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European Parliamentary delegation plans to visit Romani settlements in Slovakia

15.11.2019 6:37
Slovak MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (FOTO: Wikimedia Commons)
Slovak MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (FOTO: Wikimedia Commons) reported on 7 November that a delegation from the European Parliament (EP), together with Helen Dalli, who is Malta's candidate for the post of EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, is planning to visit Romani settlements in Slovakia. Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (SAS/ECR), an MEP from Slovakia and chair of the EP's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, informed the SITA wire service of the plan.

The aim of the visit is to familiarize MEPs with how Slovakia has taken advantage of EU financing for the integration of Romani people. The European Commission has criticized Slovakia for not upholding the EU rules concerning equal treatment of Romani pupils and for not preventing the enrolment of Romani children into segregated special schools or into segregated, exclusively Romani, mainstream classes and schools.

The Commission's formal challenge to the authorities in 2015 has not yet led to the adoption of sufficient measures to address this problem.  "Discrimination in the schools on the basis of ethnic origin continues to be a serious problem," quoted the EC as saying.

In its reasoned opinion from October 2019, the EC called on Slovakia to uphold EU rules about equality. Slovakia now has two months to respond and adopt the necessary measures.

If the country does not do so, the EC may send the case to the EU Court of Justice. Nicholsonová told SITA that the visit by the EP delegation has not yet been approved, but "for the time being all indications are that a delegation should accompany the EU Commissioner."

MEP: We want to know what the results will be

Nicolas Schmit, a candidate for the EU Commissioner on Employment, also wants to visit Slovakia for a similar purpose, according to Nicholsonová. "For me it's important that we stop measuring outputs and start measuring results," she explained when asked why she had invited the delegation to Slovakia.

"Outputs tell us nothing about the effectiveness of the individual projects that cost such a great deal of money," the MEP said. She clarified that while outputs are achieved immediately once a measure is introduced (e.g., providing a requalifaction course), results are about the longterm effect (e.g., the number of people who have been employed after completing such a course).

Jitka Votavová, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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