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Hungarian Presidency of the EU to initiate Roma strategy

Budapest, 29.11.2010 11:34, (ROMEA)

When Hungary takes over the Presidency of the EU on the 1 January 2011, it will seek to give the plight of the bloc’s Roma minority the attention it deserves, by mobilizing resources in the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, EurActiv has reported.

Speaking at a public event organized by the European Policy Centre, in which he outlined the priorities of the Hungarian presidency, Hungarian Ambassador to the EU, Péter Györkös said that unemployment, early school leaving and poverty are three headlines in the Europe 2020 strategy which are “absolutely relevant” with regards to the Roma situation and citing EU level “headline targets”, noted that, members states will be asked to translate these into national goals. He noted that Hungary wishes to harmonize domestic efforts with coordinated European action.

Concerning recent tensions in Italy and France over the presence of Roma in those countries from Romania and Bulgaria, the ambassador noted that his country has about seven to eight hundred thousand Roma but they are “established”, “sedentary” and “don’t come up in the European agenda”. A number of meetings are due to take place on the Roma issue, including a Roma Platform meeting and several Council meetings with those on Employment, Social Policy, Education and Youth being especially important.

Hungary is in a good position to sucessfully address the Roma issue. The only Roma MEP is Hungarian, Livia Járóka (European People's Party), who is currently working on a blueprint for a legislative proposal to be presented under the Hungarian Presidency of the EU, concerning funding of Roma communities. In addition, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, is Hungarian, and has been particulary active on the Roma issue of late. The Commission set up the Roma Task Force in September which is considered to be the first ever EU policy document specifically related to Roma.

The Task Force will assess the effectiveness and use of EU funds for Roma integration in member countries, and member countries were invited to present their own strategies for Roma inclusion.

The first findings of the Task Force are expected by the end of the year.

Nathalia Odwin,euractiv.com
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