EU countries must stop illegal expulsion of Roma people and end ethnic profiling, police abuse and human rights violations perpetrated against them, says Parliament in a non-binding resolution adopted on Thursday. It assesses member states' strategies to boost Roma integration and calls for more funds to prevent discrimination and reach small community projects.
The resolution condemns attempts by EU countries to unlawfully limit the right of Roma people to freedom of movement in the EU. With an estimated population of 10 to12 million in Europe (approximately 6 million living in the EU), Roma people are the biggest ethnic minority in Europe.
More money, better spent
The Commission and member states must ensure sufficient funding for Roma integration, from both national budgets and EU programmes such as the European Social Fund or the European Regional Development Fund. MEPs also suggest providing special grant schemes, such as flexible and small funds for community projects.
The EU executive should continue assessing how member states spend EU funds earmarked for Roma integration and report its findings to Parliament and Council every year, MEPs suggest.
Parliament urges the Commission to monitor the fundamental rights of Roma, anti-Roma actions and hate crime against Roma throughout the EU. It should take legal action, they say, if these rights are violated, especially concerning freedom of movement and residence, access to healthcare and education, non-discrimination, protection of personal data and the ban on creating registers based on ethnicity and race.
Education and jobs
Member states must put an end to segregation in education and the placement of Roma children in special schools, the resolution says. Ensuring quality education for all Roma children, preventing early school-leaving and guaranteeing access to the Erasmus programme are among their priorities.
EU countries should avoid discrimination in employment, make it easier for Roma people to access the job market and set up specialised training schemes. MEPs also urge the European institutions to create specific internship programmes and employ Roma people.
Gender aspects of Roma integration
In a separate non-binding resolution passed on Tuesday, Parliament calls on the member states to tackle discrimination faced by Roma women. It suggests measures such as flexible working hours, tax relief, adequate welfare arrangements and the extension of childcare facilities.