Romania will have a new strategy for improving the situation of the Roma

By • on April 29, 2011

The Romanian government announced last month that it would launch a new national strategy for Roma integration for the period 2011-2020. The government wants to implement a plan to help Roma start a business or obtain a certificate of qualification.

This way, the government expects to facilitate the hiring of 40,000 Roma people. “On employment, the objectives are to facilitate the employment of 40,000 Roma people, to raise the skill levels of the Roma people, to support Roma in starting a business or obtaining a certificate of qualification”, as the government representatives specify in the document. In a discussion recently held, Romanian Prime Minister Emil Boc told the President of the European Council, Mr. Herman van Rompuy, that the Government will adopt a bill that proposes a new national strategy for Roma integration in the near future.

Roma leaders look askance at the new strategy

The National Agency for Roma recently organized a public debate with local authorities and members of the civil society on the new strategy. The representatives of civil society argue that we are dealing with a slightly modified form of the old strategy to improve the situation of Roma launched in 2001 by the Government. “The strategy to improve the situation of Roma in 2001 had many good things on paper. The government promised to allocate 123 million euros for the Roma, but in reality did not give any money in the last 10 years. The strategy was developed to help Romania join EU, and not to help the Roma. The European Commission now asks all its Member States to adopt concrete measures to assist Roma. I do not trust the government’s new strategy”, said Mr. David Mark, the chief executive of the Roma Civic Alliance from Romania.

European strategy for Roma integration

Last month, the European Commission proposed a European strategy for the integration of the 10-12 million Roma living in the European Union. The strategy targets the areas of education, housing, employment and health and includes the monitoring of how the Member States will implement it. The strategy was drafted by Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and Laszlo Andor, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Roma integration is a priority for Hungary as well, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency. The EU leaders are to discuss the strategy within the upcoming EU summit in June.