The Recommendation gives a new political impetus for Member States to progress in education, employment, health, housing, participation, the fight against poverty, social exclusion, discrimination and antigypsyism with the support of EU funding. It also acknowledges the role in transnational partnership of EURoma Network.
The Recommendation of the Council of the European Union on Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation approved on 12 March 2021, offers a renewed and strengthened commitment from the EU and its Member States to push forward policy measures to tackle the enormous inequality gap suffered by the Roma population across Europe.
To this end, it 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 the 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. This Recommendation renews the previous one, in operation from 2011 to 2020, the positive impacts of which have been very limited. The new Recommendation offers a fresh impetus to achieve concrete, measurable results over the next decade.
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.
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 socioeconomic integration 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.
We are very pleased to see that the Recommendation explicitly mentions EURoma Network as a space for transnational exchange which member States should make use of.