Procedure : 2013/2066(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0349/2013

Texts tabled :

A7-0349/2013

Debates :

PV 09/12/2013 - 21
CRE 09/12/2013 - 21

Votes :

PV 10/12/2013 - 9.1

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2013)0545

REPORT     
PDF 230kDOC 126k
25 October 2013
PE 516.873v03-00 A7-0349/2013

on gender aspects of the European Framework of National Roma Inclusion Strategies

(2013/2066(INI))

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Rapporteur: Lívia Járóka

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on Gender Aspects of the European Framework of National Roma Inclusion Strategies

(2013/2066(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights, in particular Articles 1, 14, 15, 21, 23, 24, 25, 34, and 35,

–   having regard to international human rights law, notably the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the 1992 UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–   having regard to European conventions protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR); the European Social Charter and the related recommendations of the European Committee of Social Rights; the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of the Council of Europe; and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence,

–   having regard to Articles 2, 3 and 6 of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 8, 9 and 10 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 (COM(2011)0173) and the European Council Conclusions of 24 June 2011,

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on National Roma Integration Strategies: a first step in the implementation of the EU Framework (COM(2012)0226),

–   having regard to the Proposal for a Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States (COM(2013)0460),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication on steps forward in implementing national Roma integration strategies (COM(2013)0454),

–   having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC(1) of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin,

–   having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC(2) of 27 November 2000 Establishing a General Framework for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation,

–   having regard to the Commission's proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426 final),

–   having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on the situation of Roma women in the EU(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2011 on the EU strategy on Roma inclusion(4),

–   having regard to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) Analysis of Roma survey results by gender, provided by the FRA following a request made under Rule 126,

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A7-0349/2013),

A. whereas the Strategy for Equality between women and men 2010-2015 requires the Commission to ‘support the promotion of gender equality in the implementation of all aspects of the Europe 2020 Strategy’ and whereas the Council conclusions on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) demand ‘a gender perspective to be applied in all policies and actions for advancing Roma inclusion’;

B.  whereas Roma women often face multiple and intersectional discrimination on the grounds of gender and ethnic origin – which is more intense than that against Roma men or non-Roma women – and have limited access to employment, education, health, social services and decision-making; whereas Roma women are often victims of racism, prejudice and stereotypes that have a negative impact on their real integration;

C. whereas Roma women are subject to patriarchal and sexist traditions that prevent them from exercising their freedom of choice in fundamental issues of their lives such as education, work, sexual and reproductive health and even marriage; whereas discrimination against Roma women cannot be justified by tradition, but must be addressed while respecting tradition and diversity;

D. whereas the risk of poverty for Roma women exceeds that of Roma men and whereas Roma families with four or more children are at greatest risk of poverty in the EU;

E.  whereas commonly used indicators tend to neglect problems such as in-work poverty, energy poverty, violence against women and girls, the poverty of large families and single parents, child poverty, and the social exclusion of women;

F.  whereas older Roma women are exposed to a higher risk of poverty due to the majority of them having worked in the informal economy without remuneration or social security affiliation;

G. whereas the overwhelming majority of Roma adults classified as ‘inactive’ are women and – partly due to the traditional labour division between women and men and due to racism and sexism existing within European labour markets – the number of active-aged Roma women in paid employment is only about half that of Roma men, with the figures being similar in terms of self-employment;

H. whereas data from all countries show that Roma women face severe exclusion in the field of employment as well as discrimination in the workplace when looking for employment and when in work; whereas Roma women also remain excluded from the formal economy and are hampered by limited education opportunities, inadequate housing, poor healthcare, traditional gender roles and general marginalisation as well as discrimination from majority communities; whereas the national reports for implementing the EU Framework for NRIS still do not focus adequately on the aspect of gender equality;

I.   whereas it is significantly harder for mothers of large families or single mothers to work further away from their homes and families in disadvantaged rural areas;

J.   whereas the literacy rate and educational performance of Roma women fall significantly short of both that of Roma men and non-Roma women, and whereas the majority of Roma girls are early school leavers and a significant proportion of them has never attended school;

K. whereas the economic crisis has had a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of Roma women, aggravating their long unacceptable situation, with more than a quarter of all Roma women being limited in their daily activities by health problems;

L.  whereas the lack of respect for comprehensive sexual and reproductive rights, including access to contraception, is an obstacle to Roma women’s empowerment and gender equality and leads to unplanned pregnancies, including teenage pregnancies, which disrupts the education and job opportunities of girls; whereas early motherhood is largely a consequence of the lack of appropriate access to social services and inadequate health structures which have not addressed the needs of Roma women;

M. whereas due to their low socio-economic status and the discrimination they perceive in health care, Roma women are unaware of most of their rights and resort to medical services much less than the majority of the population;

N. whereas Roma women and girls are disproportionately affected by several diseases – including HIV/AIDS – but prevention programmes for them are commonly under-prioritised and under-financed, and the accessibility of screenings remains low;

O. whereas extreme poverty, gender inequality and internal discrimination expose Roma women to a higher risk of trafficking, prostitution, domestic violence and exploitation, while facing additional obstacles in accessing protection;

P.  whereas a large number of Roma women have been victims of domestic violence at the hands of their husbands, in-laws and other family members; whereas the great majority of violence and human rights abuses against Roma women goes unreported due to the fact that violence against women is still accepted in patriarchal societies as a legal exercise of power but also due to the fact that perpetrators of violence against women are rarely held accountable for their acts, which discourages women from seeking legal help;

Q. whereas acts of violence against Roma women are frequently committed by authorities in all EU Member States in the form of deep discrimination and clear breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights which can take different forms, such as collecting and storing data in registries on Roma people and children solely on the basis of ethnic background, or the eviction of hundreds of people without offering any adequate alternative housing or support, which are shameful and callous acts that completely ignore Member States’ international human rights obligations;

R.  whereas all EU Institutions and Member States bear a responsibility to eradicate violence against women and girls and, likewise, to end impunity, bringing perpetrators of hate crime, hate speech, discrimination and violence against Roma women and girls to justice;

S.  whereas Council Directive 2000/43/EC prohibits discrimination on grounds of race and ethnic origin; whereas about 30 infringement proceedings have been opened by the Commission against Member States for not adequately transposing the Race Equality Directive into national legislation;

1.  Stresses that NRIS must focus on empowering Roma women to take control of their own lives by becoming visible agents of change within their communities and by raising their voices to influence policies and programmes affecting them, as well as on reinforcing Roma women’s socio-economic resilience, i.e. their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing economic environment, through effectuating savings and preventing the running-down of assets;

2.  Welcomes the Commission’s 2012 progress report(5) and the proposal for a Council recommendation of 26 June 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States(6), with a special focus on access to employment, housing, education, and healthcare, which calls on Member States to introduce positive actions and to mainstream Roma integration strategies in their fight against poverty and social exclusion;

3.  Calls on those Member States which have received, in addition, country-specific recommendations under the European Semester on Roma-related issues, to implement these recommendations swiftly and to fight discrimination, including at the workplace, to involve civil society – including Roma organisations – in decision-making, and to allocate not only EU but also national and other funds in order to deliver on the commitments of their national Roma integration strategies (NRIS);

4.  Regrets that despite the adoption of its resolution on the situation of Roma women in 2006 and the 10 Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion by the Council, in which one of the principles relates to gender awareness, the vulnerable situation of Roma and Traveller women has, in practice, remained unaddressed by European and national policy makers,

5.  Stresses that the efficiency of the EU Framework for NRIS could be significantly increased by enhanced involvement of the Commission, based on its potential to improve the quality of regulations and other instruments, encourage greater policy coherence and promote the overarching goals of the Framework;

6.  Calls on Member States to develop National Action Plans in the four key priority areas: health, housing, employment, and education, with specific goals and targets, funding, indicators and timeframes; evaluate progress by measuring implementation outcomes;

7.  Calls on Member State governments and local authorities to involve Roma women, through women’s organisations, Roma NGOs and relevant stakeholders, in the preparation, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the NRIS and to create links between gender equality bodies, women’s rights organisations and social inclusion strategies; further calls on the Commission to address gender equality in a consistent manner when implementing the EU 2020 Strategy and national reform programmes;

8.  Calls on the Commission to present a 'flowchart' of the EU Roma inclusion process, covering achievements, objectives, the specific measures used to attain these objectives, the state of play as regards implementation measures and the next steps;

9.  Calls on the Member States to combat the spatial segregation, forced evictions and homelessness faced by Roma men and women, and to set up effective and transparent housing policies;

10. Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the fundamental rights of Roma women and children are respected, and that – also by means of awareness-raising campaigns – Roma women and girls are aware of their rights under existing national legislation on gender equality and discrimination, and to further combat patriarchal and sexist traditions;

11. Calls on the Commission to specify the institutional division of tasks and responsibilities among involved organisations, forums and bodies, and to clearly define the role of these stakeholders - such as the EC Roma Task Force, the Network of National Contact Points, the European Roma Platform, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and its ad-hoc working group on Roma inclusion - in the supervision, control and coordination of the EU Framework for NRIS;

12. Calls on the Commission to support NRIS by seeking common, comparable and reliable indicators and by developing a Dashboard of EU Roma inclusion indicators in order to present clear and unambiguous data against which progress can be measured as well as to meet the requirement of effective monitoring;

13. Calls on Member States to ensure that austerity measures do not impact disproportionately on Roma and Traveller women and that budget decisions are underpinned by human rights principles;

14. Calls on the Commission to urge Member States to present outcome indicators, baselines and numerical headline targets in their national strategies for the main priority areas, against which progress can be measured;

15. Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that disaggregated data for gender and ethnicity are collected by all administrations and used to inform policy development; points out that collection of data must be carried out in line with the relevant human rights principles;

16. Calls on Member States to match their national policy commitments by allocating proper financial resources for the implementation of NRIS, and to reflect their inclusion strategies in the national budgetary policies;

17. Calls on the Commission and Member States to establish a proper framework for consultation, peer learning and the sharing of experience among policy-makers and Roma organisations and to launch structured dialogue to include Roma organisations and NGOs in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of European, national and local Roma inclusion strategies;

18. Calls on Member States to ensure equality in civil rights and equal access to healthcare services, education, employment and accommodation while respecting human rights, the principle of non-discrimination and being compatible with nomadism where relevant;

19. Calls on the Commission and Member States to include the Integrated Territorial Investment and Community-led Local Development instruments in their partnership contracts, to mobilise them for underdeveloped micro-regions and deprived territories, and to include Community-led Local Development in the set of operational programmes to be developed;

20. Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure the adoption and implementation of specific and comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in line with international and European standards in all Member States, ensuring that anti-discrimination bodies are equipped to promote equal treatment and have complaint mechanisms which are accessible to Roma women and girls;

21. Calls on Member States to place greater emphasis on the territorial aspects of social inclusion in their national strategies, and to target the most deprived micro-regions by means of complex, integrated development programmes;

22. Calls on Member States to also focus on the urban dimension of cohesion policy, giving special consideration to cities that are disproportionately affected by social imbalances such as unemployment, social exclusion and polarisation and assist them in developing their infrastructure in order to exploit their potential contribution to economic growth and strengthen the links between urban and rural areas with a view to promoting inclusive development;

23. Calls on Member States to strengthen gender mainstreaming when implementing their NRIS, by applying a gender equality perspective to all policies and practices affecting Roma women and to link their implementation to existing gender equality strategies, in particular by eliminating the gender pay and pension gaps within Roma communities and by making the eradication of violence against women and girls explicit objectives and taking real action to this end;

24. Calls on the Council, the Commission and Member States to ensure that specific measures relating to women's rights and gender mainstreaming are included in the NRIS, that they take account of the gender perspective and the situation of multiple and intersectional discrimination faced by Roma women, especially as regards employment, health, housing and education, and that the assessment and annual monitoring conducted by the Commission and, in particular, the Fundamental Rights Agency, take account of women's rights and the gender equality perspective in each section of the NRIS; requests that these findings be presented to the European Parliament;

25. Calls on the Commission and on Member States to ensure that the NRIS reflect Roma women’s specific rights and needs and to develop concrete indicators for their implementation, follow-up and monitoring based on, for example, the United Nations Development Programme’s Gender-related Development Index (GDI) which looks at aspects such as long and healthy life, knowledge and decent standard of living and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) which includes political participation and decision-making, economic participation and decision-making and power over economic resources; calls on the Commission and on Member States to use gender budgeting as one of the tools to mainstream gender;

26. Calls on Member States to develop a national monitoring and evaluation framework for the NRIS that covers aspects such as budget monitoring and other forms of civil society monitoring (carried out by national NGOs, NGO networks or umbrella organisations), expert assessment (carried out by independent experts with proven expertise in the field), and administrative monitoring;

27. Calls on the Commission and Member States to conduct gender impact assessments when designing the specific measures of their NRIS;

28. Calls on the Commission to introduce more effective instruments for measuring the actual socio-economic situation of Roma women, by incorporating the quantification of the ‘economics of life’ and recognition of the informal economy into its ‘beyond GDP’ project, for example; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to develop and monitor gender-specific indicators for the NRIS and social inclusion policies;

29. Invites NGOs operating in the field in Member States to draw up personalised action plans which aim to help women and young people to find employment, to provide psychological counselling to encourage Roma people to participate in education and vocational training and to identify their personal skills and abilities to improve social inclusion in the labour market; to mediate between providers of training/retraining and employers on the one hand, and Roma women/Roma population on the other hand; to boost education uptake by Roma women and girls by granting subsidies and scholarships, while respecting the principle of equal opportunities, taking account of the fact that girls marry at a younger age than boys;

30. Calls on Member States to use their measures to explicitly target Roma women in extreme socio-economic deprivation and to focus simultaneously on at-risk groups by preventing and tackling impoverishment;

31. Calls on Member States to increase the number and visibility of Roma and Traveller programmes and beneficiaries, including specific support to Traveller and Roma organisations working to promote women’s empowerment and NGO access to structural funds;

32. Calls on the Commission and on the Member States to develop financial mechanisms for supporting civil society and community monitoring of social inclusion policy, initiatives and projects regarding Roma and Traveller women;

33. Calls on the Commission and Member States to introduce a child poverty reduction target into the EU Roma inclusion process, to mainstream children’s rights in social inclusion measures, to monitor progress from the perspective of child poverty, and to identify and develop priority actions in the field;

34. Underlines that preventing marginalisation must begin in infancy; considers it essential to adopt an approach which targets different generations of women in order to put an end to the intergenerational transmission of poverty;

35. Calls on Member States to include in their NRIS tailored programmes the active inclusion of Roma women in the labour market by guaranteeing access to high quality education programmes for Roma women and girls and by making life-long learning available so that marketable skills can be acquired; calls on Member States to include capacity building and the empowerment of Roma women as a horizontal objective in all priority areas of the NRIS and to promote political participation policy by supporting the active participation of Roma women at local, national, and European level;

36. Calls on Member States to establish positive action measures to facilitate access to jobs in public administration for Roma women and men;

37. Calls on Member States to develop specific measures targeting large families (with four or more children) and single parent households that facilitate entry to the labour market by considering tailored welfare arrangements, extending childcare facilities and ensuring that Roma children are integrated into local schools and childcare facilities and have full and equal access to compulsory education, thereby counteracting social exclusion and ghettoisation;

38. Calls on Member States to ensure equal access to quality and affordable childcare and early childhood education, childhood development services and parent partnership education for Roma children, to reintroduce the Barcelona targets for childcare and to develop accessible, affordable and high quality care services for the whole life cycle;

39. Calls on Member States to take all necessary measures to prevent the dismissal of employees during pregnancy or motherhood, and to consider recognising the raising of children as a period counting towards pension entitlements;

40. Calls on Member States to examine the obstacles to self-employment faced by Roma women, to enable accessible, fast and inexpensive registration by Roma women entrepreneurs and to develop micro-loan schemes targeting small business start-ups and entrepreneurs with simple, entrepreneur-friendly administrative procedures, including technical assistance and back-up measures and special licences for recognising a range of seasonal and temporary jobs as ‘paid work’ which contributes to social security payments; further calls on Member States and local authorities to mobilise the European microfinance facility for employment and social inclusion;

41. Calls on Member States to develop targeted and integration-oriented measures in the field of unemployment support, (retraining, job creation and placement with wage support, social security support, tax allowances, etc.) instead of the current, almost exclusive focus on public work programmes;

42. Calls for support and promotion of the integration of the Roma population into the labour market; observes that, in order to differentiate labour administration services and measures and to develop guidance processes, support staff and case managers with a Roma background are needed;

43. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create a specific education mentoring and support system through community-based education and social services from early childhood to university for Roma youth, paying particular attention to gender issues;

44. Calls on the Member States to make full use of the opportunities offered by the Structural Funds, in particular the European Social Fund (ESF), to improve both the education and the employment prospects for the Roma to give them a real chance of social inclusion and escape persistently high rates of poverty; urges the Member States to monitor progress on a regular basis, in particular with respect to the education and training of young Roma, especially women;

45. Invites Member States to combat stereotypes, in order to prevent the anathematisation of this ethnic group which discourages employers from employing Roma people and which leads to discrimination within public administration and schools and has a negative impact on relations with the authorities and job seeking;

46. Reiterates the fact that Roma education gaps have an important gender dimension, since the literacy rate of Roma women averages 68 %, compared to 81 % for Roma men, and the primary school enrolment rate among Roma girls is just 64 %, a gap which is also seen in enrolment rates for vocational qualifications; observes, however, that there are major differences between Member States in these statistics;

47. Calls on the Member States to develop specific programmes to ensure that Roma girls and young women stay in primary, secondary, and higher education, and also to put in place special measures for teenage mothers and early school leaver girls, to support uninterrupted education in particular, subsidising their entry onto the labour market, and providing work-based training; further calls on Member States and the Commission to take these measures into account when coordinating and evaluating the NRIS;

48. Calls on the Member States to develop anti-discrimination strategies in order to prevent and condemn racist behaviour in public services and within the labour market in particular, ensuring that Roma women and men's rights in the labour market are firmly upheld;

49. Calls on the Commission and on the Member States to invest resources into attracting ‘non-traditional learners’ to continue their education and to support NGOs and programmes whose goal is to boost the inclusion of non-traditional learners in education and adult learning programmes;

50. Calls on Member States to promote networks of Roma students, to encourage solidarity between them, to increase the visibility of successful cases and to overcome the isolation of Roma students;

51. Calls on Member States to encourage the participation of Roma families in schools, to assess the schools in which Roma children and young people study, and to make all necessary changes to ensure the educational integration and achievement of all; points out that specific measures should target Roma girls, based on successful cases which have been validated by the academic community;

52. Requests the Commission and Member States to allocate funds for building schools, kindergartens and nurseries with more places so that the Roma children can participate in classes with other, non-Roma, children without being discriminated against and left outside the education system or rejected by teachers on account of their ethnic origin;

53. Calls on the Commission and Member States to introduce systematic training programmes on gender sensitivity and cultural specificities for social services and healthcare providers;

54. Emphasises that the education of Roma girls helps to improve the lives of Roma people in many ways as it is, among other things, a crucial condition for increasing the employability of Roma women, facilitating their access to the labour market and providing some income security, as well as being essential to overcome poverty and social exclusion; observes, furthermore, that increasing teachers’ knowledge of Roma culture helps to reduce exclusion; calls, therefore, on the Member States to combat segregation, to ensure more inclusive and accessible education and culturally sensitive teaching methods involving school assistants with a Roma background and parents, while viewing the improvement of professional skills to match the demands of the labour market as a priority;

55. Calls on the Commission and Member States to identify Roma women as an explicit target group of their health initiatives, especially with respect to diseases that are strongly linked to the female hormonal system and/or poverty, such as osteoporosis, musculoskeletal problems and central nervous system illnesses; urges, furthermore, to make breast and cervical cancer screening and prevention – including vaccines against human papillomaviruses – fully accessible and to aim at initiating healthcare for pregnant women already in their first trimester of pregnancy;

56.  Calls on Member States to ensure access to health, notably through the participation of Roma women’s NGOs in the design, implementation, and evaluation of healthcare programmes and to ensure that Roma women and girls can make their own choices about their sexuality, health, and maternity by promoting family planning, access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health care services and sexual education, and protecting children and adolescents from sexual abuse and early marriages, preventing infant and maternal mortality and the phenomenon of forced sterilisation;

57. Calls on Member States to facilitate and promote the gender balanced participation of Roma communities in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of disease prevention, treatment, care and support programming, as well as in reducing stigmatisation and discrimination in the healthcare system;

58. Calls on Member States and local and regional authorities to develop and implement policies to guarantee that all Roma women, even those from the most excluded communities, have access to primary, emergency and preventive healthcare services and to organise training activities for healthcare workers in an effort to eliminate prejudice against Roma;

59. Calls on Member States to investigate, ban and prosecute direct and indirect discrimination against Roma women in exercising their fundamental rights and in accessing public services, and to prevent any further discrimination; stresses the importance of conducting awareness-raising campaigns to combat discrimination and eliminate racist stereotypes of Roma, and Roma women in particular;

60. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to include Roma and particularly Roma women as a specific target group in the operational programmes and the rural areas development programmes for the next programming period;

61. Calls on the Commission to publish an evaluation report on the implementation of Council Directive 2000/43/EC in each Member State; likewise calls on the Commission to draw up specific recommendations for each Member State in order to include also the gender dimension within the directive;

62. Calls upon the Council to reach an agreement on the Equal Treatment Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons, irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, so as to ensure that all the grounds of discrimination and multiple discrimination are made illegal in all spheres of life; likewise calls on all EU institutions to ensure that intersectional discrimination is included in this directive;

63. Calls on Member States to address all forms of violence against women, such as domestic violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking, with special regard to Roma women, and to support victims by including specific objectives to tackle the trafficking of Roma women in the NRIS, ensuring proper resources for related public services and providing assistance also through mainstream services, such as health, employment and education; furthermore urges the Commission to support governmental and civil society initiatives to address these problems, while guaranteeing the fundamental rights of victims;

64. Calls on Member States to work with Roma women to set up empowerment strategies that recognise their intersectional identity and promote activities that counteract gender stereotypes, targeting women, men, girls and boys;

65. Points out that arranged marriage, child marriage and forced marriage are still prevalent as ‘traditional practices’, underlines that these practices are human rights violations which not only have a significant impact on the health of Roma girls, increasing the risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery, but which also expose girls to sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as precluding educational and employment opportunities;

66. Calls on Member States to ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings and to fully transpose the provisions of Directive 2011/36 EU on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims(7), in particular by strengthening identification, protection and assistance to victims, with special emphasis on children;

67. Requests European solutions from the Member States and the Commission for Roma people’s problems, taking into consideration their right of free movement as European citizens, and the need for collaboration between Member States to resolve the issues faced by this ethnic group;

68. Calls on the Commission and Member States to encourage the exchange of information and best practices on the integration of Roma women in all areas of society;

69. Recommends that the Member States take the necessary steps to stop the practice of young Roma women being given away in arranged marriages, which constitute a moral affront to their dignity;

70. Calls on Member States to urgently address the needs of older Roma women as they are one of the most vulnerable groups and lack adequate income and require access to healthcare and long-term care as they age;

71. Urges the Commission to launch a comprehensive strategy to combat violence against women as requested by Parliament in several resolutions; calls upon the Commission to deliver legal instruments, including a European directive to combat gender-based violence;

72. Calls for the Roma language and culture to be developed and promoted, for administrative structures concerned with Roma affairs to be developed, for Roma policy and its implementation to be reinforced, and for participation in international cooperation on Roma issues to be increased;

73. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1)

OJ L 180, 19 July 2000 p. 22

(2)

OJ L 303, 02 December 2000, p.16.

(3)

OJ C 298 E, 8.12.2006, p. 283.

(4)

OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 112.

(5)

COM(2012) 226 final.

(6)

COM(2013) 460 final.

(7)

JO L 101, 15.4.2011, p.1.


OPINION of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (30.9.2013)

for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

on gender aspects of the European Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies

(2013/2066(INI))

Rapporteur: Edit Bauer

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs calls on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s 2012 progress report(1) and the proposal for a Council recommendation of 26 June 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States(2), with a special focus on access to employment, housing, education, and healthcare, which calls on Member States to introduce positive actions and to mainstream Roma integration strategies in their fight against poverty and social exclusion;

2.  Calls on Member States which received, in addition, country-specific recommendations under the European Semester on Roma-related issues to implement these recommendations swiftly and to fight discrimination, including at the workplace, to involve civil society – including Roma organisations – in decision-making, and to allocate not only EU but also national and other funds in order to deliver on the commitments of their national Roma integration strategies (NRIS);

3.  Calls on the Commission to follow up on the implementation of its recommendations in even greater detail and to use all of its instruments to ensure that Member States improve their legislation and combat discrimination and segregation;

4.  Stresses that poor employability and low employment rates among Roma women, owing mostly to a lack of job and training opportunities, discriminatory practices, a lack of access to education, and their low level of education and training is a key issue; stresses, therefore, that addressing better employability and higher employment rates, as well as combating discrimination both at school and on the labour market are among the most important tools in achieving a higher employment rate, in decreasing dependency on social assistance and in reducing the risk of poverty, thereby reinforcing the financial autonomy and significantly improving the social inclusion of Roma women;

5.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to address gender equality in a consistent manner when implementing the EU2020 Strategy and national reform programmes, and to give high priority to addressing barriers to women’s participation in the labour market;

6.  Calls on the Commission to monitor and evaluate the extent to which national Roma integration strategies take into account the gender perspective and the situation of multiple and intersectional discrimination faced by Roma women in the four priority areas being identified (employment, health, housing and education) and, specifically, regarding anti-discrimination and the protection of fundamental rights actions;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to analyse and eliminate the barriers to Roma women’s participation in the labour market, and furthermore, to place proper emphasis on the role of women in motivating their children and members of their community to acquire an education and later on to participate in the labour market;

8.  Urges Member States to examine the obstacles to self-employment faced by Roma women, with a view to creating programmes to enable accessible, fast and inexpensive registration for Roma women entrepreneurs and to make credit – including micro-credit – along with relevant mentoring and training programmes, accessible to them;

9.  Calls on Member States to develop micro-loan systems aimed at small business start-ups and entrepreneurship, whereby Roma women are the preferred beneficiaries;

10. Reiterates the fact that Roma education gaps have an important gender dimension where according to data, the literacy rate of Roma women is on average 68 %, compared to 81 % for Roma men, and where the primary school enrolment rate among Roma girls is just 64 %, a gap which can also be detected with respect to enrolment rates for vocational qualifications; observes, admittedly, that there are major differences between Member States in these statistics;

11. Stresses that limited access to education increases the risk of early marriages and early pregnancy, which leads to early school-leaving, and which also has the consequence of limiting employment opportunities in adulthood which, together with other factors, causes a higher risk of poverty; urges, therefore, all relevant actors to break this vicious circle;

12. Is of the view that increasing sexual education among Roma students could have a positive impact in reducing the instance of school-leaving, which is often a consequence of early pregnancy and early marriage;

13. Calls on Member States to draw up and launch family planning (awareness raising, financial accessibility) programmes to improve the maternal health of Roma women; calls also on Member States to reduce infant mortality, maternal mortality, and early births through early coverage and monitoring of pregnant women and maternity consultations;

14. Calls on the Member States when implementing their NRIS and on the Commission when coordinating and evaluating these strategies to stress the prioritisation of measures to support the education of girls and combat early school-leaving and absenteeism;

15. Calls on the Commission also to implement a gender-sensitive perspective in the provision of health services in order to ensure access to them for girls and women from marginalised Roma communities;

16. Calls on the Commission and Member States to implement systematic training programmes on gender sensitivity and cultural specificities for social services and healthcare providers;

17. Emphasises that the education of Roma girls has a complex impact in improving the lives of Roma people, as it is, among other things, a crucial condition for increasing the employability of Roma women, facilitating their access to the labour market and providing some income security, and it is essential in overcoming poverty and social exclusion; observes, furthermore, that increasing teachers’ knowledge of Roma culture helps to reduce exclusion; calls, therefore, on the Member States to combat segregation, to ensure more inclusive and accessible education and culturally sensitive teaching methods, involving school assistants with a Roma background, as well as parents, while taking the improvement of jobs skills to match the demands of the labour as a priority;

18. Stresses the need to ensure equality of access to education and training systems without discrimination; calls on the Member States to promote teacher-training programmes in order to improve the education of Roma children, especially girls; stresses also, in this connection, the special importance of the social reference group of girls, parents, relatives or friends, who play a central role in education and careers advice; calls also on Member States to promote the education of girls throughout the process, inter alia, by supporting the individuals who have the most influence over young people;

19. Calls on the Commission to support integrated, gender-sensitive and culturally sensitive education, making education more attractive for marginalised Roma communities;

20. Calls on the Member States to promote the inclusion of positive actions in human resources strategies, such as training courses, literacy classes and internships for Roma women, as a way to promote their employability both in public services and in the private sector;

21. Stresses that Roma youth are particularly vulnerable to unemployment, running the risk of long-term exclusion from mainstream society, which means that they will also subsequently be exposed to a higher risk of poverty; highlights, therefore, the importance of promoting regular school attendance and completion of primary and/or secondary education, as well as vocational training at a later stage, which can, together with strict anti-discrimination policies and job creation, dramatically increase the employability of Roma youth and their participation in the social security systems of the Member States; calls also on Member States to provide targeted scholarships and mentoring to Roma students at secondary and third level, so that an increasing number of Roma students, in particular Roma girls, can acquire an adequate level of education;

22. Encourages Member States to take action and the necessary steps to increase Roma people’s participation in vocational training and life-long learning, in order to increase their chances on the labour market and decrease poverty;

23. Calls for support and promotion of the entry of the Roma population into the labour market; observes that, in order to differentiate labour administration services and measures and to develop guidance processes, support staff and case managers with a Roma background are needed;

24. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create a specific educational mentoring and support system through community-based education and social services from early childhood through to college for Roma youth, paying particular attention to gender issues;

25. Takes the view that adjusting welfare systems is necessary in order to promote decent life for all, while stimulating active participation on the labour market, improving job prospects on the primary labour market and combating discrimination; calls for the integration of the Roma population to be fostered and for social and health services to be more inclusive and targeted more effectively;

26. Notes that improving access to health services and increasing efforts to provide equal access to quality child-care facilities for the reconciliation of family and working life and to quality early childhood education, childhood development services and parents’ partnership-based education, in particular in rural areas, would have a positive impact on the integration of the Roma and the professional inclusion of Roma women; stresses, in this connection, the responsibility of the Member States to invest in increased staffing and the quality of their child-care facilities in order to achieve the Barcelona targets for childcare facilities;

27. Calls on the Member States to make full use of the opportunities offered by the Structural Funds, in particular the European Social Fund (ESF) to improve both the education and the employment situation of the Roma, so that they may have a real chance of social inclusion and escape the persistently high rates of poverty; urges the Member States to monitor progress on a regular basis, in particular with respect to the education and training of young Roma, especially women;

28. Calls for equal treatment to be ensured in housing and for insecurity to be reduced;

29. Underlines that the prevention of marginalisation must begin in infancy; considers it essential to adopt an approach which targets different generations of women in order to bring the intergenerational transmission of poverty to an end;

30. Calls on the Member States to eliminate the spatial segregation, forced evictions and homelessness faced by Roma men and women, and to set up effective and transparent housing policies;

31. Calls for the Roma language and culture to be developed and promoted, for administrative structures concerned with Roma affairs to be developed, for Roma policy and its implementation to be reinforced, and for participation in international cooperation on Roma issues to be increased;

32. Urges Member States to address the issue of violence against women, domestic violence and sexual exploitation in all its forms, and to combat the trafficking of human beings, which affect Roma women in large numbers and which are often the result of the impoverishment and social exclusion of Roma women due to unemployment and their lack of education;

33. Calls on the Commission to take into consideration the Council conclusions which state that ‘special attention should be paid to the interests and difficulties of Roma women and girls’ and which call for a gender perspective to be applied in all Roma inclusion policies and actions;

34. Calls on the Commission to adopt a systematic approach to gender equity and the active participation of Roma women as agents of change, which currently is absent from the NRIS;

35. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to include as a horizontal objective the capacity building and empowerment of Roma women in all the priority areas of the EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion;

36. Calls on the Commission and the Members States to incorporate the stronger and more effective involvement of Roma women in the implementation of the NRIS;

37. Urges the Member States and EU accession countries to ensure that national strategies will encourage empowerment, capacity-building and leadership programmes for Roma women and girls, who play a particular role in the community-building process;

38. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to collect, analyse and publish reliable statistical data, disaggregated by gender, so as to be able to evaluate and update properly the strategies as well as to measure the impact of the strategies’ projects and interventions regarding Roma women.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

26.9.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

32

3

1

Members present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Heinz K. Becker, Pervenche Berès, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Philippe Boulland, David Casa, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Derek Roland Clark, Minodora Cliveti, Emer Costello, Frédéric Daerden, Sari Essayah, Richard Falbr, Marian Harkin, Danuta Jazłowiecka, Ádám Kósa, Jean Lambert, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Olle Ludvigsson, Thomas Mann, Csaba Őry, Sylvana Rapti, Licia Ronzulli, Elisabeth Schroedter, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Jutta Steinruck, Ruža Tomašić, Traian Ungureanu

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Françoise Castex, Philippe De Backer, Anthea McIntyre, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Evelyn Regner, Birgit Sippel, Tatjana Ždanoka

(1)

COM(2012) 226 final.

(2)

COM(2013) 460 final.


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

14.10.2013

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

17

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Regina Bastos, Edit Bauer, Marije Cornelissen, Tadeusz Cymański, Zita Gurmai, Mikael Gustafsson, Lívia Járóka, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Astrid Lulling, Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Antonyia Parvanova, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska, Marc Tarabella

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Kartika Tamara Liotard, Doris Pack, Angelika Werthmann

Substitute(s) under Rule 187(2) present for the final vote

Antolín Sánchez Presedo, Rui Tavares

Last updated: 28 November 2013Legal notice