World Roma Day on 8 April is a day for celebrating the many ways that people of Roma origin enrich our diverse European societies. However, it is also a day when we should remember their persecution and discrimination in Europe through the centuries.
In 2015, this day serves as a timely reminder that in order to honour its past commitments, the European Union and its Member States must intensify their efforts to ensure the fundamental rights of all Roma in the EU are fully respected and fulfilled.
"Evidence shows that many Roma continue to suffer social exclusion and discrimination in key areas of social life, such as employment, education, health and housing," said FRA Interim Director Constantinos Manolopoulos. "These phenomena are intrinsically linked to the racism and intolerance against Roma in many communities across the EU. Anti-Roma prejudice and racism undermine social inclusion efforts and community cohesion, and must be tackled decisively alongside efforts to improve their socio-economic conditions."
In December 2013, the Council of the EU recommended that Member States put in place a series of policy measures to promote the full equality of Roma. In its 2014 report on the implementation of the EU framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, the European Commission acknowledged that progress, although still slow, is being made in most Member States. Efforts nevertheless need to be intensified, especially in Member States issued with country-specific recommendations in respect to Roma integration by the Council.
FRA supports the EU and Member States’ work in this area by providing evidence for policy decisions and by helping them to develop tools and methods to improve the assessment of the effectiveness of their activities. In addition, FRA is working directly at the local level through its Local Engagement for Roma Inclusion project to identify catalysts and obstacles to Roma inclusion in practice. To this end, FRA engages directly with local stakeholders, authorities, and Roma and non-Roma residents to support efforts towards their participation in shaping, implementing and monitoring Roma inclusion policies and activities.