Recovery and Resilience (RRF) Funds can play a significant role in the promotion of Roma equality and inclusion, along with other funding sources such as European Cohesion Policy Funds such as the ESF+ and ERDF.
Aware of this, EURoma follows closely the Recovery and the Resilience Facility and the National Recovery and Resilience Plans in order to ensure that Roma equality and inclusion is taken into account (both in the design, implementation and monitoring phases) as well as to promote synergies and complementarities between these funds and ESF+ and ERDF (as well as the consideration of lessons learnt over the past European Cohesion Policy Funds programming periods on key elements for an effective use of the funds for Roma equality and inclusion).
The Recovery and Resilience Scoreboard gives an overview of how the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the National Recovery and Resilience Plans is progressing. It displays data on milestones, targets, disbursements, and common indicators.
In addition, the European Commission provides a series of thematic analyses of measures included in the Recovery and Resilience plans to illustrate the progress with the implementation of the RRF under the six policy pillars.
Some of them are particularly relevant for Roma equality and inclusion. It is worth mentioning the recent analysis on equality in which one of the target groups specifically addressed is Roma. In addition, other reports are of interest such as the the most recent ones on adult learning and skills, digital skills and education and social protection and previous ones on employment support and job creation or education.
The analysis describes how disadvantaged groups have been hit harder by the pandemic and how COVID-19 accentuated or even exacerbated existing inequalities. In analysing the measures included by Member States in their National Recovery and Resilience plans to address these challenges, the thematic fiche focuses on a few groups in particular women, Roma, people with disabilities, refugees and people with a migrant, minority racial or different ethnic background.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility has contributed in many ways to improving equal opportunities, both directly and indirectly. The national Recovery and Resilience Plans contain targeted investments as well as important reforms that are expected to have a lasting effect on equality, also increasing resilience. The Facility will contribute to gender equality and improve inclusion of disadvantaged groups, such as Roma, persons with disabilities, people with a migrant background…Member States also included measures that mainstream equality considerations in their design.
Several national plans explicitly include Roma among the beneficiaries of measures that support socio-economic inclusion and improve access to services, or more generally support the inclusion of disadvantaged groups. For instance, in Romania the RRP refers specifically to the Roma population and the RRF will contribute to establishing integrated community centres to provide medical services to marginalised communities and establish legally binding targets in relation to healthcare services. This measure is complemented by a target to reduce the number of rural communities, including those with Roma population, not served by a family doctor by 35%. In Slovakia, in the field of education and skills, the Facility will support access to and inclusion in quality mainstream education of socially disadvantaged students, including Roma, for instance by establishing legal entitlements for childcare; financing and promoting teaching of the main official language as a second language (especially for minorities with another first language); and identifying other specific needs of these groups, including through targeted promotion of existing services (e.g. childcare facilities) to people in Roma communities as well as providing additional learning assistance to vulnerable groups, including Roma children. Other reforms and investments that support the inclusion of disadvantaged groups concern the creation of youth centres targeting the personal development of young people from vulnerable groups, including Roma (e.g. Bulgaria); upskilling, recognition of professional qualifications and labour market integration of Roma people (e.g. Greece); the provision of energy-efficient social housing for vulnerable groups (e.g. Spain); and the creation of day service or childcare centres, especially in communities with a significant Roma population, which helps prevent the separation of children from their families and promote, at the same time, the labour market integration of parents (e.g. Romania, Slovakia). Roma may also benefit from various other measures in the plans that do not explicitly include them among the beneficiaries, but that aim among others at social and territorial cohesion and inclusion of disadvantaged groups, for instance in the areas of labour market, housing, and education.
Skills are one of the foundations of the European economy and society by preparing people to seize opportunities and drive transformations, notably in relation to the green and digital transitions. Despite its central role in addressing prevalent skills shortages and mismatches, adult learning participation is still not widespread across EU Member States. At the same time, demographic change is reducing the available labour force and requires Europe to fully take advantage of all its talents and diversity.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility supports a wide range of investments and reforms in the area of adult learning and skills development. These include, for instance, national skills strategies, reforms to improve skills intelligence and governance, including recognition and validation of skills, as well as targeted investments in up-skilling and re-skilling for employees, the unemployed and the broader population.
An adequate level of digital skills is essential for people and businesses to seize the opportunities offered by the digital transformation. However, digital skills shortages remain pervasive in the EU: more than 40% of Europeans lack basic digital skills and it is difficult for enterprises to find the ICT talent they need.
The Recovery and Resilience Facility aims to make a contribution to address these gaps and to foster digital skills development in the EU. Relevant measures include comprehensive digital skills strategies, actions to close the shortage of ICT specialists, digital skills for the population and workforce, cybersecurity skills development, digitalisation of educational institutions and content, as well as targeted support to vulnerable groups.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a powerful reminder of the importance of adequate social protection. The Recovery and Resilience Facility promotes reforms and investments to strengthen Member States’ social protection systems in relation to their effectiveness, quality and resilience. Many plans include specific actions that aim at the integration, equality and well-being of socio-economically disadvantaged people and specific vulnerable groups. Other measures are designed to improve more directly the socio-economic situation of households by strengthening social services and coverage and adequacy of benefits.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the need to further adapt labour market institutions, build inclusive education, training and welfare systems and promote quality jobs as a cornerstone of economic growth. The national recovery and resilience plans focus on investments and reforms to address key structural challenges, including those related to the twin transition. In particular, the measures aim to support job creation and the transition to new sectors and job types, improve the efficiency of labour market regulations and institutions, and strengthen the labour market integration of groups with lower labour market participation, including women. In the medium term, the Recovery and Resilience Facility will make EU labour markets better prepared for when the next crisis hits.
Education and training systems across the EU are faced with key challenges that risk persisting or worsening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Structured action is necessary to facilitate the recovery and improve the labour market relevance of education and training. The Recovery and Resilience Facility will advance large-scale investments and reforms in education that have the potential to make an impact in the medium to long-term. Member States have chosen to use the Facility to support quality, inclusion and effectiveness of education, to improve the resilience of their education systems with a strong focus on digital education, and for targeted measures to compensate for the learning loss resulting from the pandemic.