"The framework for coordinating national Roma integration strategies adopted today by the European Council is undoubtedly a historic step", said Lívia Járóka MEP, rapporteur of the EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion. The Council Conclusions adopt many key recommendations set by the Járóka Report.
The European Council has made a historic step today by unanimously adopting the conclusions of the Hungarian Presidency on the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. Similar to the Commission's communication in early April, the Council Conclusions also incorporate many recommendations of the European Parliament's report, such as the appointment of national contact points for the national strategies, the simplification of funding procedures and the putting in place a robust monitoring mechanism with clear benchmarks to ensure that tangible results are measured. The principle of territorial targeting – i.e. concentrating development efforts in disadvantaged micro-regions – and the incorporation of an enlargement dimension involving candidate countries are also taken on board. The document furthermore reinforces the Commission's task of assessing national plans right after their submission and reporting annually on the progress of integration and the achievement of goals.
Thanks for the Hungarian Government's efforts the Council has embraced the key proposals of the European Parliament and by having reached such an elaborated agreement on the issue at the highest possible political level, this day marks a milestone in the process of developing an EU-coordinated and locally-implemented action plan for the social inclusion of Roma. From now on, it will be up to the Member States to make their pledges by implementing the strategy and to realise its goals under the scrutiny of the Parliament and the Commission.