Roma Task Force highlights Member States do not properly use EU funding for Roma integration

The Task Force to assess Member States' use of EU funding with regard to the social and economic integration of Roma, established in September by the European Commission has now reported its initial findings. According to them it seems that while EU funds offer considerable potential for bolstering Roma inclusion, bottlenecks at national, regional and local levels are limiting their effective use by Member States.

In September 2010, the European Commission established the Task Force to assess Member States' use of EU funding with regard to the social and economic integration of Roma, Europe's largest ethnic minority. The Task Force sent questionnaires to the 27 Member States regarding their use of EU funds to address the Roma situation.

The preliminary findings show that Member States do not yet properly use EU money for the purpose of an effective social and economic integration of Roma. Weaknesses exist in the development of appropriate strategies and specific measures to address problems faced by Roma. Implementation at national level is problematic because of a lack of know-how and administrative capacity to absorb EU funds. The report also identifies problems in providing national co-financing as well as a lack of involvement by civil society and Roma communities themselves.

The management of the bulk of EU funding that may benefit Roma integration is shared with Member States, notably through the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and to a lesser extent the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). Besides, in May 2010, the EU allowed the use of European regional funding to improve housing for marginalised communities in rural areas.

As is always the case with EU funds, it is up to Member States and managing authorities to come up with viable projects. It is not the European Commission’s role to propose projects.

Identifying ways to improve effectiveness of funding allocation for Roma integration

The Commission's Roma Task Force will now identify concrete ways to improve the effectiveness of EU funds in the Member States. These approaches will feed into an EU-level framework for national Roma inclusion strategies, which the Commission plans to adopt in spring 2011.

According to report's findings integrated policy approaches designed to tackle the multiple causes of social exclusion affecting Roma are the most successful, as it was shown by actions adopted in seven of the 18 countries studied .

Success factors

  • Effective coordination of policies at national, regional and local levels
  • Sustainable programmes with reliable, multi-annual budgets
  • Effective participation and consultation of Roma in inclusion efforts
  • Reliable data and evaluation of results