The current EU Roma Framework runs out this year – but despite almost a decade of policy activity, not much improvement has materialised.
The lack of a consistent definition raises the question if European Roma policy is doomed to failure, as its target is not clearly defined.
The EU’s direct involvement with policy specifically directed towards Roma was a response to change political conditions arising from eastward enlargement.
By imagining Roma as a distinct and coherent transnational ethnic minority and policy object, the EU at risk of becoming the stepmother country of an orphan people.
Characterised by unending transition and constant workforce migration, the economies of the Western Balkans could find balance and become sustainably competitive with green reforms and better attention to welfare and labour rights. Regional cooperation with a strong focus on EU integration could be the right drive for change.
Rural citizens must benefit, like any others, from equitable conditions to achieve their professional, social, and personal goals. This is a moral obligation to which we are obliged as a society. It is also an ethical and political imperative if we are genuinely engaged in accomplishing the European Pillar of Social Rights. A strong social Europe that is just, inclusive, and with plenty of opportunities along its green and digital transitions, cannot leave anyone behind.
From the local to supranational scale, the Covid-19 crisis forced the world to face the question: who should oversee the solutions? Which authority, and on what ground? This question, and the change of paradigm it brought, is an opportunity to debate and reflect on the place of citizens in the decision-making process, especially in places far from power centres, such as rural areas. Examples of citizens’ participation in rural areas, from successful and less successful strategies to the place of the public sector at the local and European levels in community-led development, can show the way.