Assessing the implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies and the Council Recommendation on Effective Roma integration measures in the Member States 2016.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions
Commission staff working document accompanying document to Assessing the implementation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies and the Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States — 2016
Key aspects of the Communication regarding antigypsyism:
- The Commission’s role in supporting Member States
2.2. Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism
In 2015, the Commission stepped up action to fight discrimination, segregation and anti-Gypsyism, including hate speech and hate crime. As guardian of the Treaties, the Commission has a role to guarantee that anti-discrimination legislation, such as the Racial Equality Directive, is properly transposed and enforced. The Commission launched a second infringement case on the discrimination of Roma children in education, and continued to investigate suspected discrimination in education and housing in several Member States. The Commission entered dialogue with Member States to ensure full and correct transposition and implementation of the Council Framework Decision on racism and xenophobia after having acquired the power to oversee its application. It also stepped up efforts to assist Member States to ensure effective action on the ground against hate speech and hate crime. It entered into discussion with IT companies, Member States and civil society to ensure the fast removal of illegal hate speech online and to promote the development of counter-narratives. The Commission launched the ‘for Roma with Roma’ transnational awareness-raising campaign. It aims at fighting anti-Roma stereotypes through working with media, promoting cultural understanding, organising school drawing competitions and supporting twinning projects between local authorities. In 2015, the Commission published a set of three reference materials to support Member States in fighting discrimination and segregation:
- Guidance on how the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds can be used to tackle educational and spatial segregation, with experts providing implementation advice to the Member States most concerned.
- Know your rights brochure with guidance on how to present a discrimination claim, explaining victims’ rights in straightforward language to improve enforcement of equality directives and rights awareness.
- European Toolkit for Schools on good practices in education, including practices on providing targeted support to Roma children and working with Roma families.
The Commission strongly supported the European Parliament resolution on anti-Gypsyism and the EU recognition of the memorial day of the Roma genocide. Under its Europe for Citizens programme, the Commission funded projects commemorating the Roma holocaust, and — under the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme — local, national and transnational projects on Roma integration and anti-discrimination.
- State of play on Roma integration in Member States
3.1. Horizontal measures
Discrimination continues to be widespread across the EU and is present in all societies, and in all key areas. This is confirmed by the findings of the recent Eurobarometer survey and feedback from civil society. Member States focus on promoting intercultural dialogue, diversity, information on Roma history and culture, including the Roma holocaust. Some of them already include this information in their school curricula. It is important to address the fight against discrimination of Roma by educating children and putting education in this wider perspective. Some Member States put in place training activities aimed at sensitising civil servants and service providers so that they have proper intercultural understanding when working with Roma. Some also run campaigns against hate crime. All these measures are essential in order to promote equality. Member States are encouraged to develop them. Despite these efforts, no real improvements can be seen on the ground. Therefore a more systematic approach is needed and Member States are urged to demonstrate greater political will to combat discrimination. Anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of racism, closely related to deeply rooted stereotypes and stigmatisation of Roma, is on the rise. It is related to increased radicalisation and extremism in the EU. It is crucial that public authorities distance themselves from racist and xenophobic discourse that targets Roma and effectively criminalise anti-Roma rhetoric, hate speech and hate crime. It is important to realise that a reluctance to act also contributes to the acceptance of intolerance in societies.
Although some Member States took steps to eliminate discrimination and segregation of Roma through the adoption of pro-inclusive legislation – notably in the field of education to foster an equal access for Roma children in mainstream education – exclusion from the workplace, segregation in education and housing persist. Therefore Member States should also make greater efforts to ensure the effective practical enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation in order to effectively eliminate discriminatory and segregation practices.
Most Member States reported measures on promoting Roma participation, but more focus on Roma youth is needed. The situation of Roma children remains particularly worrying. Some Member States undertake measures to fight harassment and bullying. Still, exclusion continues. In some Member States, it is linked to the lack of registration and identity documents, low participation in early childhood education and care, and higher drop-out rates.
3.6. Structural measures
In many Member States, cooperation between the Contact Points and Equality Bodies is established. Both actors feed policies and provide support, when relevant. There is still a need to increase the human and financial resources for both, to improve their cooperation and make it more effective.
The Commission calls on Member States to address the following urgent priorities:
Enforce anti-discrimination and anti-racism and xenophobia legislation and safeguards at national and local levels by:
o monitoring, fighting, reporting and sanctioning anti-Roma discrimination in all policy areas;
o criminalising public incitement to violence or hatred including on the grounds of ethnic origin;
o addressing trafficking in human beings with gender specific and child sensitive measures;
o targeting majority society and key stakeholders with awareness raising and anti-discrimination campaigns to promote understanding of the economic imperative and mutual benefits of Roma inclusion.
- Prevent evictions on the grounds of ethnic origin by ensuring that any evictions take place in full respect of fundamental rights, providing adequate alternative housing to evicted families to avoid homelessness and aggravating exclusion, and by exploring the opportunities under ESI Funds’ investments to improve the housing situation of Roma.
- Eliminate segregation in education and housing in line with Commission guidance through legislation, inclusive policy reform, teacher education, dissemination of inclusive methods and explicit desegregation measures combined with targeted support to tackle all barriers to access, using opportunities under ESI Funds to the full.
The Commission will continue to support Member States, ensure the necessary commitment to Roma inclusion at the European level, and use all available means to promote dialogue and cooperation. Key Commission priorities include the following:
- Take action to ensure full enforcement of anti-discrimination legislation and to fight antiGypsyism by making use of available legal instruments.