Declaration on Roma integration in the EU enlargement processs signed at Western Balkans Summit
The sixth annual summit within the Berlin Process Initiative for European integration of Western Balkans states was held between 3rd and 5th of July 2019 held in Poznań.
At the initiative of North Macedonia, the Western Balkan countries signed a Declaration on Roma integration in the EU enlargement process as a pledge for their reiterated commitment to continue and enhance efforts for full equality and integration of Roma through implementation of specific set of measures in the areas of employment, education, housing, health, civil registration and non-discrimination.
With the Declaration they pledge to achieve the following objectives:
- A. Employment: Increase the employment rate of Roma in the public sector to the rate proportional of the participation of Roma in the overall population; Increase the employment rate among Roma to at least 25% percent;
- B. Housing: Wherever possible, legalize all informal settlements where Roma live; or provide permanent, decent, affordable and desegregated housing for Roma currently living in informal settlements that cannot be legalized for justified reasons;
- C. Education: Increase the enrolment and completion rate of Roma in primary education to 90 percent and the enrolment and completion rate of Roma in secondary education to 50 percent;
- D. Health: Ensure universal health insurance coverage among Roma to at least 95 percent or to the rate equal to the rest of the population;
- E. Civil Registration: Ensure all Roma are registered in the civil registries;
- F. Non-Discrimination: Strengthen the government structures to protect against discrimination and establish a specific sub-division for non-discrimination of Roma within the formal non-discrimination bodies to process complaints by Roma, provide legal support to alleged victims and identify discrimination schemes, including institutional and hidden discrimination.
Governments of the Western Balkan countries understand that progress on Roma integration is progress towards enlargement. The participation of strong Roma civil society organizations from the countries of the region was crucial.
National Roma civil society organizations from the Western Balkan countries have been strongly represented in the Summit, and their presence was of crucial importance to this process. Sitting alongside the government representatives, the message they sent is that the Roma civil society organizations in the Western Balkans have grown and are consolidated to be considered a partner in the activities and actions towards Roma integration, but also showing that Roma civil society organizations may play an important and critical role in the monitoring and guiding governmental institutions in their Roma inclusion processes.
RCC also introduced the results of the Balkan Barometer 2019, which showed “modestly optimistic” regional perceptions and attitudes across a wide array of social, political and economic factors impacting life in South East Europe.