logo-eucommAccording to a new report from the European Commission, the first signs of improvement in the lives of Roma are slowly starting to show. The new report unveils Member States’ progress achieved under the EU Framework for national Roma strategies. The report assesses progress made under the EU framework since 2011 and identifies both positive examples and areas for further efforts from Member States. According to the report, while challenges remain, improvements are visible: more Roma children attend pre-school, mentoring programmes to help Roma find work are increasingly in place, as well as mediator programmes to bridge gaps between Roma and non-Roma communities in housing and access to healthcare.

The Communication can be downloaded here
The Staff working document accompanying the communication can be found here (Eurodiaconia referenced)


Report summary

•    Education: There has been good progress in ensuring that all Roma children complete at least their primary school education, including an increase in pre-school participation in Finland from 2% to 60%; a new law in Hungary to make two years of pre-school compulsory for all children; a similar two-year obligatory pre-school period in Bulgaria; and ‘travelling teachers’ who move with Traveller communities in Ireland. At the same time, more efforts will be needed to tackle the issue of segregation in mainstream schools in several EU countries.
•    Employment: Over the past four years there have been some attempts to improve the employability of Roma, but too rarely combined with systematic measures targeting the demand side of the labour market by fighting discrimination and incentivising employers. Some promising practices include: training mentors for Roma looking for work in Austria; EU-funded Roma employment mediators in Finland; a programme for work counselors in Spain.
•    Housing: Member States have been making strides in promoting Roma inclusion as a two-way street for Roma and non-Roma communities, but small scale projects need to be rolled out Europe-wide to bring about results. Good practices include: 38 housing mediators in Belgium; a local taskforce in Berlin, Germany, to get Roma accepted as neighbours and integrated into the community.
•    Health: Several countries have focused on improving access to healthcare for the most vulnerable Roma, including a commitment by the government in France to reduce financial barriers to healthcare and investment in health mediators for the Roma community in Romania and Spain. Ensuring basic health coverage is still a challenge in some Member States.
•    Discrimination: Commission action has ensured a strong legal framework is in place in all Member States to tackle discrimination, but countries need to reinforce their efforts to apply and enforce the legislation on the ground (IP/14/27). National equality bodies have a crucial role in doing this. Slovakia has introduced temporary positive action measures for Roma.
•    Funding: Allocating sufficient funding to Roma integration remains a challenge. For the first time, 20% of the European Social Fund available to Member States for their programmes must be dedicated to social inclusion, up from the current average of 15%. For the post 2020 financing period, the Commission will explore ways to further improve and make more effective financial support for Roma including through, for example, a specific facility. More country-specific examples can be found in the national fact sheets.

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