Commenting on International Roma Day on 8 April, Joseph Daul, President of the European People's Party and Chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, and MEP Lívia Járóka, the only Roma Member of the European Parliament stated: “Each year, International Roma Day offers an opportunity to commemorate the centuries-long common history of Roma with major societies, to celebrate Roma culture and to assess our achievements in alleviating the unacceptable social exclusion of Europe's largest ethnic minority.
The EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies adopted under the Hungarian EU presidency in 2011 promises to create an optimal environment for inclusion by creating a shared agenda for national inclusion policies and facilitating the circulation of experience and best practice. However, there are several shortcomings to be overcome and the EPP Group will remain the most ardent advocate of Roma inclusion over the coming years.”
“One of the most pressing objectives of our times is to find a way to advance without leaving our most vulnerable citizens behind. The social inclusion of Roma communities is one of the greatest challenges, but also one of the greatest opportunities for the EU, and will therefore remain at the top of the EPP Group's agenda. We will continue our work to provide a renewed sense of hope and opportunity for European Roma and promote the rapid launch of tangible and specific programmes under the auspices of the Framework,” pointed out Joseph Daul.
One of the most pressing objectives of our times is to find a way to advance without leaving our most vulnerable citizens behind
“The launch of the EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies is undoubtedly the most prominent achievement of this legislative term and a quantum leap compared to the situation of previous years. Nevertheless, the initial phase of its implementation has revealed significant deficiencies, which I believe that the post-2014 legislature must remedy, to put the strategy on a more sound and sustainable footing, and to shore up confidence in Roma communities themselves. First, national strategies must be brought closer to reality, adding outcome indicators, baselines and numerical headline targets and allocating enough financial assets to fulfil policy commitments. Second, national strategies must be brought closer to Roma, involving Roma organizations and local NGOs in their planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Third, national strategies must protect Roma, meaning that our efforts to improve the socio-economic status of Roma must go hand-in-hand with the fight against discrimination and anti-gypsysm. Fourth, national strategies must better target Roma by taking into account the multi-dimensional and territorial aspects of poverty and launching integrated multi-sector development programmes for the most deprived micro-regions. Fifth, the Framework should reach Roma outside the EU, by involving neighbouring countries in the European pursuit of Roma integration,” highlighted MEP Lívia Járóka.
National strategies must be brought closer to reality, adding outcome indicators, baselines and numerical headline targets and allocating enough financial assets to fulfil policy commitments
Background: International Roma Day was established by the fourth World Romani Congress held in 1990 in Warsaw, commemorating the first major international meeting of Roma representatives, gathering in 1971 in Orpington, UK. The congress made several important decisions: the International Romani Union was founded, the Romani flag was accepted, the song “Gelem, Gelem” composed by Jarko Jovanovic was adopted as an anthem and delegates unanimously declared April 8 as the International Day of Roma.