The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies is the clearest declaration yet from the European Commission that concern over the plight of the Roma needs to move beyond rhetoric to the substance of Roma inclusion.
The Framework, taking its cue from the Decade of Roma Inclusion, calls on member states to develop and implement targeted strategies, and to devote sufficient resources to promoting integration in health, housing, education, and employment. The Decade’s structures, convening power, and unique array of partners can contribute much to ensuring that the Framework will make a difference by 2020.
To make integration a reality for Europe's largest ethnic minority requires the active participation of Roma themselves. The task ahead is to make a tangible difference in the lives of millions of Roma who subsist in conditions of dire poverty and exclusion.
Beyond Rhetoric: Roma Integration Roadmap for 2020 offers recommendations to the European Commission based on the vast experience of the Open Society Foundations in promoting Roma participation and integration, empowering Roma civil society, and combating anti-Roma prejudice. It also includes country-specific recommendations, solicited from independent experts, covering five EU member states that participate in the Decade of Roma Inclusion.
Beyond Rhetoric was compiled by Bernard Rorke, International Research and Advocacy Director for the Open Society Roma Initiatives.