New resources for housing intervention in favour of Roma

The European Parliament held a debate on the regulations governing the European Regional Development Fund as regards the eligibility of housing interventions in favour of marginalised communities. In her speech Lívia Járóka MEP (European People's Party -Hungarian Civic Union) welcomed the amendments and urged a community action plan aiming the development of disadvantaged regions and combating the social exclusion of Roma.

The European Parliament debated the first reading of the report about amending the rules of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) regarding housing interventions in favour of marginalised communities. In the late night debate Lívia Járóka welcomed that ERDF funds wouldn’t be restricted to urban areas only, would be available both for housing rehabilitation and building new houses, and that also old member states would have access to the funds. She reminded that Europe as a whole was affected by the problems of marginalized communities, since “ghetto” areas with a significant regional lag hamper the entire European development. Járóka emphasized that a significant part of European Roma lived in such undeveloped regions, the development of which required immediate and complex interventions, supported by major financial resources. To this end, the MEP recommended to dedicate resources at a European level for levelling up exclusively LAU 1 administrative units. According to Járóka, a truly non-partisan and trans-term community action plan was necessary, which by means of proper financial resources and binding legal force could achieve substantial improvement in all of the so called “Laeken Indicators” reflecting the extent of social inclusion.

 

Commissioner Paweł Samecki representing the European Commission indicated that the “integrated approach” contained by the new regulation ensures that a housing intervention is part of a broader intervention including aspects relating to housing such as social services, education, and economic activities. He added that the more effective functioning of the ERDF would foster the social integration of segregated communities and would help accessing the labour market in underdeveloped areas. Lambert van Nistelrooij (European People’s Party) emphasized that the regulation in question would only set the procedural framework and the specific criteria for combating poverty and social exclusion would have to be defined later. After the vote Járóka expressed her hope that further elements could be added to the new regulation, by which the living conditions of Roma could substantially be improved.