post-2020”. Key messages shared include:
- The need to strengthen the mechanisms of institutional governance in place at European and national level, in particular, as stated in the European Commission’s mid-term evaluation, the mandate, institutional capacity and resources of the National Roma Contact Points (NRCPs). In order to make progress, they should have a pivotal role in the design, development and alignment of NRIS, including the coordination and activation of target but also mainstream policies so that they are inclusive with Roma. To this end, they should be endowed with the adequate human and financial resources as well as the competences (capacities and mandate) necessary to fulfil the tasks assigned to them at coordination and political level. In general terms, there seems to be an imbalance between the responsibilities assigned and the capacity to fulfil them.
- The connection between the policy instruments foreseen (in this case the EU Framework/National Strategies) and the funding resources as an essential element to ensure more efficient social change instruments. This should take place at all levels (European, national, regional and local level) and within all policy, legal or financial instruments that could be of relevance for Roma inclusion (beyond those specifically targeting Roma). A shared commitment and ownership of the EU Framework/National Strategies is crucial to ensure the connection with mainstream policy legal and financial instruments (across areas such as housing, education, employment…).
- This is particularly relevant as regards European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds), including the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and the European Regional Development Fund-Cohesion Fund (ERDF-CF) but also others, as key financial and policy instruments for the achievement of the goals set in the EU Framework/National Strategies and the implementation of the interventions foreseen (both target and mainstream). The alignment, complementarity and coordination of the future EU Framework/National Strategies with ESI Funds would prompt the availability of financial resources to support their achievement.
- To this end, the ongoing connection between the bodies in charge of Roma policies (notably NRCPs) and those responsible of the financial resources (ESI Funds coordination structures, Managing Authorities, delegated Intermediate Bodies/Implementing Authorities…) is crucial. Therefore, the value of instruments promoting this connection such as the EURoma Network. To know more about how to connect ESI Funds with EU Framework/National Strategies, see EURoma position paper (section 3).
- Interventions in the four priority areas of the current EU Framework (employment, education, health and housing) should remain at the core, and be strengthened, as they are crucial to ensure that Roma can fully enjoy their fundamental rights on an equal footing with others and are therefore a gearshift for social change and real equality. Alongside these fields, particular attention should be given to other that have not been widely or specifically addressed in the current Framework, including the fight against discrimination.
- A dual strategy combining target measures (necessary to address the situation of disadvantage of the Roma population and the existing gaps between Roma and the majority population) and a mainstreaming approach that considers how to make each of the policy areas of relevance for Roma inclusion inclusive with the Roma population is important. Both types of measures should be explicitly included in the planning and monitoring tools, with specific objectives, measures and indicators, as well the budget allocated.
- Intensity in terms of length, continuity, scale and resources as well as a holistic approach in terms of types of actions, funds and actors involved are fundamental for interventions to have a real impact in the Roma population and in society as a whole.
- The diversity of the Roma population and the specific needs of each of the subgroups (e.g. women, EU-mobile Roma, youth, children…) should be specifically considered, including with specific measures, objectives and indicators. A child-focused approach would be very much needed.
- In addition to the public-public partnership, there should be a promotion of the quality participation, involvement and performance of all relevant stakeholders for Roma inclusion. These include Roma NGOs and organisations working to promote Roma inclusion as well as Roma communities themselves…To this end, further attention and support should be given to the capacity-building of all actors involved in the management and implementation of the EU Framework NRIS (NRCPs but also other relevant public and private actors).
- The importance of transnational exchanges and cooperation (both bilateral and multilateral) focused on the most disadvantaged groups such as Roma, as a crucial instrument in general and particularly for issues related to Roma mobility that affect several Member States. The provision of support for the active transfer of existing positive practices to other EU contexts could be combined with the establishment of cooperation mechanisms.
- The need to take into account the negative impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on those persons most affected by poverty, social exclusion and marginalisation, as it is the case of many European Roma population across the EU. Against this backdrop, it is essential to ensure that all political tools (including the EU Framework/National Strategies) and financial resources (at EU, including ESI Funds, and national, regional and local level) are mobilised to put in place emergency measures to prevent, avoid and alleviate the negative impact of this health, economic and social crisis on those persons. To know more about the use of ESI Funds to address the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable Roma, see EURoma Snapshot: how ESI Funds are used to address the impact of COVID-19 crisis on Roma.
- EURoma Network Position Paper “Proposals for an EU Framework for Roma equality and inclusion post-2020”
- EURoma Network Position Paper “How the Future 2021-2027 European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) can better contribute to Roma equality and inclusion”
- European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Draft “Report on the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies: Combating negative attitudes towards people with Romani background in Europe” (2020/2011(INI)) (pending vote of amendments and of full report)
- European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) (associated committee) Opinion on LIBE Committee’s report
- European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee (CULT) Opinion on LIBE Committee’s report
- European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM) Opinion on LIBE Committee’s report
- Hearing organised at European Parliament in the context of elaboration of the European Parliament’s report