Adopted by the European Union (COCEN group) at the tampere summit, december 1999

Recommendation on the Situation of Roma in the candidate countries: background document, 1999

Guiding Principles for improving the situation of the Roma based on the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Specialist Group of Roma/Gypsy and on the recommendations of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities


The present document gives a brief summary of the principles for action in different fields that may be followed in order to improve the situation of the Roma and Sinti (hereafter referred to as Roma). They are mainly the result of the work carried out in the last three years by the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies of the Council of Europe and by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. The area covered is racism and discrimination against Roma, education, women, economic and employment problems, housing, urban planning and health problems and the international mobility of the Roma.

There is a need to recognise the particular difficulties faced by Roma and the need to undertake effective measures in order to achieve full equality of opportunity, consistent with OSCE commitments, for persons belonging to Roma. There is a need to increase efforts to ensure that Roma are able to play a full and equal part in society, and to eradicate discrimination against them.

The problems faced by the Roma can only be tackled from a multidisciplinary angle. One of the main objectives should be to encourage countries with a Roma minority to adopt a comprehensive approach to Roma issues. Only a long-term vision of the solutions to the problem that gives due consideration to initiatives designed to build bridges between Roma and non-Roma, can lead to a lasting improvement in the situation of Roma.

The establishment of appropriate structures and institutions

The participation of Romani communities in the design and implementation of Roma government policies:

There is a need for strong national anti-discrimination legislation accompanied by specific measures to make sure that such legislation can be invoked in practice by victims;

EDUCATION

The disadvantaged position of Roma in European societies cannot be overcome unless equality of opportunities in the field of education is guaranteed for Roma children.

WOMEN

UNEMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS FACED BY ROMA

The Roma currently face an extremely difficult economic situation, particularly in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Actions should be undertaken by the States in order to prevent the difficult economic situation of large sectors of the Romani population from becoming a threat to the social cohesion of a number of countries.

Training

Information

The fight against discrimination

Integration into the labour market

This is probably the only genuinely promising way of creating jobs and sources of stable income on a large scale and at the same time of promoting the empowerment of the Romani communities. The development of income-generating projects should therefore be strongly supported by the member States.

Land ownership

Participation

HOUSING, URBAN PLANNING AND POVERTY PROBLEMS FACED BY ROMA COMMUNITIES

Many Roma live in extremely poor housing conditions which form an important component of their wider socio-economic deprivation. The following principles should be considered:

The health needs of many Romani communities merit concerted action and commitment of resources. Some of the measures that could be usefully considered.

Governments should give special attention to the particular situation and needs of women in taking measures, including inter alia, adequate housing.

THE INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY OF THE ROMA IN EUROPE