The EU must involve candidate countries into its strategy on Roma inclusion

10 February 2010, Strasbourg - The European Parliament held a debate on the 2009 progress reports of Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey. In her remarks, Lívia Járóka MEP (European People's Party) urged the earliest involvement of candidate countries into the EU's strategy on Roma inclusion.

In her explanation of vote Lívia Járóka reminded that by realizing the importance of establishing the legal framework for anti-discrimination, the EU had managed to enforce some real improvements through hardening the accession conditions for new member states. Járóka welcomed that the progress reports for 2009 were rather critical towards the achievements of the three countries in question, revealing that only Croatia could attain some slight improvement in fostering the enrolment of Roma children into preschool education. She emphasized that candidate countries had to be involved into the European level pursuit of Roma integration as soon as possible, since accession negotiations granted an unparalleled opportunity to trigger a substantial shift in the governmental attitudes. According to the MEP, all European countries – present and future members of the European Community – must engage themselves in a concerted effort in order to overcome the historic social exclusion of the continents largest ethnic minority and sign up for a community action plan, which provides the proper legal leverage to force the participants comply with their own pledges.


The European Commission has released its staff working documents on the progress of Croatia, Macedonia and Turkey last autumn. All the three reports dedicate a separate section to the situation of Roma minority and reproach the three candidate countries for discrimination against Roma in the fields of employment, education, health care and housing, as well as the weakness of the institutional structure and the cancellation of promised budgetary appropriations. Only in the case of Croatia gave the European Commission positive evaluation to certain trends concerning the social inclusion of Roma: such as the increasing number of Roma children enrolled in early education, or launching partly EU-financed infrastructural investments in Roma settlements.