'Academic achievement and access to employment are key factors for Roma integration'

The Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) believes that academic achievement and access to employment are key factors for the social integration of Roma and Travellers.

The draft resolution adopted in Paris today by the Committee underlines the fact that discrimination in access to education, poor school results and much higher unemployment rates than among the rest of the population are the daily reality of many of the 11 million Roma and Travellers living today in Europe. Added to this are poor living conditions, inadequate access to healthcare and low incomes.

The adopted text, based on the report by Tobias Zech (Germany, EPP/CD), states the view, however, that these barriers can be overcome. It therefore calls on member states to ensure that all Roma and Traveller children have genuine access to quality pre-school education and that school segregation is eliminated through the creation of an inclusive environment for these children in the education system. Unskilled and semi-skilled Roma and Traveller workers should have access to return-to-education, retraining and vocational education programmes.

With regard to actively promoting equal access of Roma and Travellers to employment, public and private employers should be placed under a legal duty to ensure and report on the diversity of their workforce, include equality requirements in public procurement processes and develop and implement programmes to increase the immediate and long-term employability of Roma and Travellers.

Lastly, Roma and Traveller representatives should be directly involved at all stages of the design, implementation and evaluation of policies, strategies and programmes to promote their inclusion.

The draft text will be put to the vote of the Assembly at one of its forthcoming meetings.