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20.10.2019Workshop on future policies for Roma

A post-2020 EU initiative on Roma equality and inclusion is needed to make more progress. It should address antigypsyism, discrimination and socio-economic inclusion simultaneously. The revised EU Framework  and new Council recommendation should include a stronger focus on fighting antigypsyism, strengthening the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies, empowering civil society and Roma participation. In respect of content, a broadened approach to equality and inclusion is needeed, where fighting antigypsyism is an additional self-standing thematic area and a cross-cutting priority, combatting poverty and increasing child protection are promoted, EU mobile Roma are included in the NRIS. In terms of terminology, “integration” should be replaced by “inclusion” and emphasis put on the “rights deprivation” of Roma people in contrast to labelling Roma as “vulnerable”.

These were some of the conclusions from the workshop on future policies for Roma organized by DG Justice and Consumers on October 1 in Brussels.  It was attended by 130 participants, including National Roma Contact Points from the EU and the enlargement region, Members of the European Parliament, representatives from civil society active at the European, national and local levels, representatives from international organisations and staff from the European Commission services. Bulgaria was represented by Rositza Ivanova (National Roma Contact Point) and Deyan Kolev (Center Amalipe).

Welcoming the participants. Ms Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality stressed that, the EU Framework has shown positive results and an initial change in trends. Commissioner Jourová stressed, however, that the work is far from done and referred to first results of a new Eurobarometer survey on discrimination showing that Roma are still particularly affected by discrimination. She urged all participants to do more against the persisting socio-economic exclusion of Roma, discrimination and antigypsyism and expressed her wish that the next Commission further strengthens its policies to advance Roma equality and inclusion.

The agenda was divided into four sessions:

1.       Policy options for EU action on Roma equality and inclusion post-2020

2.       Measuring progress in Roma equality and inclusion post-2020

3.       Fighting antigypsyism and promoting Roma participation post-2020

4.       Addressing the diversity within the Roma population post-2020

 

To facilitate the discussion in the sessions background papers had been prepared in advance and were presented at the beginning of each session, together with a set of questions for the debate: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/combatting-discrimination/roma- and-eu/roma-integration-eu/workshop-future-policies-roma_en

The discussions were very intensive and fruitful. Detailed information about the discussions you can find here.

 

The forth  session was focused on the questions of how a potential post 2020 initiative could better reflect and deal with the diversity within the Roma population, in particular with the needs of women, youth, children, as well as EU mobile citizens and migrants. The session was introduced by Deyan Kolev, Center Amalipe, who referred to the term “Roma” as an umbrella term and the fact that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is ineffective. He pointed to the Roma unity that is present behind the diversity of the Roma population and that in view of a post-2020 EU initiative for Roma inclusion, a real benefit can be generated from reaching out and engaging all social strata through a mix of measures and approaches, including – better educated and relatively well integrated Roma. He underlined that a post-2020 EU initiative could bring strong added value through setting specific EU goals regarding Roma women, youth and children, increasing the awareness of the gender dimension and child rights in all the other fields, encouraging Member States to make full use of available funding opportunities for Roma women, youth and children; and linking it with the implementation of obligations derived from the European acquis such as the Gender Equality Directive and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The presentation of Deyan Kolev you can find here

 

Concluding the workshop Mr Szabolcs Schmidt, Head of Unit, Non-discrimination and Roma co-ordination, explained that DG Justice and Consumers has now started preparations for a new post-2020 initiative on Roma equality and inclusion. Preparations will include an impact assessment of possible policy options and the drafting of the policy initiative. The current timeline for adoption of such a policy initiative, including guidance for post-2020 national Roma strategies, is the second half of 2020.

He underlined that this workshop was one element of the targeted consultation of stakeholders to  be conducted for the new initiative. He stressed that there will be more opportunities for discussion, including at the next NRCP meeting, the next regular meeting with civil society, bilateral ad-hoc meetings with organisations preparing contributions, the EU Roma Week and more. As immediate next step, DG Justice would be grateful to receive additional written comments on the background papers until the end of October 2019, to be sent to the functional mailbox JUST-ROMA-POST- 2020@ec.europa.eu.

Mr Schmidt explained that the discussions at the workshop, the forthcoming contributions as well as position papers already received from civil society prior to the workshop will contribute to the impact assessment and the development of a post-2020 initiative on Roma equality and inclusion in various ways:

-          The Impact Assessment will include an assessment of possible policy options and will reflect views expressed by stakeholders (with due consideration to a potential combined option) – prior, during and after the workshop.

-          FRA will further develop the indicators framework presented based on comments received. An indicators framework could potentially become an integral part of a new policy initiative for Roma equality and inclusion.

-          Comments on the discussion notes on antigypsyism, participation and diversity will feed into the finalisation of dedicated reports on these three themes. The reports are being prepared for the Commission by the expert consortium present during the workshop. These are thematic reports focusing on how to address these three issues in a post-2020 initiative. The reports will provide advice to the Commission, but will obviously not replace the drafting of the post-2020 initiative, which is the responsibility of the Commission after due consideration of received contributions.

 

 

 

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