COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
on improving the economic and employment
of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe
(Adopted by the Committee of
Ministers on 27 November 2001,
at the 774th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers,
under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,
Considering that the aim of the
Council of Europe is to achieve greater unity between its members and that this
aim may be pursued, in particular, through common action in the field of social
Recognising that large groups
of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe suffer from the effects of long-term
unemployment and poverty, which could present a threat to the social cohesion of
Noting that the persistent
problems of poverty and unemployment are the result of discrimination against
and social exclusion of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers, and are closely interlinked
to problems in areas such as accommodation, education, vocational training and
Recognising that the labour
market will not open up many job opportunities for Roma/Gypsies and Travellers
in the near future without pro-active measures;
Considering that the economic
problems of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers cannot be overcome unless member states
consider equal opportunities as a policy priority for access to the labour
market and income-generating activities;
Bearing in mind that policies
aimed at addressing the problems facing Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in the areas
of employment and economic activity should be comprehensive, based on an
acknowledgement that employment is linked to other factors, namely educational
and training aspects, accommodation and the fight against racism and
Bearing in mind that Roma/Gypsy
and Travellers groups are culturally diverse across Europe and that this
diversity should be valued and encouraged at national and local level;
Bearing in mind that priority
should be given to local action and initiatives;
Bearing in mind that social
rights are an integral part of human rights as acknowledged in the revised
European Social Charter;
Bearing in mind the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ETS No. 157);
Bearing in mind Recommendation
No. R (2000)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the education of
Roma/Gypsy children in Europe;
Bearing in mind Recommendations
563 (1969) and 1203 (1993) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe, in which mention is made of the educational needs of Roma/Gypsies in
Bearing in mind Resolutions 125
(1981), 16 (1995) and 249 (1993), and Recommendation 11 (1995) of the Congress
of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe on the situation of Roma/Gypsies in
Bearing in mind General Policy
Recommendation No. 3 of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance
on combating racism and discrimination against Roma/Gypsies in Europe;
Bearing in mind the publication
of the book Gypsies and Travellers (1985), updated in 1994, Roma, Gypsies,
Travellers, Council of Europe Publishing;
Welcoming the document prepared
by the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies entitled "Economic and Employment
Problems faced by Roma/Gypsies in Europe" (MG-S-ROM(99)5rev2);
Bearing in mind the Council of
Europe "Training and guidance memorandum for the staff of employment services
working with disadvantaged ethnic minority communities", as adopted by the
European Committee on Migrations,
Recommends that in implementing
their policies aimed at improving the economic and employment situation of
Roma/Gypsies and Travellers, the governments of the member states should:
– be guided by the principles
set out in the appendix to this recommendation;
– bring this recommendation to the attention of the relevant public and private
bodies in their respective countries through the appropriate channels.
Guiding principles for
employment and economic policies concerning Roma/Gypsies and Travellers 1 in
I. General principles
1. Roma/Gypsy communities and
organisations should participate fully in the processes of designing,
implementing and monitoring programmes and policies aimed at improving their
economic and employment situation.
2. Governments should fully
support empowerment and capacity-building among Roma/Gypsy communities to
improve their economic and labour market situation.
3. Governments should promote,
with a long-term commitment, employment and economic policies for Roma/Gypsy
4. Central, regional and local
authorities should develop flexible structures and approaches, together with
communication strategies, adapted to the diverse situations of Roma/Gypsy
5. In order to promote
synergies and local partnerships, emphasis should be put on the need to
reinforce co-ordination between the appropriate national, regional and local
authorities and Roma and pro-Roma organisations. In addition, governments should
make sure that international organisations of which they are members ensure
effective co-operation and partnership at national and local levels in their
programmes for Roma/Gypsies.
6. Area-based and local
development strategies should contain clear and specific sets of goals and rules
targeting Roma/Gypsy communities.
legislation should be made more effective, bearing in mind that Roma face both
direct and indirect discrimination. Therefore, NGOs providing legal assistance
to Roma/Gypsies should be supported.
8. In the fight against
discrimination, awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of job-seekers to
equal access to the labour market could be launched. Information campaigns on
the rights of employees in the workplace should also be supported.
9. The effectiveness of
anti-discrimination laws would be improved by placing the burden of proof on the
person against whom discrimination is alleged.
10. The collection of labour
market information, where legally possible and with the agreement of
Roma/Gypsies, should fully respect the provisions of the European Convention for
the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal
Data (ETS No. 108) to avoid further discrimination and exclusion.
11. Authorities should
recognise and legitimise economic activities initiated by Roma/Gypsies and
Roma/Gypsies economic contribution to income-generating.
II. Employment policies and
access to the labour market
12. Governments should promote
equal opportunities for Roma/Gypsies on the labour market particularly through
non-discriminatory policies and approaches on the part of national employment
13. Where they exist, national
action plans for employment should pay particular attention to the labour market
problems of Roma/Gypsies and include specific measures to improve their
14. The composition of central,
regional and local government should reflect the structure of the communities
that it serves, including Roma/Gypsies.
15. The employment of
Roma/Gypsies at all levels of the public sector should therefore be promoted and
partnerships with local Roma/Gypsies be established, in order to provide them
with on-the-job training. If necessary, strategies need to be developed to
improve the employment potential of Roma/Gypsies through training in generic
16. Central, regional and local
authorities should exercise their power to achieve a similar goal in the private
sector, for example, in the framework of labour policy measures, tax relief
could be granted to private-sector employers who offer work experience and
placement opportunities to Roma/Gypsies.
