The 2011 EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, commonly referred to as the EU Roma Framework, have set ambitious goals up to 2020 to close the gap between Roma and non-Roma in the key policy areas of education, employment, housing, and health, as well as to protect Roma against discrimination. While some progress has been made, evidence shows that the EU Roma Framework failed to achieve substantial impact in all policy areas, including the field of non-discrimination. Now as the EU Roma Framework 2020 is coming to a close, conclusions are being drawn to imagine an improved EU-Roma strategy post-2020.
The Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI) prepared a report “POST-2020 EU ROMA STRATEGY: THE WAY FORWARD” serving as a critical analysis of the EU Roma Framework, providing recommendations for the EC on the way forward. Thanks to contributions of seven OSF programs and counting with contributions of key Roma organizations, the report recommends that the next EU Roma Framework upgrade to a fully-fledged strategy, and make the goals in the four policy areas more concrete and realistic to achieve. The paper also argues that the EC should make the next EU Roma Strategy obligatory for member states and put the fight against Antigypsyism at the forefront of every policy area.
ERIAC was among one of the contributors to the report, providing essential feedback to the post-2020 future of the Framework, highlighting the need for the new policy strategy to include the field of arts and culture as one of the priority areas. Based on ERIAC’s expertise, the social inclusion of Roma will never be possible without cultural inclusion. In this sense, measures in the field of arts and culture will be complementary to other investments and will provide a specific preventive approach to the fight against antigypsyism.
Arts, Culture and History are completely left out of the current EU Roma Framework, and therefore also from the Commission’s Evaluation, which only reflects how skeptical the Framework is about the exclusion of the Roma cultural heritage from the collective European narrative. The centuries of Roma cultural productions and masterpieces of their tangible heritage are not properly researched, documented, and presented. A comprehensive mapping conducted by ERIAC on Roma cultural heritage estimated that there are approximately 10,000 artefacts of Roma culture kept in the basements and storerooms of ethnographic museums, but only two on permanent display in Europe. The aim to erase the negative stereotypes and discriminated imagery of the Roma in the different member states will never be achievable without exposing the mainstream societies to the parallel cultural inheritance of Roma, which ought to be displayed within their national museums’ collection.
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