Based in Budapest, the Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma (MtM) started as an instrument to connect the Decade of Roma Inclusion objectives to EU financial resources and thus support European, national, and local governments in realizing the targets of the Roma Decade. But the mission has become enriched: Through project development assistance, financial and human capacity building, and advocacy, the program seeks to create a critical mass of concerned governmental and non-governmental actors at all levels who keep Roma inclusion high on the policy agenda. MtM is concerned with problems such as the weak visibility of Roma issues in the implementation of EU cohesion policies at the national and local levels, scarce policy expertise on disadvantages, and slowly moving local power structures towards inclusive policy-making.
MtM advocacy activities are stemming from the conviction that the European Structural Funds are the main sources for social and economic development in Central–Eastern Europe, and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) Funds offer significant resources for any South–Eastern European governments in several policy sectors. These funds appear as suitable instruments to press national governments to accept certain norm-setting policy tasks, such as Roma inclusion targeting human, infrastructure, and economic development. Further, the way in which Structural Funds and IPA Funds serve the cause of Roma inclusion is largely shaped by the regulations and strategic policy interventions from the European Unions and the national governments’ domestic agenda-setting and implementation instruments. MtM and its strategic partners are taking all opportunities to help mainstream Roma inclusion norms, knowledge, and assessment perspectives in these regulations and advise the establishment of suitable institutional mechanisms in 2014–2020.
The Project Generating Facility is aimed at building capacity of stakeholders at the local level to include Roma in the local policy-making agendas and to access EU funding in order to address these concerns. The facility is operating in EU member states participating in the Decade of Roma Inclusion: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The mentoring intervention offers to beneficiaries of Structural Funds services to enhance their competence for the delivery of inclusion targets and programs, to promote participation of Roma in local partnerships as well as to develop technical skills for project management. Through the Non-Eligible Costs/Supplementary funds intervention, the Open Society Foundations provide supplementary funding to cover costs which are central to achieving the goals of a project but are not covered from EU funds, with the goal of promoting innovative and cross-sectoral projects for Roma inclusion. MtM’s capacity-building and peer-learning programs contribute to advancing the management for inclusion at the level of local governance, participatory governance, monitoring and evaluation by Roma and local authorities, involvement of Roma or experts on Roma in the management of inclusion programs at municipal levels, and transparency and accountability of local governments on inclusion.