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The available evidence suggests that many Roma (which include Travellers, Gypsies, Manouches, Ashkali and Sinti) live in overwhelmingly poor conditions on the margins of society, and face extreme levels of social exclusion. FRA surveys undertaken in 2008 and 2012 also found that prejudice, intolerance and discrimination affect a large proportion of Roma living in the member states, most of whom are EU citizens.
In April 2011, the European Commission issued a Communication on an EU framework for national Roma integration strategies, which asked FRA to contribute to monitoring and assisting EU-wide efforts to implement the EU’s plan for Roma integration.
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits any discrimination based on race, colour, ethnic or social origin. The chapters on freedoms and solidarity establish the right to education and access to preventive healthcare and medical treatment. The charter also guarantees respect for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.
The FRA currently implements a multiannual Roma programme (2012-2020) with the aim of supporting the EU’s effort to make “a tangible difference to Roma people’s lives.” In this regard the Agency cooperates with governments, EU institutions, the Council of Europe, UN and other international organisations.
Concretely, the FRA
- regularly monitors progress on the ground improving Roma integration in employment, education, healthcare and housing;
- contextualises statistical findings through qualitative, stakeholder-driven research and engagement providing good practice examples on Roma integration issues;
- assists Member States in improving their monitoring of policy outcomes.
In 2011, FRA was asked by the European Commission to increase its research activities on Roma issues, thereby contributing to the newly created Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). The Agency was requested to expand its data collection on Roma to all EU Member States, conduct regular surveys to measure the progress of integration policies, and work with Member States to develop monitoring methods able to compare the situation of Roma across Europe.
In response to the Commission’s request, FRA developed a comprehensive multi-annual programme that focuses on key issues related to Roma integration. Targets set by the Europe 2020 strategy on inclusive economic growth and by the European platform against poverty and social exclusion are also addressed.
The objective of the Roma Programme is to help Member States implement the EU’s Roma integration framework. FRA does this by providing robust, comparable data and insight into the situation of Roma communities, as well as the impact of efforts at improving their situation. The Agency focuses on four priority areas – employment, education, housing and health – from a human rights perspective. Particular attention is paid to fundamental rights issues such as discrimination, anti-gypsyism and related hate crime, as well as issues of citizenship and rights awareness.
FRA collects three types of data for the Roma Programme:
- primary statistical data derived from surveying random samples of the target populations
- primary qualitative data derived from local-level participatory action research
- secondary official data sources and non-official data on Roma
More information about the programme’s implementation is available on the multi-annual Roma Programme project page.
- European Platform for Roma Inclusion
- The 10 Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion
- Communication from the Commission: National Roma Integration Strategies: a first step in the implementation of the EU Framework (May 2012)
- Council conclusions on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 (May 2011)
- Communication from the Commission: An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 (April 2011)
- Communication from the Commission: The social and economic integration of the Roma in Europe (April 2010)
- United Kingdom