Supporting Roma in the long-term in the EU - MCAA Magazine News January 2021

Roma kids

On 7 October 2020, the European Commission unveiled a new plan to support Roma in the EU. This is a first step to start implementing the EU Action Plan against racism 2020-2025, and President von der Leyen’s commitment to a Union of Equality.


A new 10-year plan and a proposal for a Council Recommendation are among the measures issued by the European Commission on 7 October 2020 to support Roma people.

‘Roma’ encompasses diverse groups, including Roma, Sinti, Kale, Romanichels, Boyash/Rudari, Ashkali, Egyptians, Yenish, Dom, Lom, Rom and Abdal, as well as Traveller populations (gens du voyage, Gypsies, Camminanti etc.).

The Roma are considered as Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Around 10 to 12 million Roma live in Europe, and approximately 6 million are EU citizens or residents.

The 10-year plan notes that this population continues to face discrimination, antigypsyism sentiments and socioeconomic exclusion in their daily lives. Moreover, hate crime and human trafficking (especially women and children), continue to be matters of high concern.

Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, declared: “For the European Union to become a true Union of Equality we need to ensure that millions of Roma are treated equally, socially included and able to participle in social and political life without exception.”

The 10-year plan proposes seven objectives and targets to tackle Roma’s marginalisation. For the first time, the Commission proposes quantitative EU headline targets.


   1. Fight and prevent antigypsyism and discrimination: It is expected that the proportion of Roma experiencing discrimination will be cut by at least half, and that the proportion of the general population that feels uncomfortable having Roma neighbours will drop by at least a third.

   2. Reduce poverty and social exclusion to close the socio-economic gap between Roma and the general population: The poverty gap between Roma and the general population will be reduced by half, as well as the gap between Roma children and other children.

   3. Promote participation through empowerment, cooperation and trust: The plan foresees to engage at least 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in EU-wide coordinated Roma civil society monitoring. The participation of Roma NGOs as full members in national monitoring committees will be ensured, and the involvement of Roma in political life at local, regional, national and EU levels will be encouraged.

   4. Increase effective equal access to quality inclusive mainstream education: It is expected that the gap, as regards participation in early childhood education and care, will be reduced by at least half.

   5. Increase effective equal access to quality and sustainable employment: The employment gap, the gender employment gap and the Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) gap will be reduced by at least a half.

   6. Improve Roma health and increase effective equal access to quality healthcare and social: The life expectancy gap will be reduced by at least a half.

   7. Increase effective equal access to adequate desegregated housing and essential services: The plan is to reduce the gap in housing deprivation by at least one third, and to shrink the gap in overcrowding by at least a half. What’s more, it is planned that at least 95 % of Roma will have access to clean drinking water.


Even though the situation of Roma varies across countries, it is crucial that Member States mobilise resources to implement the Commission’s strategy.

For this purpose, Member States are invited to develop, adopt and implement national Roma strategic frameworks by including common features, minimum commitments which should apply to all, possible additional commitments depending on the national context, and more ambitious commitments for Member States, with large Roma populations.

Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, said: “We expect to make real progress by 2030 towards a Europe in which Roma are celebrated as part of our Union’s diversity, take part in our societies and have all the opportunities to fully contribute to and benefit from political, social and economic life in the EU.”

MCAA Editorial Team