The Roma Community

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The aforementioned demographic trends, combined with educational, labour, housing and health data, illustrate the severe challenges that the EU is facing with regards to the improvement of the living conditions of the Roma population. However, demographic changes ought to be seen as an opportunity. The Roma have a higher activity rate than the general population (13 points difference in Spain, for example) and a longer and earlier active life. A young, dynamic, growing and productive Roma workforce can be an asset for the EU’s ageing population, provided adequate measures are implemented, and a massive investment of human and financial resources is made to facilitate their active participation in a competitive, capital intensive and knowledge-based economy, which is the hallmark of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Progress has been made, in terms of political awareness and involvement, data collection, grassroots intervention and practical know how. Furthermore, the increasing body of successful projects in education, housing and employment, thanks in part to the effective use of Structural Funds, can help to generate a common understanding of Roma-related issues – illustrated by the 10 Common Basic Principles of Roma Inclusion engendered by the EU Platform for Roma Inclusion and the landmark EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies –, and the identification of best practices that can be transferred to other contexts.
Also the cooperation for the use of EU Funds for Roma inclusion is showing the big impact that those funds could have. In this sense, the European Network on Roma Inclusion under ESI Funds (EURoma Network) brings together public authorities responsible for Roma policies and those responsible for ESI Funds from fifteen EU Member States, as well as the European Commission, with the aim of improving the use of ESI Funds for the promotion of the social inclusion, equal opportunities and fight against discrimination of the Roma community. To know more about the EURoma Network