A synthesis report on implementation of national Roma integration strategies in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia
Focusing on structural and horizontal preconditions for successful implementation of the strategy
Métadonnées de la publication
The National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) are usually not part of national Parliaments’ agendas; in consequence, the Member States’ executives are not sufficiently accountable for them on the national level and report on them only to the EC. On the national level, the Roma remain underrepresented in the Parliaments and their participation in national elections is estimated as significantly lower than the country averages. Roma ethnic political parties do not attract Roma voters; representation of Roma depends on mainstream political parties to place Roma candidates in high positions on... their lists. On the other hand, Roma are often successful in getting elected into offices at the local level, mostly in municipalities with high proportions of the Roma population in structurally disadvantaged regions. Vote buying seems to be a problem across the five countries, but it is not systematically monitored. In some countries, instances of local governments and mayors controlling voting decisions made by Roma through regulating their access to public services (e.g., active labour market measures) were recorded. The NRIS is often associated with the development of documents and structures, rather than with the development of new policies, implementation of actions and their results, as these depend on the political priorities of the respective line ministries rather than on Roma-specific strategies. The content of the Roma integration policies and the reinforcement of the implementation of the measures planned in the NRIS is seldom in the hands of the National Roma Contact Points (NRCP), which mostly play a role in communication and reporting to the EC. This is not an institutional failure if there is another strong coordinating body for Roma inclusion policy planning and implementation in the Government. Despite diverse public administration models and degrees of decentralisation, the actual implementation of the NRIS and Roma integration policies in often depends more on the political will and priorities of local government leadership than it does on national leadership. On the one hand, a number of local governments are successful in Roma integration (independent of the support provided by the central Governments, which sometimes create additional administrative burdens for local governments’ initiatives); on the other hand, there are cases of local governments implementing deliberately repressive policies or discriminatory measures against Roma. However, in most cases, the municipalities do not have the necessary capacities, resources or interest in developing and implementing meaningful Roma inclusion strategies. The only exception is the Czech Republic, where the Government’s Agency for Social Inclusion, with the support of the ESF, provides local governments with assistance in the strategic planning of social inclusion. In all countries covered by the report, while the ESIFs remain the most important source of funding for local interventions in Roma integration, effective use of the ESIF requires skills that many local governments do not possess. Moreover, the ESIFs are planned in a top-down manner and often do not meet local needs. Wider recognition of the Roma does not replace or substitute for capacity and access to the knowledge and resources conducive to meaningful participation in policy planning and decision making. There is a major power imbalance between public authorities and civil society actors that is rarely addressed in the monitored countries. Tackling Roma integration, whether through mainstream programmes or through Roma-targeted programmes, represents an ongoing dilemma. The effectiveness of mainstream programmes in tackling Roma integration depends on the overall effectiveness of policy and would require substantial reforms. The country reports do not indicate if the needs of Roma are systematically taken into account when designing mainstream policies, yet the main criticism mounted by NGOs is a lack of monitoring mechanisms regarding mainstream policy outreach, outputs and their impacts on Roma. While state authorities typically view ethnic data collection as a violation of data protection legislation, NGOs often argue for gathering anonymised ethnic data to devise effective anti-discrimination and desegregation measures and particularly to assess the contribution of mainstream policies to Roma integration. Reluctance by public authorities to engage with ethnic data is often viewed as a pretext to avoid addressing the efficiency of policy interventions. In the updated NRISs, one can hardly find any baseline indicators or provisions for impact assessment based on such indicators. In all countries Roma integration policies and human rights policies, local development and Roma civil society largely depend on financing from the ESIF, EEA /Norway Grants and other external sources. Since the 2008 crisis, funding for support of civil society has significantly decreased. The clear-cut connection between specific services NGOs provide and their public funding has obvious drawbacks: NGOs often become dependent on good relations with public bodies and a contained critical voice can easily become the prerequisite for future contracts with them. The gender perspective in the NRISs is modest if it appears at all. Issues such as early marriage, violence against women, and trafficking are often essentialised as the consequences of deep-seated ethnic traditions. Policy plans and measures tend to endorse patriarchal norms by conceiving of Roma women’s role as primarily caring for the family and children.
- Service(s) auteur(s): Center for Policy Studies of the Central European University , Direction générale de la justice et des consommateurs (Commission européenne)
- Auteurs personnel(s): Hojsík, Marek; Jovanović, Jelena; Rorke, Bernard; Hrabaňová, Jamen Gabriela; Pecak, Marko; Ruiz, Guillermo; Szira, Judit; Fremlová, Lucie; Zentai, Violetta Thèmes: Droits fondamentaux, Social
- Sujet: abandon scolaire, Bulgarie, discrimination ethnique, Hongrie, intégration sociale, lutte contre la discrimination, politique de l'éducation, programme opérationnel, rapport, Roms, Roumanie, Slovaquie, société civile, Tchéquie, égalité de traitement
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