17. Particular emphasis should
be placed on providing Roma/Gypsy women with opportunities to enter in the
labour market and to gain access to income-generating and self-employment
activities that would interest them.
18. Governments should remove
barriers to the creation of small businesses in order to enable the development
of Roma/Gypsy small and/or family enterprises.
19. Governments should also set up a legal framework for social enterprises,
which can often provide a means of labour market and economic integration for
20. The development of
income-generating activities by Roma/Gypsies should be supported by the
following principles: partnerships between Roma and non-Roma NGOs, a bottom-up
approach to policy and programme design, wide participation of all parties
concerned, Roma and non-Roma co-operation, equal opportunities between women and
men, accountability and transparency.
21. Central and local
government and administrations should be aware of the possibilities for
Roma/Gypsies to generate income in the fields of provision of services and
production (including tourism, recreation, culture, transport, environmental
repair, new aspects of recycling and disposal, agriculture and animal husbandry,
22. Governments should support
the establishment of intermediary structures for initiatives at local level by
providing assistance in research and assessment of local needs and resources,
project development and management of business initiatives.
23. Authorities should offer
incentives to encourage public services to sign contracts with Roma/Gypsy
businesses to provide services.
24. Central and local
authorities should support the introduction and development of local exchange
and trading systems, credit unions and other alternative financial instruments.
25. Local authorities and NGOs
should be encouraged to promote the creation of sustainable networks between
industry and Roma/Gypsy projects, both at regional or national and at European
26. Access of Roma/Gypsy
trading organisations to foreign markets by co-operation with fair trade
organisations should be promoted.
27. Governments should
guarantee a fair stake in all privatisation processes to Roma/Gypsies, for
example by facilitating effective and legal access to land for agricultural
activities by setting up community land trusts.
IV. Financial instruments
28. Governments should be
encouraged to provide long-term budgetary support for Roma/Gypsy development and
29. Financing strategies should
include the support of Roma and pro-Roma/Gypsy organisations operating in the
field of employment and income-generating activities at local, regional,
national and international level.
30. Member states should
participate in bilateral and multilateral exchanges and European and
international development programmes targeting Roma/Gypsies in central and
eastern European countries (and where possible making financial contributions to
31. Central and local agencies
should be given the necessary legal and budgetary means to support Roma/Gypsy
community development initiatives.
32. International funding
channels, such as the European Union, the World Bank, the Development Bank of
the Council of Europe, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and the UNDP,
play an important role in providing resources, including grants and loans, for
new policies and programmes. Funding projects should foster Roma participation,
co-operation between government and civil society, the decentralisation of
public administration sectors, and the provision of services by NGOs. Funding
channels should also introduce some flexibility into their conditions in order
to promote the development of community programmes and income-generating
V. Training and education
33. Governments should
introduce positive incentives such as grants and mentoring support to encourage
young Roma/Gypsies to complete their secondary education and to attend higher
education institutions or take up apprenticeships. They should also consider
means to improve low levels of qualification and participation in higher
education on the part of Roma/Gypsies.
training of persons involved in recruitment decisions in the private and public
sectors and in national employment services should be encouraged. Training
should combine information on statutory obligations and on good practices in
governmental and company policies, with respect to equal treatment.
35. Roma/Gypsy culture and
identity should be introduced as an integral part of the design and delivery of
vocational education. For example, a system of accreditation should be developed
for skills in traditional crafts and trades and regarded as equivalent to
official qualification standards.
36. Vocational training
programmes for Roma/Gypsies should respond to local or regional needs, for
instance the improvement of Romani neighbourhoods, and to employment
opportunities. Preference should be given to on-the-job training and product
development. Market research should be part of the training.
37. Employment programmes (also
referred to as public support programmes), including adult literacy training,
should include the enhancement of skills and training as an integral part of
their design to help improve the long-term employment prospects of participants.
38. The authorities should
promote the recognition of skills and economic contributions of Roma/Gypsy
communities (see paragraph 11).
39. Governments should set up
qualification programmes targeting young Roma/Gypsies in the field of new
technologies and knowledge.
40. Central and local
authorities should support local leadership training for Roma/Gypsies, including
economic, business, and management dimensions.
VI. Information, research and
41. Roma/Gypsies should be
given information about their rights and responsibilities in the employment
field, about the different forms of help available from administrative bodies
and about the functioning of social protection systems. Such information, which
should be provided by public administrative bodies in co-operation with NGOs,
should enhance the social and economic integration of Roma/Gypsies.
42. The member states should
encourage innovative small-scale projects and research, in order to find local
responses to local needs using available local potential, in co-operation with
the appropriate bodies and individuals.
43. Labour market and economic
development policies and programmes should be carefully monitored and evaluated.
The evaluation of their impact on Roma/Gypsy communities should not only be
limited to business success but also consider the wider implications for Roma
44. A clear statement of
objectives and the establishment of evaluation procedures are important factors
in determining programme success. These elements should be included in the
design phase of programmes.
45. Examples of good practice
and successful instruments and tools should be documented and disseminated
nationally and internationally.
1 . The present
recommendation covers Roma/Gypsies and Travellers, to be referred to as
Roma/Gypsies in the text.