Marking International Roma Day, the European Commission on 8 April urged member countries to ensure that NGOs representing Roma are involved in the planning and use of EU funds for integration into society.
EU Structural Funds have been mobilised to boost national efforts and are an important financial lever in ensuring the translation of national Roma integration strategies into real socio-economic inclusion of Roma communities, alongside national budgets. But although, the three funds total €50 billion per year, not enough benefits disadvantaged Roma communities. The Commission therefore urges the national Roma contact points to be closely involved in the planning of the use of EU Funds.
But to what extent are the principles of equality and non-discrimination directly built in the programming and implementation of these Funds? This is what our project Promoting EU Non-discrimination and Equality standards in the programming and implementation of Structural Funds seeks to assess. Bearing in mind the negotiations for the regulatory framework for the next period, this project aims to submit to the EU institutions reform proposals based on research in five Member States (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia).