“The integration of Roma would also raise GDP”

The European Commission and the Spanish Presidency of the EU have launched the Second European Roma Summit in Córdoba. In her speech at the beginning of the two-day event, Lívia Járóka MEP (European People's Party) urged the development of a legally binging EU-level strategy, which reckons European Roma primarily not as an ethnic minority but as an economic target audience and is also able to alleviate the poverty concentrated in disadvantaged micro-regions by complex and holistic development programs.

Honouring the International Roma Day, the Spanish Presidency of the EU and the European Commission chose 8th April to launch the Second European Roma Summit, where representatives of EU institutions and leaders of international and Roma NGOs negotiate about the strategy aiming the social inclusion of European Roma. Lívia Járóka, the rapporteur of the EU strategy on the social inclusion of Roma and the only Roma member of the European Parliament (European People’s Party – Fidesz Hungarian Civic Union) said that Roma communities faced very similar problems in most Member States, and since discrimination was only one among the several factors determining their socio-economic exclusion, the strategy would have to reckon them primarily as an economic target audience and not as an ethnic minority. According to Járóka, the strategy must also take into account the strong territorial dimension of poverty and marginalization and must allow of immediate intervention in underdeveloped areas by complex and holistic development programs with a cross-sector integrated approach. A legally binding EU strategy based on the clear commitment of the concerned Member States is not only possible, but according to the theory of international law the soft law tools so far created by the European legal community positively anticipate such means and can be viewed as a promise of the European Communities for a properly enforceable legislation later on – Járóka said. She also emphasized that the overall integration of European Roma was an investment which was simultaneously inevitable and profitable in the long run: if by means of due appropriations and long-term policies their employment indicators would reach the regional average, this could trigger a 4-6 % growth of national GDPs, which is more than any European country spent on national security for example.


For the full text of Lívia Járóka’s speech in Córdoba click here: