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Thursday, 25 March 2010 - Brussels
Second European Roma Summit

European Parliament resolution of 25 March 2010 on the Second European Roma Summit

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 20, 21, 151, 153 and 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which commit the Member States to ensuring equal opportunities for all citizens and improving their living and working conditions,

–   having regard to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union, which enable the EU to take appropriate action to combat discrimination against all citizens and promote respect for human rights,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 28 April 2005 on the situation of the Roma in the European Union(1), of 1 June 2006 on the situation of Roma women in the European Union(2), of 15 November 2007 on application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their families to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(3), of 31 January 2008 on a European Strategy on the Roma(4), of 10 July 2008 on the census of the Roma on the basis of ethnicity in Italy(5), and of 11 March 2009 on the social situation of the Roma and their improved access to the labour market in the EU(6),

–   having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(7), Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(8), Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(9), which provides for the approximation of the laws and regulations which Member States should follow for offences involving racism and xenophobia, and Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(10), which guarantees that all citizens have the right of free movement throughout the EU, provided that they are working or seeking employment, studying, or are self-sufficient or retired,

–   having regard to the reports on Roma, racism and xenophobia in the Member States of the EU in 2009, published by the Fundamental Rights Agency(11), and to the reports by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the European Councils of December 2007 and June 2008, the conclusions of the General Affairs Council of December 2008 and the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council's conclusions on the Inclusion of the Roma, adopted in Luxembourg on 8 June 2009,

–   having regard to the proclamation in 2005 of the Decade of Roma Inclusion and the establishment of the Roma Education Fund by a number of EU Member States, candidate countries and other countries in which the Union institutions have a significant presence,

–   having regard to the First European Roma Summit, which took place in Brussels on 16 September 2008, and to the forthcoming Second European Roma Summit, which will take place in Córdoba (Spain) on 8 April 2010 and is a key event of the Spanish Council Presidency,

–   having regard to the forthcoming report by its Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the ‘EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion’, which is due in late 2010,

–   having regard to the Ten Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion,

–   having regard to the questions of 12 February 2010 (O-0017/2010 – B7-0013/2010, O-0018/2010 – B7-0014/2010) and 24 February 2010 (O-0028/2010 – B7-0202/2010, O-0029/2010 – B7-0203/2010) to the Council and to the Commission on the Second European Roma Summit,

–   having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the 10-12 million European Roma continue to suffer serious systematic discrimination and, in many cases, severe poverty and social exclusion; whereas a majority of European Roma became EU citizens after the 2004 and 2007 enlargements, so that they and their families enjoy the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States,

B.   whereas the situation of European Roma, who have long been present in many European countries, is distinct from that of European national minorities, justifying specific measures at European level,

C.   whereas many Roma individuals and communities who decided to settle in a different EU Member State to that of which they are nationals are in a particularly vulnerable position,

D.   whereas the EU has various instruments that can be used to combat Roma exclusion, such as the new opportunity provided under the Structural Funds to devote up to 2% of the total European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) allocation to housing expenditure in favour of marginalised communities, which will take effect in the course of 2010, or the existing possibilities under the European Social Fund,

E.   whereas Council Directive 2000/43/EC has not been adequately transposed or fully implemented by all the Member States,

F.   whereas the European Union has committed itself several times to actively promoting the principles of equal opportunities and social inclusion with regard to the Roma population across Europe,

G.   whereas the past year has seen a significant increase in anti-Gypsyism in the mass media and in political discourse in some EU Member States and an increasing incidence of racially motivated violence against Roma,

H.   whereas progress in combating discrimination against Roma by guaranteeing their rights to education, employment, health and housing in both Member States and candidate countries has been uneven and slow,

I.   whereas special attention should be paid to those who are facing multiple discriminations,

J.   whereas Roma representation in governmental structures and the public administration in Member States should be increased,

1.  Condemns the recent rise of anti-Gypsyism (Romaphobia) in several EU Member States, in the form of regular instances of hate speech and anti-Roma attacks;

2.  Considers that fighting discrimination against Roma, who constitute a pan-European community, requires a comprehensive approach at European level;

3.  Expresses its concerns at the discrimination suffered by Roma in education (particularly segregation), housing (particularly forced evictions and sub-standard living conditions, often in ghettos), employment (their particularly low employment rate) and equal access to healthcare systems and other public services, as well as the astoundingly low level of their political participation; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that equal opportunity provisions are strictly complied with when the Operational Programmes are implemented, so that projects do not directly or indirectly consolidate the segregation and exclusion of Roma; stresses that on 10 February 2010 it adopted a report on the eligibility of housing interventions in favour of marginalised communities, which makes provision for housing interventions on behalf of vulnerable groups within the ERDF framework, and calls for rapid implementation of the revised regulation so that the Member States can make active use of this opportunity; considers, in this context, that housing is a precondition for ensuring effective social inclusion; calls on the Commission to ensure that the recently adopted Microfinance Facility is accessible to the Roma in order to support their integration into the labour market;

4.  Recognises that the issues of full citizenship for and socio-economic participation by Roma are conditioned by a history of discrimination and social stigma; considers that a mainstreaming approach to Roma inclusion needs to be complemented by proactive measures to overcome past and present discrimination; calls on the Commission to pay due attention to this aspect in its approach to Roma inclusion;

5.  Considers that the EU and the Member States share a responsibility to promote the inclusion of Roma and uphold their fundamental rights as European citizens and urgently need to step up their efforts to achieve visible results in this area; calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to endorse the measures needed in order to create a suitable social and political environment for implementing Roma inclusion measures, for example by supporting public education campaigns to increase the tolerance of the non-Roma population towards Roma culture and integration, both in their country of citizenship and in their country of European residence;

6.  Welcomes the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council's conclusions on the Inclusion of the Roma adopted in Luxembourg on 8 June 2009, which incorporate the Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion and invite the Commission and the Member States to take account of them ‘when designing and implementing policies to defend fundamental rights, uphold gender equality, combat discrimination, poverty and social exclusion, and ensure access to education, housing, health, employment, social services, justice, sports and culture, and also in the EU's relations with third countries’; welcomes the request to the Commission to ‘undertake concrete steps to make Community instruments and policies relevant for Roma inclusion more effective’;

7.  Expresses deep concern that, in view of the urgency of the matter, the Commission has thus far not responded to its request of 31 January 2008 to prepare a European Strategy on the Roma, in cooperation with the Member States, with the aim of better coordinating and promoting efforts to improve the situation of the Roma population;

8.  Hence, calls once again on the Commission to develop a comprehensive European Strategy for Roma Inclusion as the instrument for combating social exclusion and discrimination of Roma in Europe;

9.  Looks forward to the Commission's communication, to be presented after the next European Roma Summit, which will examine the existing policies and instruments to improve Roma inclusion and the factors behind the unsatisfactory progress to date; calls for the communication to include clear objectives and mechanisms for the future drafting of policy on Roma;

10.  Calls on the new Commissioners to prioritise Roma-related issues covered by their portfolios, while establishing as a priority an effective system of coordination between themselves and between directorates-general to tackle Roma issues at EU level; calls on the Commission to designate one of its Commissioners as responsible for coordinating Roma policy;

11.  Encourages the EU institutions to involve Roma communities, from grassroots level up to international NGOs, in the process of developing a comprehensive EU Roma policy, including in all aspects of planning, implementation and supervision, and to draw on the experiences of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, the OSCE Action Plan, and the recommendations of the Council of Europe, the United Nations and Parliament itself; calls for the mobilisation of the Roma community so that inclusion policies can be implemented jointly, as they can be successful only if all parties involved fully participate in them;

12.  Calls on the Commission to take a horizontal approach to Roma issues and develop additional proposals to deliver policy coherence at European level regarding the social inclusion of Roma, to prompt Member States to make greater efforts to achieve visible results, to encourage a critical analysis of policy failures, to facilitate exchanges of best practices between Member States and to draw on all the lessons learnt from the Roma pilot project, which should feed into mainstream policies;

13.  Encourages the Summit organiser and the EU to define a clear political follow-up to the Summit conclusions, in order to avoid any repeat of previous situations where neither political conclusions nor concrete proposals were adopted; considers that the Summit should not be declarative in nature, but should focus on strategic policy commitments that demonstrate a political will to close the gap between Roma communities and majority populations;

14.  Urges the Commission and Council to make use of existing initiatives, such as the Decade of Roma Inclusion, to increase the efficacy of efforts in this area;

15.  Considers it essential that a complex development programme be established that targets simultaneously all related policy areas and makes immediate intervention possible in ghetto areas struggling with serious structural disadvantages;

16.  Stresses that anti-discrimination measures alone are insufficient as a means of facilitating the social inclusion of Roma, but that a concerted Community effort on a firm legal basis is needed to coordinate measures by institutional and societal stakeholders and to force the parties concerned to honour their own pledges; accepts also, therefore, the need for a clear legislative commitment and credible budgetary appropriations;

17.  Recommends that the Council adopt a common position on structural and pre-accession funding, reflecting the European political commitment to exploit the opportunities provided by these funds to promote Roma inclusion and to ensure that the Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion are taken into account in any revision of the relevant Operational Programmes, also looking ahead to the next programming period; urges the Commission to analyse and evaluate the social impact to date of investments using pre-accession and structural funds targeting vulnerable groups, to draw conclusions and to devise new strategies and rules if this is considered necessary in this field;

18.  Stresses that the candidate countries must be involved in the European-level pursuit of Roma integration as soon as possible, since accession negotiations offer an unparalleled opportunity to trigger a substantial shift in governmental attitudes towards Roma;

19.  Insists that Member States must ensure that any measures that have a direct or indirect impact on EU citizens of Roma origin are consistent with the principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and with the Racial Equality Directive that explicitly prohibits direct and indirect discrimination; expresses concern in relation to the forced repatriation of Roma to countries in the Western Balkans where they might face homelessness and discrimination in the areas of education, social protection and employment, and calls on the Commission, the Council and Member States to ensure that fundamental rights are respected, including by providing appropriate assistance and monitoring;

20.  Highlights the precarious situation of many Roma, who, exercising their freedom of movement within the Union, have migrated within the EU; stresses that any measures taken in respect of these groups must be consistent with European standards and legislation and calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish whether there is a need for a coordinated European approach;

21.  Stresses the importance of involving local authorities in order to ensure effective implementation of efforts to promote Roma inclusion and combat discrimination; calls on the Commission to develop recommendations for the Member States with a view to encouraging local authorities to make better use of structural funding opportunities to promote Roma inclusion, including objective monitoring of project implementation;

22.  Underlines the importance of community-level organisations of Roma as a key factor in the success of social inclusion policies and the need for Roma representatives to be actively involved in all the initiatives aiming to promote their rights and the inclusion of their communities; considers that there is a need for long-term strategies to build up the professional and organisational capacity of Roma and to develop Roma human resources as a horizontal priority; stresses that the political independence and empowerment of Roma self-organisation in terms of financial, academic and human resources is vital in speeding up the social inclusion of Roma;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and the parliaments of the Member States and the candidate countries, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2005)0151.
(2) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2006)0244.
(3) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2007)0534.
(4) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0035.
(5) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0361.
(6) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2009)0117.
(7) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(8) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(9) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(10) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(11) Report on Racism and Xenophobia in the Member States of the EU in 2009; European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, Data in Focus Report: The Roma in 2009; The Situation of Roma EU Citizens Moving to and Settling in Other EU Member States; and Housing Conditions of Roma and Travellers in the European Union: Comparative Report.

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