Participants in an online hearing on The new EU Roma framework: views and expectations for the future of the Roma communities, pointed out that the reason the previous strategy had failed to achieve good results was not its content but was mainly the political situation in and lack of support from some Member States. Organised by the EESC's thematic study group on Roma inclusion, the hearing aimed to discuss the new Roma framework and to gather the views and expectations of Roma organisations on its plans and proposals.
According to recent data from the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), the situation remains unchanged for Roma minorities and travellers and has even worsened in some countries with, for example, 62% of children living in severe deprivation. The question, therefore, is how the new strategy can overcome the difficulties of the past.
In this regard, Marc Kiwitt from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice, said: "First we have to recognise that political pressure, tackling discrimination and exclusion require long-term commitment. It is also encouraging to see that Member States have demonstrated their commitment to strengthening Roma equality by unanimously adopting the Council Recommendation of 12 March 2021". The Recommendation commits the Member States to put forward effective Roma integration measures.
The new Roma framework focuses on a three-pillar approach: equality, inclusion and participation, complementing the socio-economic integration of marginalised Roma in the previous framework and reforming it considerably. Regarding legal instruments that could strengthen the new EU Roma framework, Mr Kiwitt referred to a number of directives already adopted by the Commission, such as the Race Equality Directive and the new EU anti-racism Action plan.
Building a Union of equality is one of the major priorities of the Commission, nevertheless, as underlined in the EU anti-racism action plan 2020-20251, discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin persists. This is particularly true for Roma, who often remain marginalised.
Having learnt from the shortcomings of the previous EU Roma framework over the past decade, the European Commission is determined to achieve the headline targets of the new Roma strategic framework, closing the gap of discrimination and socio-economic exclusion by at least half by 2030. However, the role of the Member States in delivering tangible results is pivotal. Without effective national strategies and pragmatic measures, the new framework risks failing in the same manner as its predecessor.
The decade-long commitment of the Commission to promote Roma inclusion is fully recognised by Roma communities and organisations, but the primary obligation to combat anti-Roma racism lies, as it always has, with the Member States.
Source: European Economic and Social Committe News