On 5 July, the prime ministers of the Western Balkans adopted a declaration on ‘Roma integration within the EU enlargement process’. In this document, they commit to increase their efforts for the integration of Roma.
To reduce the gap between Roma and non-Roma communities in employment, housing, education, health, civils registration and non-discrimination, Balkans states recognise the importance of working with cities. States thus commit to “establish formal channels and mechanisms for joint involvement of the local governments” alongside with the Roma communities. These would intervene in the formulation of policy, decision-making, implementation and monitoring.
Policies will be guided by a set of objectives defined in the declaration. They include:
- Increasing the employment of Roma to at least 25%, including in the public sector;
- Legalising informal settlements or, alternatively, providing decent, affordable and desegregated housing;
- Improving enrolment and completion rates in education (to 90% in primary education and 50% in secondary education);
- Providing a better coverage of universal health insurance;
- Ensuring registration in civil registries;
- Strengthening the structures against discrimination with a specific division for anti-gypsyism;
- Procure legal support to alleged victims of discrimination;
- Tackle institutional and hidden discrimination.
Western Balkans prime ministers also commit to use data for their reporting and monitoring of the implementation of Roma policies. Roma-specific indicators should be included as well in the evaluation of the EU enlargement process.
In line with the current EU Roma Framework, Western Balkans states intend to increase their support to National Roma Contact Points and wish to be more involved in the Post-2020 Framework (e.g. as observers).
Read the full declaration here.