Human rights defenders with the EU Roma Policy Coalition have criticised the bloc’s approach to the Roma as misguided and inadequate. The NGOs say the European Commission’s Social Agenda assigns responsibility to the member states for finding ways to empower Europe’s largest minority group.
A senior figure with Amnesty International noted that the increasing scale of abuse against Roma, for instance in Italy, makes it more important than ever to have a sound long-term EU Roma strategy.
The Commission paper talks about using EU structural funding better, and highlights best practices, such as Spain’s Acceder project. It clinched 20,000 professional training contracts to get Roma into the job market.
A broad-based meeting to discuss action plans for next year is scheduled to take place in Brussels at the end of this summer. The European Social Fund spent 275 million euros on Roma integration projects between 2000 and 2006.