On the International Roma Day on 8 April, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, and Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Olivér Várhelyi issued the following statement:
“On the occasion of the International Roma Day, we celebrate, together with our largest European ethnic minority, their unique contribution to European diversity and heritage. We also mark the 50th anniversary of the First World Romani Congress.
Yet, many Roma still face prejudice, discrimination, antigypsyism and socioeconomic exclusion in their daily lives. In addition, the global pandemic has hit Roma communities hard. We must do everything possible to address not only the current crisis affecting them, but also to bring real change on the ground.
To that end, the European Commission adopted an ambitious EU Roma Strategic Framework – a new 10-year plan to achieve equality for Roma in the European Union, and beyond. The Framework includes comprehensive lists of measures to combat discrimination and antigypsyism, advance social inclusion, promote participation of Roma in society and ensure equal access to quality mainstream education, employment, health and housing throughout Europe.
Based on this Framework, the Recommendation for Roma equality, inclusion and participation was unanimously adopted by EU Member States. It sent a strong and clear signal that Member States are determined to address the multiple challenges Roma communities face across the EU. Beyond EU, the EU Roma Strategic Framework also plays a key role in the accession negotiations with the Western Balkans.
Member States’ commitment is vital to achieving solid results over the next ten years. Europe still has a long way to go to achieve real equality for Roma, respect for diversity and mutual understanding for historical experience. By working together we can make a difference and unlock the huge potential of Roma for the benefit of both Roma themselves and Europe as a whole.”
The Roma are Europe’s largest minority community with 10-12 million Roma living in the EU and in the enlargement region.
Although their situation has improved both in the EU and in the enlargement region – predominantly in the area of education – Europe still has a long way to go to achieve real equality for Roma. Marginalisation persists, and many Roma continue to face a combination of disproportionate discrimination, antigypsyism and socioeconomic exclusion in their daily lives.