December 2, 2016
Genval, 2 December 2016 – While the European Commission tried to bring together all stakeholders including Member States, Agencies, MEPs, NGOs and Roma themselves to demonstrate strong commitment for Roma integration, the final outcome could be questionable in light of the low turn out, the limited plenary space for Roma to speak and the lack of Commission representation in the panels.
It must be noted that the commitment from the European Commission is there: this was already the 10th Roma Platform and since the adoption of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, there are significant resources dedicated to Roma in the EU. If you revise my impressions on the last European Roma Summit (Roma Summit without Roma involvement? – 4th April 2014), there is improvement: the theme of the event ‘mutual accountability’ was decided following an extensive consultation, half of the panellists were Roma themselves and almost a full day was spent with interactive exchange of views among stakeholder which still can bring some results.
However, all of these achievements can be put into brackets because of many frustration participants observed. First of all, many registered participants did no show up. Not having access to the signature list, I would guess the event gathered 100 participants instead of 200. I missed responsible attachés -who are involved in the daily policy making in the field of Roma integration – and relevant officials. I missed the high ministerial participation and panels with 6-7 speakers simply do not make sense. Roma wanted to speak and to be heard but instead of that they were obliged to listen at plenary level – and that cannot be replaced by workshop conversations in the second day. While the theme was ‘Joint Responsiblity’ the European Commission was surprisingly missing from the panels and from the discussions despite the fact that it has huge responsibility and resources. The relevant DGs for the specific aspects of Roma integration, and especially DG SANTÉ for health were not visible. And finally, participants could not ask any question to Commissioner Jourová.
What were the key hihglights from my point of view?
The Fundamental Rights Agency has issued a landmark report concerning the current situation of Roma integration (Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) Roma – Selected findings ). It must be noted the specific, negative emphasis given for Roma women, as apparently their situation is worse. Remember: no Roma integration can be achieved without taking Roma women on board.
— EU FundamentalRights (@EURightsAgency) 2016. november 29.
What is get measured will be done. This survey should be a wake up call for more , targeted data collecation to have a clearer picture about the magnitude of the problem.
— Zoltán MassayKosubek (@EU_ZMK) 2016. november 29.
The fact that the Commissioner herself acknowledged that the Roma integration process failed speaks for itself.
— Zoltán MassayKosubek (@EU_ZMK) 2016. november 30.
Having a look ath the current Roma public health emergency, 24 NGOs felt the need to issue a joint statement highlighting that action is needed to improve Roma health and ensure access to healthcare without discrimination and antigypsyism.
— ISSA (@ISSA_ECD) 2016. november 29.
About EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies in a nutshell
Taking into account all of this factors, one of the biggest achievements of the successful Hungarian EU presidency in the first half of 2011 was to set up the European Roma Framework and the assessment of the national Roma integration strategies.
In the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies, all Member States are expected to present to the European Commission a strategy for Roma inclusion or sets of policy measures within their social inclusions policies for improving the situation of Roma people on a yearly basis. For this purpose they set up national contact points .
The European Commission assesses these strategies and publishes its conclusions. The national strategies are available in the language version provided to the European Commission. Factsheets of the assessment made by the Commission are also available for each country on a yearly basis.
In 2012, the Commission assessed for the first time the national strategies on Roma presented by the Member States and adopted horizontal conclusion according to the relevant strengths and weaknesses.