Roma Strategy: Further tasks ahead to succeed

Today, the European Parliament held a plenary debate in Strasbourg to discuss the situation of Roma in the Member States. In her speech, Hungarian Fidesz MEP Lívia Járóka pointed out the four tasks that wait for the EU institutions: the evaluation and possible revision of national Roma inclusion strategies by the Commission; the development of a European crisis map evaluating the most disadvantaged micro-regions; the modification of the next Multiannual Financial Framework and the full transposition and implementation of the EU directive on equal treatment.

The European Parliament's debate on the situation of Roma in Member States was held with the participation of representatives from the European Council and the European Commission. In her speech on behalf of the EPP Group, MEP Lívia Járóka pointed out four tasks that are essential for the success of the European Framework of National Roma Inclusion Strategies adopted in June.

According to Járóka, firstly the institutional framework needs to be finalized. For this purpose, the European Commission must strictly evaluate the national strategies due to be submitted until the end of this year, and it also needs to present specific recommendations for their possible revision. Secondly she emphasized, that a crisis map must be established to identify and measure the underdeveloped areas which are struggling with serious structural disadvantages and where complex immediate intervention is necessary. Járóka expressed her hope that the recently ongoing survey which has been carried out by the Fundamental Rights Agency under the supervision of the Commission will fulfil these requirements. She called the modification of the next Multiannual Financial Framework the third task, so that EU level and national funds could contribute to the substantial and enduring improvement of the life conditions of Roma. As examples, Járóka mentioned the longer time coverage and greater territorial relevance of programmes; the eligibility of the provision of quality public services and the review of co-financing rules, so that projects targeting Roma could possibly be required to have a lesser share of co-financing from the country, with a higher share by the EU. Fourth, the 2000/43 directive on equal treatment must be fully implemented by the Member States and enforced by the Commission. "National Equality Bodies have to be strengthened, and all violations of these legal principles need to be immediately reported and sanctioned as appropriate" – underlined the single Roma member of the EP.

In her answer, Elżbieta Radziszewska, the Polish government's Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment called the unsustainable life conditions of Roma Europe's shame and confirmed that the Council would pay special attention to the implementation of the framework strategy, including the proper complexity of national strategies. The representative of the Polish Presidency also praised the work of Lívia Járóka as the Rapporteur of the European Parliament's report on the EU strategy on Roma inclusion. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Youth and Sport praised the political and institutional unity behind the framework strategy and confirmed that the Commission is committed to its effective implementation. Vassiliou also emphasized that the goal was to grant equal access for Roma to all fundamental rights and highlighted that the Commission will closely monitor the proper transposition of the 2000/43 EU directive on equal treatment.