The Spanish Presidency will insist on making “full use” of structural funds to help the Gypsy community
The Spanish Presidency will insist on making “full use” of structural funds to promote the integration of the Gypsy community to achieve an “integral promotion of the Romani communities based on improvements in their housing and their environment”, said the Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, Diego López Garrido, on Tuesday.
“We are adamant about making full use of structural funds to promote the integration of the Romani people and in particular, we propose the use of integral actions in both rural and urban areas to achieve an integral promotion of Romani communities based on improvements in their housing and their environment”, said the Secretary of State.
During his appearance before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Garrido also referred to the need for local authorities and Gypsy organisations to become “actively” involved in this process.
According to the Secretary of State, in its conclusions the Council is going to propose that the European Commission provides “technical support and guidance” to Member States and local authorities as well as “facilitating horizontal co-ordination between States; and vertical co-ordination among European, national, regional and local governments”.
Garrido added that the Spanish Presidency and the trio of the Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian presidencies will attempt to promote an integral directive on anti-discriminatory measures and equal treatment, which in the opinion of the Secretary of State will be “essential for groups that are discriminated against and specifically the Romani community.”
“The agenda of the triple presidency explicitly deals with the social and economic integration of Gypsies. It is part of the agenda unanimously approved by the General Affairs Council and therefore forms part of the strategy for the next year and a half” López Garrido added.
Different short and long-term measures
Furthermore, the Secretary of State said that both “short and long-term measures” would be taken in favour of the Gypsy community. In the short term he highlighted “a working plan to immediately tackle problems such as students who go to special schools, as well as in relation to housing, healthcare and access to employment that is not self-employment”.
“In the long term, we believe there is a horizontal focus on the Romani issue in all EU policies and that it will have to be made within the framework of an open method of co-ordination, and in fields such as fundamental rights, anti-discriminatory measures, regional development, education and access to public employment”, concluded López Garrido..
A European summit will be held in Cordoba on 8 and 9 April on actions and policies for the Gypsy population, which will conclude with a statement on the future challenges of supporting the Romani population, the foremost ethnic minority that lives in the EU.
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