Closer eyes on EU Roma inclusion projects

The Roma Working Group of the European People's Party held an open session on the results of the EU pilot project on Roma inclusion. Lívia Járóka - chair of the Working Group - emphasized that assessing the transferability of programmes, strengthening their monitoring and developing an early warning mechanism for failing projects were the necessary prerequisites of upscaling real good practices.

MEP Lívia Járóka, highlighted that upscaling specific projects with indisputable results were necessary to move a strategy beyond words to actions, for which – beside strengthening monitoring and evaluation mechanisms – it was indispensable to check the transferability of the applied methods and to provide a system of early warning, so that any specific project or action in difficulties could be addressed with a view to resolving the problems as rapidly as possible.

 The pilot project consists of four strands – early childhood education, microcredit, awareness raising and data collection – and was jointly initiated by the European Parliament's conservative, socialist and liberal groups. The two-years program – as presented by Alexandros Tsolakis, advisor to the director for policy development of the Commission's Directorate General for Regional Policy that is responsible for the project – has been launched in June 2009.

 John Walsh, deputy head of the thematic unit, in DG Regio presented the results of the "Good Start" programme for early childhood education implemented by the Roma Education Fund, the microcredit scheme run by the Polgár Foundation and Kiútprogram and the awareness raising campaign launched by the European Roma Grassroots Organization. The fourth strand of the project focusing on data collection and monitoring was presented by Andrey Ivanov, senior advisor of UNDP and Joost de Laat, economist of the World Bank on behalf of their organizations running the project.

 The presentations were followed by a roundtable discussion, where Katarina Mathernova, the senior advisor of the World Bank and Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director for Equality in the Commission's DG Justice. Answering the question of Járóka the director confirmed that the Commission was expecting the submission of the national Roma inclusion strategies until the end of the year, and that after thoroughly evaluation the Commission would also present specific recommendations for their revision. Kinga Göncz socialist MEP also joined the session, speaking about the necessity of revising the post-2014 Multiannual Financial Framework in favour of marginalized communities.