International Roma Day 2020: EU and Member States must invest in inclusive education to combat poverty and exclusion


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Today, on the International Romani Day 2020, we celebrate Europe’s largest European ethnic minority. In a recent statement, ETUCE called on the EU and Member States to reduce poverty and social exclusion and to guarantee high-quality and inclusive education for all Roma children.

As the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights points out, Roma communities are particularly vulnerable in the current COVID-19 pandemic because of poverty, overcrowded housing, lack of access to hygiene facilities and health services. At the same time, quarantine and social distancing measures risk increasing poverty amongst Roma. Antigypsism, discrimination and exclusion of Roma communities, already prevalent in European society, are also on the rise in some countries.

In our Statement on the EU post-2020 Roma equality and inclusion policy, ETUCE highlights that non-discriminatory high-quality education is crucial for eliminating poverty and exclusion of Roma people and calls on the EU to build a strong post-2020 Roma equality and inclusion policy. EU Member States should prioritise measures to combat anti-Gypsyism in education by eliminating any form of school or class segregation of Roma, addressing stereotypes, and fighting hate speech and hate crime. In order for schools and education staff to be able to create inclusive learning environments for all, they need to be provided with sufficient resources, professional support and continuous professional development.