EU Urges Member States to Integrate the Roma

     (CN) – The EU has pledged to prioritize integration of the Roma population, but “anti-Gypsyism” still pervades in many countries, an annual report found.
     Published on June 17, the European Commission’s National Roma Integration Report says 85 percent of people in Italy and 66 percent in France still have a negative view of the Roma.
     In addition to the segregation of Roma children in education, the report takes aim at the marginalization of Roma at later stages in life, when they are looking for work or housing.
     European Commissioner Marianne Thyssen noted that the commission has dedicated more than 90 billion euros “to promote social inclusion and fight discrimination” through the year 2020.
     The commission urged member countries to spend the money to improve the lives of the Roma population in the areas of employment, education and social improvement.
     With member states earmarking 20 billion euro worth of their European Regional Development Fund allocations to inclusive growth, 10.8 billion of that will go toward promoting social inclusion and combating poverty, the report states.
     The EU says a number of investment priorities can be used within this framework to fund Roma inclusion, such as investment in social, health or education infrastructure and providing support for the physical, economic and social regeneration of deprived communities.
     Spain for example is planning to provide vocational training, to prevent dropping out of school, and to provide personalized labor integration.
     “The next step is to ensure the effective implementation of the planned measures,” the EU report says. “It is crucial to have sufficient administrative capacity, including at local level, in order to absorb available funds.”
     The commission encouraged its member countries to enforce antidiscrimination laws, fight hate speech and anti-Gypsyism and “support the achievement of Roma integration goals through inclusive mainstream policy reform and sustainable national funding.”

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