European Commission reports on Roma integration: More work needed
The annual European Commission (EC) report on Roma integration was released on 18 June. The Member States have their work cut out for them on this issue.
EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová said in a press release that Romani inclusion is a "key political priority" for the EU. She noted that more concrete results "especially at local level" are needed.
The Justice Commissioner said the Member States must be more active in combating discrimination against Romani people. "We want to see Roma being treated equally, in schools, at their workplace, in housing and healthcare, just like other EU citizens,” she said.
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility Marianne Thyssen said the EC is supporting the Member States' attempts to promote the social integration of all vulnerable groups, Roma included. She urged them to act at every level to make efficient use of the more than €90 billion available to promote social inclusion.
EC Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for the rule of law and Charter of Fundamental Rights, said that equal treatment is "at the very heart of the European project". He noted that the Roma have faced a long history of exclusion and that more must be done to combat anti-Gypsyism.
The report cited a "worrying rise" in anti-Gypsyism. The EC has recently launched infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic and Slovakia over those countries' failures to ensure proper implementation of anti-discirmination legislation with respect to Romani people in education.
More than 20 % of Romani children under 15 attend separate classes or entirely separate schools ostensibly designed for children with mental disabilities in those countries. Approximately 74 % of Roma in the Czech Republic experience discrimination on the labor market, according to the report.
The EU has called on Member States to use "strong monitoring methods" to evaluate the impact of their Roma integration actions, "including civil society monitoring". As of next year they will be reporting to the EC on these measures.
A few countries were said to be engaged in performing large-sample surveys that include questions on ethnicity in order to undertake this monitoring. Roma communities in a few countries are also being mapped so they can be monitored at community level.
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