- Target EU funds more effectively to meet needs of Roma people
- Focus on children, youth and Roma participation to improve social inclusion
- Support Roma people to leave inadequate settlements
On Wednesday, Parliament adopted a set of recommendations aimed at improving the precarious situation of Roma settlements in the EU.
Roma people with all the diversity that this term encompasses are the largest ethnic minority in Europe and face poverty and social exclusion in several member states, MEPs say.
The main problems to be addressed urgently are the lack of decent, desegregated housing including clean drinking water, electricity, sanitation, sewage and waste treatment as well as persistent discrimination against and segregation of Roma children within schools. MEPs also highlight the lack of health care, long-term unemployment, police abuse and inadequate access to justice.
To remedy this situation, Parliament calls for short- and long-term strategies supported by sufficient EU and national funding, in particular the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and national recovery and resilience plans.
Member states should distribute funds regionally and locally to better respond to the immediate needs of Roma people living in settlements in the EU. Any obstacles, including direct and indirect forms of discrimination, that hinder funding from being used effectively, must be dealt with.
The Commission should establish an early warning mechanism to identify the abuse or misuse of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and other EU funds earmarked for addressing the situation of Roma people, MEPs say. They also urge the Commission to gradually eradicate marginalised Roma settlements across the EU by 2030. Involving members of the Roma community who do quality social work in the settlements would be a way of convincing Roma people to leave them.
Focus on children, youth and Roma participation
MEPs call for Roma children to be properly included in the national Child Guarantee action plans. The reinforced Youth Guarantee and Erasmus Plus should be used to advance social cohesion and employment among Roma youth. They also believe that Roma participation and leadership should be a qualitative target in national Roma strategic frameworks to advance social inclusion and democratic participation.
Finally, they point to the untapped potential of highly educated young Roma people as a driver of positive change.
The resolution was adopted with 486 votes in favour, 109 against and 38 abstentions.
According to the European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, 63% of Roma are not in education, employment or training, compared to the EU average of 12%. 80% of Roma people are living below their country’s at-risk-of-poverty threshold. 41% of Roma in the nine EU member states surveyed for the EU-MIDIS II felt discriminated against because of their Roma background in at least one area of daily life, such as job-seeking, work, housing, health and education.