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EURoma Snapshot: how ESI Funds are used to address the impact of COVID-19 crisis on Roma [editar]

FSG Internacional

EURoma Snapshot: how ESI Funds are used to address the impact of COVID-19 crisis on RomaEURoma Network, coordinated by FSG as Technical Secretariat, releases the first outcomes of a consultation process undertaken among its partners on how they are already or are planning to use ESI Funds to address the particularly negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on marginalised communities such as Roma.

EURoma Network, coordinated by the FSG as Technical Secretariat, releases the first outcomes of a consultation process undertaken among its partners (public authorities responsible for Roma policies and those responsible for ESI Funds from 15 EU Member States) on how they are already or they are planning to use European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds), including the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to address the particularly negative impact of the urgent and complex COVID-19 crisis on marginalised communities such as Roma.

The document published provides a snapshot of the situation in the initial phases of the crisis (until end of April) and will be regularly updated with the findings of the ongoing EURoma consultation process in order to keep track of the latest developments and expand the information available. While it mainly focuses on the use of ESI Funds, it also includes information related to other EU Funds (notably the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, FEAD) as well as to measures related to funds at national level (national, regional and local).


Roma are overrepresented among the most vulnerable people in the European Union (EU) and, therefore, suffer in a more disproportionate manner from the negative impact of whatever crisis, including the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This crisis has placed broad layers of the European Roma in a serious situation of vulnerability, helplessness and lack of protection of their fundamental rights.

In this emergency context, all political and financial tools need to be mobilised to put in place emergency measures to prevent, avoid and alleviate the negative impact of this health, economic and social crisis on those persons most affected by poverty, social exclusion and marginalisation, as it is the case of many European Roma population across the EU. Their nature and characteristics such as the long-term and large-scale support make ESI Funds key financial instruments to address such complex situations.

Aware of this potential, European institutions have called for the mobilisation of EU funds, including ESI Funds. Over the past months, the European Commission has put forward several instruments to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and adopted a large number of measures to promote and facilitate their use. Among them, the ‘Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives’ (CRII and CRII+) and the emergency temporary recovery instrument ‘Next Generation EU’, which, in addition to proposing changes to the rules of both the current (2014-2020) and the future (2021-2027) programming periods, launches the REACT-EU initiative that will make available €55 billion of additional resources to the ESF, ERDF-Cohesion Fund and the FEAD in the period 2020-2022.

Main findings

The analysis carried out shows that the majority of countries who took part in the consultation process foresee special measures related to EU funds, in particular ESI Funds, to address the particularly negative impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable people, such as Roma.

In some cases, they concern the direct modifications/amendments on the part of ESI Funds beneficiaries (in line with the latest European Commission’s proposals to counter the impact of the crisis); in others the adoption of new measures following the launch of specific calls within ESI Funds programmes. In addition, some partners report measures related to national funding, in combination or not with EU Funds/ESI Funds.

While the moment of gathering of information corresponded with the initial phases of the crisis and there was still a lot of uncertainty on the measures to be undertaken and/or on specific aspects of their development, some trends can be already observed. Among them the predominance of the ESF and the FEAD, followed by the ERDF to a lesser extent; the use of mainstream approaches (opting for measures open to individuals with needs in general) and territorial approaches (targeting the most deprived and/or marginalised or socially excluded areas (settlements, neighbourhoods…) to target Roma; and the prevalence of two areas of support: healthcare information and support (primary care…) and distribution of food and basic necessities.

As a conclusion, we can say that now that the worst of the health crisis is over, it is time to fully mobilise ESI Funds and use all their potential to address the serious consequences at the social and economic levels and contribute to the complex recovery ahead of us. The different initiatives adopted by the European Commission over the past months offer numerous possibilities to maximise their potential. In this sense, it is also essential to move from only measures related to health and coverage of basic needs to other areas of support which are key for maintaining and promoting structural changes, such as employment or education.

For further information, check EURoma website or contact EURoma Technical Secretariat at