Roma people must have real chance for better life

The Commission works for the change with clear targets and a renewed commitment

Photo: EU Věra Jourová.

Equality, inclusion, participation, education, employment, health, and housing are the seven main dimensions in the new EU Roma 10-year plan, tabled by the Commission on Wednesday. In total, about 10-12 million Roma live in Europe and half of them are in the EU.

As Europe's largest ethnic minority and in many Member States they constitute a significant part of the population, Roma people are still one of society's most vulnerable groups, living in poverty, social exclusion and very often are facing discrimination and racism.   

Saying that the figures are really telling a sad story, EC Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Věra Jourová, explained that 85% of Roma children are at risk of poverty compared to 20% of children in the general population, 62% of Roma youth are not in education, employment or training compared to 10% of youth in the general population. “Simply put, over the last ten years we have not done enough to support the Roma population in the EU,” she said adding that the Commission is relaunching its efforts to correct this situation, with clear targets and a renewed commitment to achieve real change over the next decade.

In the plan the executive put ambitious minimum targets for achieving by 2030, such as cutting by at least half the proportion of Roma with experience of discrimination, and the same for participation in early childhood education, attendance at segregated primary schools in Member States with a significant Roma population. Among the goals are also halving the employment gap and the gender employment gap and this in life expectancy. At least by one third should be lessen the difference in housing deprivation and at least 95% of Roma should have access to tap water.

With the aim of speeding up progress towards Roma equality, inclusion and participation, the Commission provides guidance to EU countries on how to achieve the targets. The proposed measures includes developing support schemes for Roma victims of discrimination, campaigns in schools, supporting financial literacy, promoting the employment of Roma in public institutions, and improving access to quality medical check-ups, screening, and family planning.

The EU countries will have almost a year to present their national strategies to the Commission and will report on their implementation every two years. The Commission will monitor progress towards the 2030 targets, drawing on input from surveys carried out by the European Fundamental Rights Agency and input from civil society. There will also be an in-depth mid-term evaluation of the new 10-year plan in its entirety.

During the current MFF, 2014-2020, over €21.5bn was used to support Roma integration measures at the regional level.

For the EU to become a true Union of Equality we need to ensure that millions of Roma are treated equally, socially included and able to participle in social and political life without exception, EU Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli stated. She explained that with the new targets, the Commission expects to make real progress by 2030 “towards a Europe in which Roma are celebrated as part of our Union's diversity, take part in our societies and have all the opportunities”.


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