Improving conditions for the Roma
In the ongoing challenging economic context, inequalities are increasing with many of the disadvantaged in society falling even more behind. Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to improving conditions for the Roma and promoting social inclusion across central and southern Europe.
The estimated 10-12 million Roma population is Europe’s largest ethnic minority and also one of its most vulnerable groups. A survey by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2012) covering 11 EU countries shows that one in three Roma is unemployed, 20% are without health insurance and 90% live below national poverty lines.
In February 2012, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report showing how discrimination and human rights abuses against Roma are widespread. The EU acknowledges this challenge and, as of 2012, all member states are obliged to provide strategies for social inclusion and the improvement of the situation for Roma.
Roma inclusion in the EEA and Norway Grants
Roma inclusion is an important concern for the EEA and Norway Grants, in line with and complementary to the national Roma inclusion strategies. Where relevant and possible, Roma concerns are included in the programmes that are now being established in 15 EU countries.
Programmes that include initiatives to improve the situation for the Roma are being established in 9 EU countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Several of these countries have large Roma minority populations. In Bulgaria, the target is for 10% of the total funding to go towards improvement of the situation for the Roma population. In Romania, the same 10% target applies to all relevant programmes.
These programmes will address school attendance and teaching of the Romany language, access to healthcare, access to and fair treatment in the justice system, tolerance and anti-discrimination. In addition, NGO funds will channel support to civil society organisations to improve the situation of the Roma.
An overview of the programmes that will positively impact the conditions for the Roma population is provided below.
Cooperation with Council of Europe
The Council of Europe (CoE) plays an important role in defending and supporting vulnerable groups and minorities and in countering discrimination. In 2011, the EEA and Norway Grants entered into a partnership with the CoE to harness its expertise within the areas of justice, human rights and social inclusion in order to maximise the impact of the Grants.
The Council of Europe is today involved as a partner in all programmes that target the needs of vulnerable groups, which includes the Roma, and in programmes that directly concern improving conditions of the Roma population. The CoE is involved in these programmes from the very start, by advising on the design of the programme, through the implementation of the programme and the projects this will support.
Photo serie: Roma in Hungary
Education for children and youth from vulnerable groups, including Roma, is a priority. The photos below were taken in June in Hungary.
At the Burratino School on the Csepel island, Budapest, children from underprivileged families come to learn and live in a safe and inspiring environment. Many of the children at the school are Roma. The school was upgraded with support from the Norway Grants and can now provide better facilities and education.
EEA and Norway Grants: relevant programmes that include the Roma population
|Country||Programme supported by the EEA and Norway Grants||How Roma is targeted||Total allocation to the programme|
|Bulgaria*||NGO fund||Parts of the funding goes towards the needs of vulnerable groups, including the Roma||€11,790,000|
|Children and youth at risk**||The programme focuses on school attendance, including the specific needs of Roma children||€7,860,000|
|Public health initiatives||The specific health challenges for the Roma population is a priority||€13,325,000|
|Domestic and gender-based violence**||The specific needs of vulnerable groups such as Roma is addressed||€2,000,000|
|Judicial capacity-building and Cooperation/Improvement of the efficiency of justice**||The programme focuses on the specific needs of vulnerable groups such as Roma||€3,000,000|
|The Czech Republic||NGO fund||The NGO fund targets the needs of minority groups including Roma||€9,810,000|
|Children and youth at risk||The needs of minority groups are in focus||€4,298,000|
|Local and regional initiatives to reduce national inequalities and to promote social inclusion||Initiatives to strengthen anti-discriminatory measures for groups that are vulnerable to social and economic exclusion are being developed. The programme also addresses the specific needs of the Roma population.||€1,242,000|
|Cultural heritage||The investment supports the cultural diversity and cultural expression of minority groups||€21,490,000|
|Schengen cooperation and combating cross-border and organised crime, including trafficking and itinerant criminal groups||The programme emphasises good cooperation between law enforcement authorities and the general public, especially minority groups||€7,040,000|
|Greece||NGO fund||The specific needs of migrants and Roma is targeted||€6,340,000|
|Hungary||NGO fund||Roma-related issues is targeted||€12,618,000|
|Children and youth at risk**||The most vulnerable groups, including the Roma, is targeted||€11,216,000|
|Public health initiatives||The most vulnerable groups, including the Roma, are targeted||€16,640,000|
|Poland||Cultural heritage||5% of the allocation to cultural heritage is earmarked documentation of cultural history, including the history of ethnic and national minorities||€60,000,000|
|Portugal||Public health initiatives||Reducing inequalities in health and promoting equal access to healthcare are prioritised||€10,000,000|
|Romania*||NGO fund||The needs of minority groups, Roma in particular, are being addressed||€30,000,000|
|Children and youth at risk and local and regional initiatives to reduce national inequalities and to promote social inclusion**||The programme addresses the needs of Roma through strengthened cooperation within and between local governments, NGOs and the Roma population. Municipalities with a high percentage of Roma population are given priority when addressing issues such as social inclusion, multicultural education and employment||€22,000,000|
|Mainstreaming gender equality and promoting work-life balance||The needs of minority groups are addressed, with a specific emphasis on Roma||€4,519,478|
|Cultural heritage||Documentation of cultural history of social, ethnic and cultural minority groups is a priority. The Astra museum is establishing a Roma homestead||€20,818,750|
|Research within priority sectors||Minimum 10% of the investment in research should target the improvement of the situation for the Roma people||€20,000,000|
|Scholarships||Minimum 10% of the investment in scholarships should target the improvement of the situation for the Roma people||€4,000,000|
|Public health initiatives||The programme addresses the needs of minority groups with a specific focus on Roma||€8,104,000|
|Domestic and gender-based violence**||Minimum 10% of the investment to tackle domestic and gender-based violence should target the improvement of the situation for the Roma people||€4,000,000|
|Schengen cooperation and combating cross-border organised crime, including trafficking and itinerant criminal groups||Minimum 10% of the investment in schengen cooperation and the fight against cross-border organised crime should target the improvement of the situation for the Roma people||€5,000,000|
|Judicial capacity-building and cooperation**||Minimum 10% of the investment in judicial capacity-building and cooperation should target the improvement of the situation for the Roma people||€8,000,000|
|Correctional services||Increased focus on vulnerable groups in prison||€8,000,000|
|Slovakia||NGO fund||The needs of vulnerable groups, including Roma, are addressed||€6,903,000|
|Local and regional initiatives to reduce national inequalities and promote social inclusion**||The needs of vulnerable groups such as Roma are targeted||€1,000,000|
|Slovenia||NGO fund||Focus on cross-sectorial partnerships in addressing the needs of children and youth at risk as well as vulnerable groups such as Roma||€1,875,000|
|Public health initiatives||The needs of vulnerable groups such as the Roma are being addressed||€10,228,000|
|Spain||NGO fund||The specific needs of vulnerable groups are being addressed||€4,585,000|
|Mainstreaming gender equality and promoting work-life balance||The programme focuses on inclusion of Roma women||€10,191,250|
*10% of the total funding for relevant programme areas goes towards improving the situation for the Roma population
** Council of Europe is programme partner