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EU Council urges Member States to take measures to tackle segregated Roma settlements [editar]

Fundación Secretariado Gitano welcomes this initiative.


EU Council urges Member States to take measures to tackle segregated Roma settlements
  • This agreement of the 27 EU countries, approved today and led by the Spanish government, is a very important step forward as it puts the problem of residential segregation of the Roma on the EU's political agenda.

  • The agreement recognises the existence of a critical situation and a lack of progress in tackling it, incorporates a consensual definition on “segregated settlements” and calls for allocating adequate financial resources to their eradication, making use of EU Funds.

  • Fundación Secretariado Gitano welcomes the recognition of this problem at European level as it will support public initiatives for the eradication of slum and substandard housing settlements in Europe.

In its conclusions, the Council invites Member States to “take concrete measures to improve the housing situation of Roma and to eradicate housing segregation”, making use of EU Funds (ERDF, ESF+, Next Generation EU and other EU financial funds).

An important point of the adopted text is that, for the first time in an EU regulatory framework, there is a consensus on a definition of “segregated settlements”. This will make it easier to approach eradication with similar parameters in all countries. According to the conclusions of the Council, the “segregated settlements are slums and substandard housing settlements of an informal and stable nature, with physical, functional and/or social isolation, where the objective conditions related to housing, poverty and access to rights and public services are significantly worse as compared to the rest of the population.”

Slums are a structural problem which, although it has decreased in recent years, is a human rights violation and the manifestation of most extreme poverty that exists. In order to address it with guarantees, Member States should “dedicate adequate financial resources to establish, maintain or improve infrastructure as necessary in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in terms of essential services such as transport,
water and sanitation, sewage systems, digital networks, and access to public and private services such as refuse collection, health centres, schools, lighting, electricity, gas, and communication networks including telephone and internet connections, while considering the use of innovative, digital and green technologies. All interventions should be accompanied by active desegregation measures.

The Council recognises that “the obstacles that Roma people often encounter when seeking access to adequate housing reinforces the vicious circle of intergenerational poverty and violations of human rights”. According to the Council, "Antigypsyism is an unusually prevalent form of racism […]. The Member States of the European Union have all recognised antigypsyism as a barrier to inclusion, and hence the importance of tackling it.”

Member States shall therefore “in accordance with their respective national Roma strategies, take concrete measures to improve the housing situation of Roma and to eradicate housing segregation, […] and include safeguards and inclusivity criteria. Doing so in the framework of national strategies will imply the prior definition of a specific indicator reflecting progress on slum eradication.

Furthermore, the Council also invites the European Commission and the Member States to “continue using the EU Roma Strategic Framework Portfolio of Indicators and pursuing the fulfilment of the EU level targets set out in the Framework, including, where relevant, quantitative and/or qualitative targets in their National Roma Strategic Frameworks.”. As well as “ensure […] the effective monitoring of spending programmes and instruments that aim to foster the desegregation of Roma communities.”

In addition, the Council invites the European Commission to “support Member States in their efforts to address the problem of housing segregation” and to “foster concrete actions to guarantee effective and real access for Roma to non-segregated housing, adopting an approach that recognizes that a person may be discriminated against on the grounds of their racial or ethnic origin […].”

In the case of Spain, during the last 30 years and through different state public initiatives (for example, the various National Housing Plans) and which, in cooperation with other public administrations at all levels, have managed to significantly reduce the presence of settlements in Spain, where they have decreased from being 10% of the total number of Roma households in 1991, to 3.9% in 2007 and to 2.17% in 2015. This shows that the challenge of achieving zero slums by 2030 is feasible if the resources and financial tools made available to Member States are used appropriately.

FSG expects that these conclusions will contribute to the eradication of settlements, both in Spain and in the EU, and that they will lead, as established by the European Parliament in its Resolution of October 2022, to the European Commission promoting a European action plan for the elimination of these settlements by 2030.