FRA urges for the implementation of the EU Roma Framework, particularly in education


On the 25th of October 2022, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published a report that presents the findings from its 2021 survey on the experiences of Roma communities across the European Union. Analysing the findings of information collected on more than 20,000 Roma individuals across 10 different countries, the report paints a stark picture of deprivation, exclusion, racism and discrimination.

The 2022 report reveals that countries throughout the EU continue to fall short of the EU’s 10-year plan to support Roma. Around 80% of Roma interviewed for the FRA study remain at risk of poverty. This is particularly bleak when compared with the EU average of 17%. The gloomy portrait is only set to worsen amidst government inertia in the context of the onset of intersecting crisis in Europe.

The report further puts a spotlight on education, recognising it’s potential to be a means of overcoming poverty, stimulating chances, and enabling equal opportunities. This is because the report highlights that participating in early childhood education, obtaining formal education beyond lower secondary education, and attaining an inclusive quality education can greatly influence an individual’s social and economic wellbeing as well as their participation in society.

It is in light of this acknowledgement of the transformational potential of education, the FRA underscores its disappointment in its findings. Significantly, it outlines that only 44% of Roma children attend early childhood education, that just 27% of Roma in between the ages of 20 and 24 have attained a minimum of an upper secondary education, and that segregation affects around half of Roma children.

It further highlights that whilst education policy is the sole responsibility of Member States, the EU Roma framework outlines the ways in which effective equal access to high-quality and inclusive mainstream education can be realised. Ultimately, this will allow countries throughout the EU to respect and implement their commitment to realising the equal right to education for all.

The European Trade Union Committee for Education welcomes the FRA’s 2022 report and the findings of the survey that show the desperate need for countries throughout Europe to introduce robust policy responses to ensure that Roma can realise their fundamental rights. The ETUCE’s own Action Plan on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and its constituent Strategy for Implementation, outline a comprehensive and sustainable strategy for ensuring equality, inclusion and non-discrimination in education and society. This strategy includes ETUCE and its member organisations committing to, amongst a plethora of other pledges, ensuring that textbooks and teaching materials are revised to include the representation of the cultures of ethnic minorities and indigenous people.