One of the aspects reviewed in this report, commissioned by the Parliaments’ Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, is the achievements and lessons learnt on the use of EU Funds for the improvement of the lives of people from marginalised Roma communities (MRC) in Slovakia.
On the occasion of the International Roma Day on 8 April 2020, the European Parliament (EP) released a report on ‘The social and employment situation of Roma communities in Slovakia’. This document was originally commissioned by the EP’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs for the purpose of the visit of a delegation to Slovakia in April 2020, which had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus measures. Prepared by the Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI), the report aimed to provide Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) with background information for their visit, including up-to-date information and analysis covering four key areas:
- Overview on social and employment policy with a focus on the Roma minorities and the implementation of National Roma Inclusion Strategy in the areas of household and employment policies, social and economic inclusion and fight against poverty of the Roma communities.
- Situation of Roma children in education, paying particular attention to segregated schooling.
- Achievements and lessons learned as regards the use of EU funds for marginalised communities in Slovakia.
- Related work of the Fundamental Rights Agency, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Auditors and their findings on the Roma situation in Slovakia.
According to the findings, while Slovakia has one of the largest Roma communities in Europe, there is a severe lack of systemic data on Roma population, including a lack of data on the economic inclusion of Roma. This document aims to paint a grim picture with data of the situation of Roma communities in Slovakia.
Achievements and lessons to learn of the use of EU Funds and relevant programmes in Slovakia
The study pays particular attention to the use of EU Funds, notably European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) for the improvement of the lives of people from marginalised Roma communities (MRC), as one of the main areas of EU fund support in Slovakia.
It first reviews the lessons from the 2007-2013 programming period, where the inclusion of MRC was recognised as a horizontal priority across all Operational Programmes and the so-called “comprehensive approach to inclusion of MRCs” was adopted. The report then looks at the implementation structure during the 2014-2020 programmatic period, when assistance of ESI Funds explicitly addressing inclusion of MRCs is concentrated in two separate priority axes of the Human Resources OP, with the total amount of EUR 153 954 885 (European Social Fund) and EUR 228 707 577 (European Regional Development Fund).
While the spending rate remains still low, there are several municipalities that are successful in inclusion of MRC. The common denominator of their success is the determination of the mayor, the support of the municipal council, and options for property ownership settlement.
In connection with the upcoming programming period, the assistance aiming inclusion of MRC is among the priorities, its scope and format is a subject of discussion.
Assistance of FEAD allocated for Slovakia for 2014-2020 programming period is EUR 55 112 543. As for 31.12.2019 the spending rate reached some 45%.
The report is available at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2020/648778/IPOL_STU(2020)648778_EN.pdf