FRA’s Report reviews major developments in the field in 2022, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments. The report includes a specific chapter on inclusion and equality of Roma people. In addition, this year’s focus section covers the fundamental rights implications of the war in Ukraine for the EU and the challenges that arose.
FRA’s Fundamental Rights Report 2023 reviews the main fundamental rights developments in 2022, covering all 27 EU Member States as well as the Republic of Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia (hereafter North Macedonia) and the Republic of Serbia.
It identifies achievements and areas of concern regarding: the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; equality and non-discrimination; racism and related intolerance; Roma equality and inclusion (including a dedicated chapter); asylum, borders and migration; information society, privacy and data protection; child rights; access to justice, victims’ rights and independent justice; and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Fundamental Rights Report 2023 also presents FRA’s opinions on the outlined developments. These opinions recommend a range of evidence-based, timely and practical actions for consideration by EU bodies and national governments.
This year’s focus section looks at how the EU and its Member States dealt with the sudden and mass influx of people fleeing the war in Ukraine, including the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive, which provided welcome access to work, housing, social assistance, education and healthcare. It analysis the fundamental rights implications and the challenges that arose. Among them, there are reports of unequal treatment or abuse directed towards minorities or marginalised groups, such as Roma and non-Ukrainian third-country nationals who also fled the invasion.
Other key fundamental rights issues in 2022 addressed by the report include:
- Increase in child poverty: the pandemic and rising energy costs put more children, almost 1 in 4, at risk of poverty. The EU and national governments must comply with actions under the European Child Guarantee which started in 2022 and use the funds to alleviate child poverty, in particular for poor and vulnerable households such as single-parent, Roma and migrants.
- Widespread hate: hate crimes and hate speech, especially online, remained problematic in 2022, fuelled in part by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. But only half of the EU countries had national action plans against racism (NAPARs). The report insists that more countries should develop such plans, as well as concrete local and regional measures to tackle racism.
- Safeguarding rights as technology advances in its development: the effective protection of fundamental rights as more digital and artificial intelligence services are implemented is a growing concern. The landmark EU Digital Services Act of 2022 recognized the need for strong rights protection, which must be monitored in its implementation. EU lawmakers should also ensure that similar strong guarantees are in place in the proposed Artificial Intelligence Act currently being debated in the EU.
Chapter on Roma equality and inclusion
The dedicated chapter on Roma equality and inclusion (Chapter 5) addresses six areas (including numerous examples of EU Member States):
- Monitoring progress on Roma equality, inclusion and participation (including the setting of targets, the collection of equality data based on racial or ethnic origin by Member States and the progress towards the 2030 targets).
- Implementation of EU Roma Strategic Framework (including the finalisation of National Strategic Frameworks and the development of National Action Plans, and participation of civil society organisations)
- Challenges and way forward in Member States (including antigypsyism and discrimination, police violence and racism in law enforcement against Roma, segregation and unequal opportunities in education, Roma women, poverty and housing, and the Russian war against Ukraine)
Building upon the review, FRA puts forward the following recommendations:
- Member States should take urgent measures to provide all Roma people living in segregated settlements in conditions of severe housing deprivation with access to decent housing that is accessible, affordable, environmentally safe, healthy and desegregated. To achieve this, they must make use of the available EU funds.
- Member States are encouraged to establish platforms and build the social capacities among Roma civil society, including women, children and young people. Member States should consider promising practices in other EU countries and make full use of EU funds to establish platforms for cooperation with civil society organisations and local and regional stakeholders in the implementation, monitoring and review of the national action plans and strategies.
- EU Member States must ensure efficient monitoring through the regular collection and use of equality data. Such efforts must monitor the use of funds, as well as measures and programmes to achieve the 2030 goals of equality, participation and inclusion of Roma people. Member States are encouraged to ensure that their data collection, including national censuses, comply with the human rights-based approach. They should take into account EU guidance on the collection and use of equality data based on racial or ethnic origin. Member States should actively encourage and promote cooperation between civil society, academia, equality bodies and statistical offices to facilitate reporting and regular monitoring of cases of discrimination, antigypsyism and hate crimes.
- EU Member States must end any segregation of Roma students in education and collect evidence of this segregation, fully implementing the Racial Equality Directive. Member States should prioritize and use EU and national funds to provide quality education and more training opportunities for Roma children, involving Roma civil society in the design, implementation and monitoring of their national measures.
- EU Member States must strengthen their efforts to address poverty and social exclusion of Roma people. This will require specific measures combining gainful employment and the allocation of social transfers to achieve the 2030 target of closing the poverty gap between Roma and the general population, as required by the EU Roma Strategic Framework. Member States should specifically address Roma children in their EU Child Guarantee National Action Plans. They must identify, plan and implement measures to incorporate Roma women into the world of work, improve their economic independence and protect them from poverty.
Further details on the situation can be found at FRA presented the results of the Survey on the situation of the Roma People carried out in 2021. Its results show little or no progress since the last survey in 2016 in the fight against antigypsyism and equal access to education, employment, housing and health. The fundamental rights of Roma people were still not fully respected in 2022. Antigypsyism, discrimination, poverty and social exclusion, as well as hate crimes and hate speech, continue to affect a disproportionate number of Roma throughout the EU. The fatal incidents due to police violence with Roma victims in 2022 indicate that institutional racism in the police sphere
The report makes several references to the potential of EU Funds (including European Social Fund and European Regional Development Funds) as regards the promotion of human rights and to the importance of considering it in all phases of the funding cycle, from the design to the implementation, monitoring and review.
As regards Roma, it specifically highlights their role in the area of housing (to provide Roma living in segregated settlements in conditions of severe housing deprivation with access to decent housing that is accessible, affordable, environmentally safe, healthy and desegregated; and to support community-based housing and services), in the area of education and training (to provide quality education and more training opportunities for Roma children, engaging Roma civil society in the design, implementation and monitoring of their national measures) and to establish platforms for cooperation with civil society organisations and local and regional stakeholders in the implementation, monitoring and review of the national action plans and strategies.
It also recalls the thematic concentration requirements on child poverty (5 % of ESF+ resources earmarked for actions to tackle child poverty in Member States where the child poverty rate is above the EU average) and of poverty and social exclusion.
Finally, the report includes a mention to how to apply fundamental rights safeguards when using EU Funds. While it mainly concerns the new EU funding instruments in the field of asylum, borders and immigration, it could also be relevant for other funds.