The European Commission presented its views on a feasible European framework for the national Roma strategies on 5 March 2011, in Strasbourg. At the plenary session, the Presidency welcomed the Commission’s proposal. Beforehand, the European Parliament expressed its opinion on the topic as well.
The proposal of the European Commission, regarding the framework system of national Roma integration strategies, were presented by Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and by László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, at a press conference in Strasbourg, on 5 April 2011. Speaking on behalf of the Hungarian Presidency in the plenary meeting of the European Parliament (EP), Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri, welcomed the draft of the Commission.
On 9 March, the EP voted in favor of the report on the same topic, which was put forward by Ms. Lívia Járóka, MEP of the European People’s Party (EPP). During the debate, most MEPs agreed that besides a European framework for the various Roma integration strategies of Member States, as proposed by the Commission, there is a need for a single, independent EU-level strategy.
During the 5 April plenary session, Enikő Győri said, that both the Commission and the Parliament’s proposal are important contributions, for promoting the economic and social situation of the Roma in Europe.
Extreme poverty, discrimination and marginalisation continue to distress large numbers of Roma throughout Europe, so - according to the Minister of State - it is high time for improvement. “Given the current economic and demographic situation, the promotion of the economic and social status of the Roma can open up new human resources, thus contributing to economic growth in the long term,” the Minister of State underlined. She added that the Presidency believes, that integrated policy action “complemented by adequate monitoring as proposed by the Commission, if followed up properly by the Member States, will make a difference.”
Council creates synergy
In line with a previous decision made by Member States, after the Commission’s official proposal, four Council formations and the European Council will debate the strategy. ”The efforts of Member States will also help to reach the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy,” Ms Győri said. She stressed that measures for the social inclusion of the Roma can be mainstreamed in various policy fields. “Now it seems widely recognized that measures inspired and coordinated at EU level can create synergy and add value,” – the Minister of State formulated.
The Hungarian Presidency attaches great importance to the question of the integration of the Roma, and together with its trio partners, Győri invited MEPs to the Roma Platform, which is to take place in Budapest, on the 7-8 April. At the two days event, participant will get an in-depth view of the proposals of the institutions. Results from this debate, will be submitted to the EPSCO Council on 19 May, where employment and social ministers plan to adopt conclusions about the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies.