30.06.2016 - INFORME ESPECIAL
EU policy initiatives and financial support for Roma integration
It’s a great report which is worth a close read. Despite the fact that it seems cumbersome, which to a large extent is due to the overuse of complex acronyms (EU, OP, ERDF, ESF, CF, NRIS, ESIF, NRCP, CBP, CSR, TFEU, etc.) and the legal-political language that the authors of the document haven’t been able to avoid, and in the knowledge that it will unfortunately be difficult for the message it contains to reach the majority of the Roma population across Europe, the Unión Romaní recognises that this is the most serious, rigorous and even self-critical report of the many that we’ve seen to date.
Some snippets of information contained within the 100-page document
In its audit, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) assessed whether the EU policy initiatives and financial support through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) had contributed effectively to Roma integration.
The audit work was carried out at the Commission and in the four Member States which have the largest Roma population (Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary and Romania), and covered the period from 2007 to 2015. The ECA chose these four Member States (Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary and Romania) due to the high number of Roma people who live there and because they had allocated a large amount of funding to regions that might have backed initiatives for Roma integration.
According to our own estimations, around four fifths of the EU’s estimated Roma population live in the following eight Member States:
Money received from the EU
In the 2007‐2013 programme period, these four Member States (Bulgaria, Spain, Hungary and Romania) together received 14.1 billion euros of aid for social inclusion measures from the ERDF and ESF. This is 20% of the total amount allocated from the Structural Funds for social inclusion measures in all Member States across the same period. (Pg. 20).
1.5 billion euros were made available to Member States under the investment priority ‘Integration of marginalised communities such as the Roma’ for the 2014-2020 programme period.
This was distributed amongst the twelve Member States which together account for 90% of the EU’s estimated Roma population. (Pg. 44).
414 million euros allocated under the IP ‘Combating all forms of discrimination and promoting equal opportunities’
Spain 145 million euros
The ECA’s analysis showed that the National Roma Integration Strategies of Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain contained no information on the financial allocations available for Roma‑related measures, be it either under the national budget or from the ERDF or ESF OPs co‑financed from the EU budget. (…) The absence of information on the financial means available to tackle the issues related to Roma inclusion makes it difficult to assess whether the Member States’ strategies were realistic from the start. (Pg. 31).
The ECA identified shortcomings in Romania and Spain in terms of assigning responsibility for implementing the NRIS. And more specifically in Spain, the ECA observed that the existing coordinating bodies (such as the Group on Technical Cooperation) were not effective in providing reliable data and coordinating policies, showing a need for better coordination in order to ensure that the NRIS is implemented properly. Both of these examples of poor coordination hampered the collection of reliable data, making it harder to monitor the implementation of the NRIS. (Pg. 32).
Data on ethnicity of participants collected at project level, but not passed on to the Operating Plan (OP) monitoring system
The ECA found that a number of the promoters in all four Member States visited during the audit collected data on the ethnicity of participants, but this data was not passed on to managing authorities or intermediate bodies. This meant that Roma‑related data which was available at project level did not reach the OP monitoring system. For example, this was the case in Spain. The intermediate body of the regional OP for Andalusia was not even aware of which projects had addressed Roma people, although this information was available at project level. This was similar in Hungary. (Pg. 48).
Need for an intercultural approach involving the use of mediators and awareness-raising campaigns
The Common Basic Principles (CBP) describe the need for an intercultural approach involving the use of mediators and awareness‑raising campaigns. Applying this principle is crucial for ensuring the success of projects, especially those concerning housing. A lack of awareness can fatally undermine projects that could otherwise have been successful.
The audit identified a number of shortcomings as regards the NRIS:
Monitoring of the implementation of the racial equality directive 2000/43/EC
This is a directive that is fundamental to achieving the eradication of racism and the integration of minorities in the society in which they live. Most EU Member States have already applied the directive in their respective territories, but we must point out that some very influential European countries still haven’t done so: France, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg. This is a disgrace which we denounce and which makes us understand why some of the most shameful attacks are carried out against the Roma population that resides within the walls of those countries.
So what must we do now?
First: Congratulate the ECA on conducting this report.
Second: Persuade the European Commission to adequately evaluate the content of the report and take on board the recommendations made within it.
Third: Ask the European Parliament to become a protagonist and ambassador for the concerns of the Old Continent’s Roma population. To achieve this, we propose that the Deputies:
Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia
If you want to find out more, you can read the entire REPORT in English by clicking on the following link: