International Roma Day: Roma integration in the spotlights

URBACT

By URBACT, on April 9th, 2010

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Roma communities, the European Union’s largest ethnic minority, continue to face persistent discrimination and segregation. On the occasion of the International Roma Day, the European Commission urged Member States in a policy communication published on 7 April 2010 to use EU funds for the social and economic integration of Roma. Ensuring these communities’ access to jobs and non-segregated education, housing and health services is vital to their social inclusion, the report said. The integration of the estimated 10 to 12 million Roma – a population as large as Belgium’s or Greece’s – is a joint responsibility of Member States and EU institutions. A separate report evaluated the progress achieved in integration over the past two years.

In its policy Communication, the Commission outlines an ambitious mid-term programme to meet the biggest challenges for Roma inclusion, including:

  • Mobilising the Structural Funds, including the European Social Fund – which together represent almost half of the EU’s budget – to support Roma inclusion;
  • Taking Roma issues into account in all relevant policy areas at national and EU level, from employment to urban development and from public health to EU expansion;
  • Harnessing the potential of Roma communities to support inclusive growth as part of the Europe 2020 strategy.

URBACT is deeply involved in this process via its Roma-Net project. Indeed, this new URBACT project intends to improve the integration of the Roma population by developing access to key services, active inclusion in the labour market, education and self-help programmes.

Laura Caldironi, URBACT Communication Officer

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