On 4 December, the European Commission released a communication on the evaluation of the EU Roma Framework 2011-2020.
The key findings are:
- Progress towards Roma integration is assessed as overall limited. Education is the area with most progress (improvements in early school leaving, early childhood education and compulsory schooling, but deterioration in school segregation). Limited or no progress in access to employment, healthcare and housing, with worsening situation for young Roma & women.
- Flexibility led to fragmentation: the EU Roma Framework gave member states flexibility to adapt their objectives for National Roma Integration Strategies to their national contexts. This led to a fragmented implementation, reduced effectiveness and limited progress towards Roma integration.
- Lack of comprehensive approach to Roma inclusion that require integration strategies to address simultaneously multiple causes of exclusion.
- Limited capacity to deal with the diversity within Roma population: the framework did not pay sufficient attention to targeting specific groups among Roma who are most vulnerable (women, youth, children, EU mobile Roma)
- Positive added value: the framework put Roma inclusion on the EU and national agendas, developed structures (national contact points and Roma platforms) and increased coherence between EU policy, legal and funding instruments that have been mobilised and aligned for Roma inclusion, such as the European Semester, Racial Equality Directive and ESIF 2014-2020. However these achievements are mostly linked to the EU, while there is insufficient mainstreaming of Roma integration goals into policies at national level.
To improve Roma integration after 2020, the evaluation recommends that the EU and member states:
- Combine mainstreaming of Roma needs into inclusive policies and services (reflect Roma needs into mainstream policies) with targeted programmes to address specific disadvantages of Roma
- Increase focus on fighting discrimination and antigypsyism – e.g. encourage more efforts at national level to tackle hate crime, hate speech and stigmatisation. However, a clearer focus on fighting discrimination should complement, not replace the inclusion approach.
- Empowerment and capacity building of Roma civil society and local governments
- Address the diversity among Roma by better reflecting the specific needs of vulnerable sub-groups, especially Roma women, children and EU mobile Roma.
- Set targets and indicators to monitor progress on Roma integration objectives
EUROCITIES is pleased that the Commission took on board some of the key concerns from cities:
- Need to better channel EU funding to build capacity of local governments to fight discrimination and promote social inclusion of Roma. The communication makes explicit reference that “EU funds should be used to a larger extent to build local capacities and promote the development, implementation and monitoring of local strategies.”
- Better address the specific needs of EU-mobile Roma. The communication explicitly mentions that “although a key trigger for the launch of the EU Roma Framework has been intra-EU mobility after enlargment, the framework and most National Roma Integration Strategies lack consideration of the needs of EU-mobile Roma, non-EU nationals or stateless Roma”.
- Recognition of the Urban Agenda as an example of mainstreaming Roma inclusion into other areas with explicit reference to our EUROCITIES Roma mapping of 2017 where the link between Roma inclusion and Urban Agenda is strongly highlighted.
We will continue advocating for a multi-level governance of the post-2020 EU Roma Framework in partnership with cities because Roma integration can only be effective if starting from local level.
Read the full Commission communication in your own language here.