A renewed and strengthened commitment from the EU and Member States to tackle the inequality gap suffered by Roma. EURoma is refered to as a space for transnational partnership and exchange that the Commission and Member States should support.
The Recommendation of the Council of the European Union on Roma equality, inclusion and participation adopted on 12 March 2021 aims to provide a renewed and strengthened commitment from the EU and its Member States to the shared objectives on Roma equality, inclusion and participation in order to push forward policy measures over the next decade to tackle the enormous inequality gap suffered by the Roma population across Europe. To this end, it sets out measures that Member States may adopt to make progress towards these objectives in areas such as education, employment, health, housing, participation as well as the fight against poverty, social exclusion, discrimination and antigypsyism. It also concludes with some actions that the European Commission is invited to take.
This Recommendation renews the previous Council Recommendation of 9 December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States, by reviewing and expanding the measures to be taken. It is part of the package of measures adopted by the European Commission on 7 October 2020, which comprised the proposal for this Recommendation and the Communication ‘A Union of Equality: EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation’ (see news item).
The Recommendation urges Member States towards investments in long-term policies and programmes with objectives in the fields of education, employment, housing and health, as well as cross-cutting objectives relating to equality (the fight against discrimination and antigypsyism), inclusion (the fight against poverty and social exclusion) and participation (both social and political).
Although a Recommendation is a non-binding instrument, it establishes a series of guidelines to enable Member States to better focus investments intended to overcome the inequality and discrimination suffered by Roma people across Europe, with a long-term and integrated view and with the necessary involvement of the regional and local level.
The Recommendation represents progress in terms of establishing specific measures which need to be implemented, as well as setting out the precise objectives and indicators which must be met in the various areas in which investment is required. The need to take account of the diversity of realities among the Roma population is expressly stated, with special emphasis placed upon Roma children, women and Roma people from Eastern Europe.
Close links with EU funding
The Recommendation´s close links with the European Cohesion Fund as well as with the European Semester present an opportunity to achieve a greater social impact. Member States will design their National Strategic Frameworks (National Strategies) for the inclusion of the Roma population, according to the guidelines in the Recommendation, by September 2021. They will be continuously monitored by the European Commission.
As stated in the Recommendation, there should be a close link of the Roma policy framework and the EU funding: “The proposal for the ESF+ for 2021-2027 specifically calls on Member States and the Commission to ensure equality and non-discrimination in the implementation of Union programmes and refers to the promotion of the socio-economic integration of third country nationals and the inclusion of marginalised communities such as the Roma, which is linked to the enabling condition of a national Roma strategic framework.“
New ESF+ Specific Objective on Roma socio-economic inclusion, which is linked to the enabling condition of a national Roma strategic framework, will allow Member States to program explicit but not exclusive measures to foster Roma inclusion and equality. Funding possibilities through combination of both ESF+ and ERDF as well as other funding mechanisms such as NextGenerationEU may ensure sufficient sustainable funding in key areas as stated in the Recommendation on Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation.
The Recommendation pays particular attention to transnational cooperation and explicitly refers to the EURoma Network, acknowledging its role in this field. In particular, it calls on Member States and the European Commission to foster transnational partnership and exchange by supporting a number of European networks and platforms such as the EURoma Network.
Member States are also asked to step up cooperation and peer learning on the most effective ways of mainstreaming Roma equality, inclusion and participation in the implementation of all relevant major Union initiatives. Finally, it also calls for the establishment of, and active participation in, appropriate forms of transnational cooperation at national, regional or local level in order to address the vulnerable situation of some EU mobile Roma citizens who establish themselves in Member States other than their Member State of origin, or stay in such a Member State temporarily.
- Council Recommendation of 12 March 2021 on Roma equality, inclusion and participation (2021/C 93/01) (available in all EU official languages)