Roma integration

EU Member States continued their efforts to improve Roma integration by implementing their national Roma integration strategies following the Council Recommendation of December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures. FRA supports these efforts by regularly collecting data and working with the Member States to develop monitoring methods that allow for efficient reporting on the situation of Roma in the Member States over time.

At the same time, fundamental rights issues affecting Roma continued to make headlines, such as an incident of hate crime against a Roma teenager in France and evictions in Bulgaria and Greece. The European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic concerning segregation in schooling. This emphasises the importance of the EU’s efforts to support national strategies and action that address marginalisation and social exclusion, as well as racism and ethnic discrimination, as these are interlinked phenomena that mutually reinforce each other.

FRA conclusions

In 2014, efforts by the EU and its Member States to fulfil the fundamental rights of Roma are ongoing, with modest progress in the implementation of national Roma integration strategies.

  • The Commission’s report on the application of the equality directives confirms that there is insufficient use of positive action. Such measures can usefully fight discrimination against Roma.
  • EU Member States should intensify efforts using the ESIF to speed up the implementation of their national Roma integration strategies. Moreover, they have to make sure to observe obligations flowing from EU legislation, including the Racial Equality Directive.

Although structures of cooperation among actors involved in Roma integration are gradually being put in place, their operational coordination remains a challenge.

  • Barriers are also identified in the capacity and willingness of local actors, including Roma, to participate effectively and in a meaningful way.
  • Member States are encouraged to ensure that their NRCPs are empowered and resourced to coordinate actions, especially by local authorities, more effectively on the ground and to promote the active and meaningful participation of Roma residents in planning, implementing and evaluating relevant local actions.

Past surveys of Roma households show important differences in the socio-economic and living conditions of Roma and their non-Roma neighbours, which can be influenced by intolerance and discrimination.

  • Member States are encouraged to include measures specifically addressing intolerance and racism in all actions implementing their National Roma Integration Strategies.

Building mutual trust and respect fosters community cohesion and is an essential element for successful social integration efforts.

  • These elements can be incorporated in actions implementing national Roma integration strategies on the ground.
  • Member States should consider incorporating trust-building and community cohesion measures in all actions implementing their National Roma Integration Strategies.

Given the continuing forms of discrimination, segregation and exclusion, there is a need for comprehensive monitoring of Roma integration efforts, to ensure that they are on track and produce positive result.

  • The rights-based indicator framework developed by several Member States, FRA and the Commission can be a valuable tool for assessing concrete actions, measures and outcomes against rights standards and EU policy targets. Member States should consider testing and using the rights-based indicator framework developed by the working party on Roma integration indicators.

There is evidence of continuing segregation of Roma children in education and of Roma women facing particular challenges.

  • Member States are encouraged to continue their efforts to stop any practice segregating Roma children in education and to secure their fundamental right to equal access to good-quality schooling. Promoting gender equality should be an important priority in the implementation of national Roma integration strategies. Outcomes in this respect should be effectively monitored.