involvement of local and regional authorities in drawing up national policy frameworks for Roma;
active participation of Roma communities, which represent an estimated 10-12 million people;
clear economic importance of Roma equality and integration;
the objectives and measures set out in the national Roma strategic frameworks should take into account specific local and regional characteristics within Member States and disadvantaged micro-regions requiring specific measures;
include the history of the Roma people and/or travellers in school curricula and teaching materials.
The opinion has been just adopted.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
notes that the commitments given on equality, social inclusion and Roma participation need to be renewed and strengthened at European, national, regional and local levels;
urges the Commission to closely monitor progress at Member State level, enforce the application of the relevant EU legislation and swiftly assess the necessity for further legislation since the absence of sanctions risks delaying even further the Roma integration and inclusion process. Invites the Commission to consider the creation of a European advisory board, consisting, inter alia, of experts in Roma policies and involving also representatives of local and regional authorities with tangible experience on Roma issues on the ground. Further insists on the need to improve the representativeness of Roma people in the design and implementation of the national Roma strategic frameworks;
stresses that the national strategic framework must reflect local and regional differences, identify areas facing specific problems and contribute to the application of tailor-made solutions;
notes that making a national Roma strategic framework mandatory is one of the key elements for progress in this area;
recommends that one objective of the framework should be the inclusion of information about Roma history and culture in primary and secondary school textbooks and that indicators should be provided to this effect;
suggests to stop the use of the common denominator "Roma", as it fails to recognise the diversity within the population of people with Romani background. Instead proposes the adoption of the expression "people with Romani identity";
stresses that the financing of national strategic frameworks also requires an integrated approach to the various development funds;
calls for local and/or regional exchange forums to be set up and operated in all Member States that would monitor the implementation of national strategic frameworks, in order to strengthen dialogue and ensure a certain level of cooperation.