Ministers’ Deputies

CM Documents

CM(2011)181 add       19 December 20111



1132 Meeting, 1 February 2012

6 Social cohesion

6.2 Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM)

Implementation Report on Recommendation Rec(2001)17 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe

Item to be prepared by the GR-SOC on 17 January 2012



Final version of the report prepared by Mrs Louiza Kyriakaki (Greece), in her capacity as former Chair of the MG-S-ROM.

The CAHROM took note of this report at its 1st meeting (Strasbourg, 30-31 March 2011) and decided, at its 2nd meeting (Istanbul, 22-25 November 2011), to transmit it to the Committee of Ministers for information.

[… Social cohesion is the capacity of a society to ensure the well-being of all its members, minimising disparities and avoiding marginalisation…].

[… Social cohesion places the focus on societal well-being and views harmonious and stable social relations as integral to economic and social progress and peaceful co-existence. A core concern is the extent to which people feel connected to society and give their loyalty and commitment to a set of values and social goals that are widely shared…].

[… Social cohesion is created by strong social bonds and acceptance by members of society of their joint responsibilities, requires all individuals to be able to participate in economic life and enjoy its advantages, necessitates processes challenging power structures and the distribution of resources in society, requires tolerance and recognition of persons from different cultures and identities…].

(Report of the High Level Task Force on Social Cohesion in the 21st century, TFSC (2007)31E)

Table of contents

Page

1 Preface 3

2 The Recommendation 4

3 Employment Policies in the Council of Europe Member States 4

4 Overview – Conclusions 38

5 Appendices 40

1. Preface

In light of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec(2001)17 on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe,2 this implementation report means to provide a useful tool-guide in the field of employment related policies towards the Roma3 population.

Recognising that the employment and thus the economic situation of the Roma population in Europe is further burdened by all social components of exclusion and discrimination (in particular) in the field of education and vocational training, this report draws attention to the principles and recommendations set out in Recommendation Rec(2001)17 and envisages to gather successful examples of policies and measures implemented among various Council of Europe member states, based on the acquis gained since, at least, the adoption of the Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec(2001)17. The recommendation, and so does the report, goes in line with other existing textbooks and institutional employment related instruments within the Council of Europe (CoE), the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) Conventions and the Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which altogether deliver the institutional and legal framework regarding the protection of the social right to employment.4

It is in that sense that Recommendation Rec(2001)17 as early as in the beginning of the 2000 era constituted a comprehensive tool for member states while drafting and implementing employment related policies towards the Roma population in accordance, however, with their constitutional and legal traditions. Hence, the aim of this implementation report is, instead of redrafting new principles and recommendations, to draw attention to the extent and the level into which the Council of Europe member states managed to introduce into their domestic law and practice the principles set forth in Recommendation Rec(2001)17.

Meanwhile and most importantly, the present implementation report means to gather and present to the extent possible, employment practices which could prove useful for the combat of discrimination through social inclusion policies with a particular focus on economic empowerment and thus, integration. In that, it is considered a practical tool-guide for assisting officials engaged in mainstream employment policies and not just in Roma related employment policies, with various examples of employment practices implemented so far among the Council of Europe member states, in line with Rec(2001)17. Hence, although the principal aim is to draw attention to good examples, and in that way, to assist in the exchange of good practices and know-how, it should be nevertheless stressed that any initiative undertaken in the field, whether successful or partially successful, falls equally under the scope of this report and is deemed, by all means, an important experience and a “step forward” in the way to the emancipation of the Roma communities throughout Europe.

With these few words, allow me to express my gratitude to the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Roma and Travellers (MG-S-ROM) for entrusting me with the task to draft this piece of work, as well as all Committee members who participated actively in this with their contributions. My special appreciation goes also to the Secretariat of the Committee for useful information and additional material provided, but above all, for the continuous support and encouragement offered till the finalisation of this report.

Mrs Louiza KYRIAKAKI

Previous Chair of the MG-S-ROM

Member of the CAHROM for Greece

2. The Recommendation

Recommendation Rec(2001)17 was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in 2001 within the founding concept of the Council of Europe for achieving greater unity among its member states. The Recommendation envisages the combat of discrimination against Roma while accessing the labour market through, in particular, common action in the field of social cohesion. The Recommendation follows from the wide acknowledgement that large groups of Roma in Europe suffer the effects of long-term unemployment and poverty which could present equally a threat to social cohesion in the Council of Europe member states and none the least, places the Roma community itself at risk of poverty, social exclusion and fundamental rights’ deprivation. It, therefore, goes further into recognising that persistent problems of poverty and unemployment are the result of discrimination against Roma and so, of their social exclusion. In that it becomes obvious that effective access to employment is closely linked to problems in areas such as accommodation, education, vocational training and health.

It is thus widely appreciated that the labour market will not open up many job opportunities for Roma in the near future without proactive measures been undertaken by member states. Considering that the economic problems of Roma cannot be overcome unless member states consider equal opportunities as a policy priority for access to the labour market and income generating activities and these policies should be comprehensive based on the acknowledgement that employment is linked to other factors, namely educational and training aspects and the fight against racism and intolerance-discrimination. However culturally diverse Roma are, diversity should be valued, encouraged and promoted at national and local level. Particular attention should be paid to tailored, though comprehensive policies, towards diversity which may offer an added value to the fight against persistent unemployment. Influenced by the ESC and social rights, the right to work in other words for this particularly vulnerable group needs to be prioritised.

3. Employment policies in the Council of Europe member states

The present Chapter examines how the Council of Europe member states have been influenced by the Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec(2001)17 while implementing policies towards the employment and in general, economic empowerment of the Roma communities.

Depending on the information collected on existing employment state policies, the report maintains the structure of the Recommendation on an article by article based approach, along with the Recommendation’s general guiding principles. Where equal principles and guidelines are expressed, the articles of the recommendation have been clustered based on the main principle pertained. Therefore, the present Chapter is structured on five main thematic areas, in particular employment policies and access to the labour market; income generation activities; financial instruments; training and education and information, research and assessment. Further grouping of the guiding principles envisaged in the Recommendation has additionally formulated the main sub-units of the respective thematic areas.

In addition, information and experience gained from mainstream employment policies and activities in the CoE member states, whether not directly deriving from this Recommendation, yet are considered of profound value for further fostering the implementation of this Recommendation and are equally presented in terms of research and information comprehensiveness.

Finally it should be acknowledged that all practices described thereon are based on the material provided by the members of the Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller issues (MG-S-ROM). Additional information received from the Secretariat of the Committee but also through participation in employment related workshops supported by the CoE, are equally introduced in the implementation report.

      3.1 Employment policies and access to the labour market

        3.1.1 Long term programmes and policies aimed at improving the employment and economic situation of Roma.

The main idea being adequate facilitation of Roma access to employment and the labour market on a long-term basis and on equal footing with all other citizens. Policies aiming to counteract the lack of established Roma access to the labour market have been widely held either in the form of National Action Plans and Strategies or in the greater context of mainstream employment related policies with particular focus on socially vulnerable groups.

[Roma/Gypsy communities and organisations should participate fully in the processes of designing, implementing and monitoring programmes and policies aimed at improving their economic and employment situation] (Rec.I.1)

[Governments should promote, with a long-term commitment, employment and economic policies for Roma/Gypsy communities] (Rec.I.3)

[Governments should promote equal opportunities for Roma/Gypsies on the labour market particularly through non-discriminatory policies and approaches on the part of national employment services] (Rec.II.12)

[Where they exist, national action plans for employment should pay particular attention to the labour market problems of Roma/Gypsies and include specific measures to improve their situation] (Rec.II.13)

Up until recently, a small number of the Council of Europe member states appeared to have adopted national employment policies aiming at the creation of equal opportunities for the Roma while, and for accessing the labour market. In most cases this was reflected through the implementation of Employment National Action Plans, providing inter alia for employment policies targeting Roma as part of vulnerable groups, or through National Action Plans for the Roma social inclusion with an employment component too. Likewise, the combatting of discrimination has been pursued through positive discrimination measures in national employment policies targeting disadvantaged groups of the population, and in particularly the Roma, as one of the most vulnerable groups in all European states. With the main aim being the establishment of equal opportunities while accessing the labour market, national action plans on employment or with an employment component formulate the primary context met in member states for addressing the problems met by Roma when accessing the job market.

National Action Plans provide for both proactive and intermediary measures to address the most evident factors of exclusion from the labour market, that’s of illiteracy and of the subsequent lack of basic skills and qualifications (although within the paradox of a highly demanding and competitive labour market). The experience met in the member states proves that although in most of the cases the majority of the measures were adopted on a short term basis, these were subsequently extended through their adoption within the context of a national action plan for the combat of social exclusion. The ensuing transposition into domestic law of the EU directive on “equal treatment at employment and training”5 has further created the legal –though fragile- boundaries of the obligations established for the member states, whereas the EU initiative on the combat of social exclusion, as the name of the initiative indicates itself (EQUAL),6 the European Social Fund (ESF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), not only pressed for urgent action but also provided for the financial context of most of the measures undertaken. Later initiatives targeting particularly the Roma population, such as the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 initiative, fill further the background for the adoption of similar actions.

With the exception of few member states, the rest proceeded only as late as in the mid of the 21st century first decade and onwards with the lunch of a National Action Plan for the combat of social exclusion, whether exclusively for the Roma population or including Roma, whereas in other member states employment policies targeting the Roma population have not formulated so far a National Action Plan and are individually or mainly, financed by the ESF (Italy, The Netherlands), the UNDP, the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) etc.

Among the member states studied, the case of Spain offers the most multi-annual, in terms of long term commitment scheme, national strategy for the Roma population. Launched as early as in 1989, the “Gypsy Development Programme” means to improve the living conditions of Gypsies in Spain, to secure for them a certain quality of life and to encourage their participation in public and social life by effectively applying the principle of equal opportunities while accessing the social welfare system. By aiming so, it fosters a more harmonious level of co-existence with different social and cultural groups and supports the Gypsy associative movement while combating discrimination and racism against the Gypsy population. Later in 2010, a National Action Plan (2010-2012) was launched. Intended to boost policies targeting the Roma population, the NAP means to engage all national ministries involved in the implementation of these policies, in cooperation with

the Spanish autonomous communities and in close coordination with Gypsy NGOs. The NAP consists of eight action areas, one of them being in particular labour and economic activities. In Greece, the National Action Plan for social inclusion (NAPincl) engages, since 2001, the Integrated Action Plan for the social inclusion of Greek Roma (IAP, 2002-2008). This had been the first attempt to formulate a national plan in Greece for the address of the problems faced by Roma in a comprehensive way. In essence the IAP put forward the principles governing social integration and provided local authorities with the primary framework for assisted action in the fields of housing, employment, education, health and culture. In fact, the employment component was dealt within the context of those measures which are deemed necessary for the effective improvement of the living conditions of the Roma population.

In a rather uncommon way among the Council of Europe member states, Ireland7 offers an example of engaging Traveller’s issues, in particular those of employment, in the National Partnership Agreement Towards 2016, based on the findings and recommendations of the High Level Group on Traveller Issues (Task Force on the Traveller Community), since 1995. Recent national legal instruments, such as the Employment Equality Act (1998-2004), the Equal Status Acts (2000-2004) and the National Action Plan Against Racism (2005-2008), provided for equal access of the Traveller community to employment through a number of positive actions implemented by a number of County Councils in Ireland in cooperation with the National training and Employment Authority (Fás) for counteracting the effects suffered by Travellers on the grounds of discrimination.

In Bulgaria, the development, in 2007, of a National Action Plan under the Decade for Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 initiative, aims at the coordination of the efforts of central and local authorities as well as those of NGOs, towards the implementation of Roma targeted strategies and policies. In the Czech Republic,8 the improvement of the situation of socially excluded Roma forms the principal focus of the National Action Plan for the social integration for the period 2008-2010 (Roma Integration Concept). The priority aim of this “concept document” is to support the integration of disadvantaged population groups (Roma) through a wide range of measures in the social services, education and employment while equally preventing “socio-pathological” phenomena.9 Particularly with regard to employment, the main goals set are to increase the number of staff working with disadvantaged job seekers, to introduce a profiling system for job seekers, to develop a system of further training, methodological support and supervision, to give publicity for successful projects at regional level, to disseminate information on social entrepreneurship, to implement requalification programmes on private business, to support awareness-raising for the prevention of illegal working and to support diversity in the private and public sector.

In October 2003, the Croatian Government adopted a National Programme for Roma (NPR) in order to provide them with systematic assistance for improving their living conditions and eventually, including them in social life and decision-making processes (at the local level but also within their wider community), while at the same time preserving their identity, culture and traditions. In order to further improve the living conditions of the Roma minority and with a view to integrating them further into social and public life through a co-ordinated initiative at the inter-regional level, Croatia joined the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 initiative. In accordance with the recommendations of the Roma Decade Steering Committee, a Roma Decade Action Plan was drafted and adopted by the Government in 2005: in each of the envisaged areas, it sets out the goals, the targets, indicators and monitoring methods, as well as the necessary funds. Additionally, the Action Plan addresses the cross-cutting issues on the combat of discrimination and poverty and the promotion of gender equality. Both strategic documents provide with employment related measures, on the basis of which, the National Employment Promotion Plan is being regularly updated, the main goal being to increase the employment rate of Roma, their motivation for employment and all in all, Roma employability. These documents were developed through a wide consultation process, involving Roma representatives from NGOs, councils of the Roma national minority, international organisations (including the CoE), competent authorities at both central and local level etc.10

Within the context of the Decade for Roma Inclusion (2005-2015) initiative too, the National Strategy for the Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” aims at better integrating the Roma population into the society through fostering their economic empowerment and long-term development in all fields of life. Moreover, persistent problems of trafficking and irregular migration affecting equally Roma among other population groups, have turned to form one additional goal of the National Strategy with an employment component, further defined in accordance with the National Poverty Reduction Strategy.

Likewise, an Action Plan for 2008-2009 was adopted in Hungary11 in effect of governmental decision 1105/2007 and parliamentary resolution 68/2007, within the context of the Decade for Roma Inclusion. The Government Action Plan has a Roma employment component aiming at integrating Roma in the labour market through training and skills’ development.

An interesting case where the results of researching on Roma issues constitute the knowledge basis for the proposed activities on Roma employment is offered in Finland. The proposal for the National Policy on Roma was proposed to the Government in December 200912 and contains measures on education and vocational training as part of the improvement of the employment situation of Roma. Although not of a National Plan nature, still a Plan of Action for the improvement of Roma living conditions in the Oslo region of Norway13 was enriched with employment focused measures in line with the Qualification programme (2007). The aim being the improvement of access to employment, the programme addresses those capable of gaining a foothold in the labour market. In Slovenia, Roma employability is pursued within the context of Employment National Programmes and Policies as for example the Programme of Measures for Assisting the Roma (1995), containing positive measures for Roma social inclusion and their full participation in the labour market. In 2010, a new Integrated National Programme of measures for the Roma was launched for the period 2010-2015,14 including inter alia measures for increasing Roma employability. In particular, the Active Employment Policy Programme for the period 2007 – 2013 and its operational plans include measures for the improvement of Roma access to employment. Additional programmes, such as the Public Works Programmes, place particular focus on Roma employability (the current programme is the Public Works for 2009 and 2010).

Structural unemployment of the “work-shy Gypsy” image15 of Roma in Poland is addressed by a Governmental Programme for the Roma Community (2004-2013)16 comprising of strategic priorities towards the development of the social status of Roma which is inevitably affected by high level of unemployment and low education. Based on the primary principle that effective address of unemployment can be managed at the local level, the employment component of the Programme provides for free selection of measures by the local authorities, whilst prioritising17 on social aid and subsidised employment projects, training in skills and vocational counselling. In Romania,18 member of the Decade for Roma Inclusion, alongside the 2001 National Strategy for the improvement of the Roma we meet the uncommon example of a National Roma Agency for the coordination, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of Roma focused policies. With regard to employment policies in particular, facilitation of Roma access to the labour market has been envisaged since 1996 through a number of income generating activities and training programmes. From 2001 onwards, the National Strategy for the Roma has shifted focus from the promotion of specific for the Roma occupations (i.e. accessible to the Roma occupations), to the sustainability of the posts or activities undertaken.

Although not in the context of Roma focused National Action Plan, the Slovak Republic has incorporated the principal idea of social cohesion into the National Strategy on Social Protection and Social Inclusion (NAP incl). Within the general concept of “active inclusion”, it is acknowledged that besides social protection systems, active inclusion provides for assistance in terms of social exclusion prevention and thus, for the support of employment growth and human resources empowerment. Among other communities, the Romani community, being a group suffered multiple forms of exclusion, is a marginalised community at risk of poverty. In that, marginalised Roma form under the NAP incl. one of the target groups requiring support and assistance for the development of their living conditions.19

Among the most recent cases of a National Action Plan for the Roma, we meet the NAP adopted by Bosnia and Herzegovina (2009-2015) in 2009, following its accession to the Decade for the Roma Inclusion Programme. The NAP comprises of three pillars, in particular employment, housing and health-care. The NAP is supervised by a Coordination Council, whereas its implementation20 is based on a methodology and finance plan, produced in cooperation with members of the Roma community, the local authorities and the Government. In particular, the employment component of the NAP comprises measures on Roma employment incentives, self-employment and training in skills in line with field labour needs.

Broad consultation with Roma, local authorities and ministerial agencies has recently resulted to a proposal for a Swedish Roma Strategy for ensuring equal rights and full participation; bridging the welfare gap between Roma and non Roma and establishing a new social contract for Roma in Sweden. The proposed Strategy includes several measures in main thematic areas21 for the exercise of civil, social, economic and cultural rights among which employment too.

Depending on the material collected it was not clearly witnessed whether the drafting22 and not that often the implementation scheme of Roma National Strategies or of National Employment Programmes, fulfils the participation principle contained in the recommendation, as well as in several international texts and documents. Equally important is the lack of periodic assessment or reporting on the goals of the Programmes achieved which most of the times are contained in the context of IO’s national reports on human and social rights. In addition, in most of the cases, the adoption of National Action Plans for the Roma are pending continuity and long-term planning since they have been launched either very recently, or with a rather short-term operational period. This by itself poses an important challenge for member states for timely pertinent drafting of national plans related to the allocation of funds. To some extent, it would be neither exaggerated to say that in certain cases the adoption of National Action Plans was dealt within the transition process to the EU or under the Decade for Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 initiative. This brought up objective difficulties while trying to adjust policies into the operational period of the programmes or the initiatives announced, especially in the context of the financial tools provided within the Community Framework Support (CFS) and its restricted eligibility criteria.23 Given on the other hand of the demand on long-term prioritising, it eventually produced long-term commitment though not in the expected holistic context, caused equally by lack of previous experience on comprehensive national plans.

In all of the cases witnessed, National Action Plans comprising an employment component establish the context for Roma targeted policies, whether within the general context of vulnerable groups of the population or not. Pending on the results to be achieved, however, it is rather encouraging that now on the majority of the CoE member states are shifting their priority into a more focused policy for the improvement of Roma status of living. Whether resulted by the influx of Roma focused recommendations or not, it emerges as self-evident that effective address of the number of the problems met require a comprehensive strategy in all fields where social exclusion is experienced, in line though with mainstream policies.

By the end of the day, whether for successful or not experience, the initiatives undertaken led to the acknowledgement of the need for drafting national plans within the course of mainstream national policies which do not reproduce isolation in the social process. Integrated interventions at the local level offer an exceptional example of this principle based on synergy and an holistic approach policy model.

        3.1.2 Empowerment and Capacity Building: Tailored policies

The principles clustered under this subtitle deal with the main idea of direct capacity building for the ensuing creation of job opportunities for the Roma community. The key element of this chapter is the creation of employment posts, in the public and private sector through tailored policies by making use of existing skills and potentials, developing new and eventually providing the market place with potential, skilled Roma in line with an assessment of the labour market demands and the Roma community potentials, starting from the local level. Capacity-building relevant techniques, like language acquisition and vocational training; on-the-job training and job fairs; apprenticeship; labour profiling (market & labour force) on the basis of labour mediation and counselling programmes; gender-balance in recruitment policies are some of the main principles for effectively implementing employment policies addressing diverse situations.

[Governments should fully support empowerment and capacity building among Roma/Gypsy communities to improve their economic and labour market situation] (Rec.I.2)

[Governments should promote, with a long-term commitment, employment and economic policies for Roma/Gypsy communities] (Rec.I.3)

[Central, regional and local authorities should develop flexible structures and approaches, together with communication strategies, adapted to the diverse situations of Roma/Gypsy communities] (Rec.I.4)

[Area-based and local development strategies should contain clear and specific sets of goals and rules targeting Roma/Gypsy communities] (Rec.I.6)

[The collection of labour market information where legally possible and with agreement of Roma/Gypsies, should fully respect the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal data (ETS No.108) to avoid further discrimination and exclusion] (Rec.I.10)

[Where they exist, national action plans for employment should pay particular attention to the labour market problems of Roma/Gypsies and include specific measures to improve their situation] (Rec.II.13)

[The composition of central, regional and local government should reflect the structure of the communities that it serves, including Roma/Gypsies] (Rec.II.14)

[The employment of Roma/Gypsies at all levels of the public sector should therefore be promoted and partnerships with local Roma/Gypsies be established, in order to provide them with on-the-job training. If necessary, strategies need to be developed to improve the employment potential of Roma/Gypsies through training in generic skills] (Rec.II.15.)

[Particular emphasis should be placed on providing Roma/Gypsy women with opportunities to enter in the labour market and to gain access to income-generating and self-employment activities that would interest them]. (Rec.II.17.)

[Governments should support the establishment of intermediary structures for initiatives at local level by providing assistance in research and assessment of local needs and resources, project development and management of business initiatives] (Rec.III.22)

The way to Roma communities’ empowerment finds a challenging expression through the Irish lifestyle approach comprising tailored policies which place the person in the centre of policy development and delivery,24 and moves integration procedure into a rather competitive context, suitable for providing even greater opportunities for an equal footing in employment and making on the same time, even more realistic the effective integration of disadvantaged groups of the population in the labour market. The acknowledgement of the primary rule on exploring existing human resources in order to better adjust them into the needs of the market and vice versa, resembles with the mere acknowledgement of the competitiveness’ demand of nowadays open economies. Following from the recommendations of the High Level Group on Traveller issues Report in 1995, the national partnership agreement “Towards 2016” sets the principal context for bottom up drafted employment policies and opportunities by assessing the risks faced by individuals and eventually, through available support to address these risks at key stages of their life (children, people of working age, older people, people with disabilities etc.). In practical terms, the social context (local level) in as much as the needs and potentials of individuals, are placed in the centre of policy delivery and in that way allow for focused, with clear set of goals, sustainable initiatives at the local level. Particular projects undertaken in this context in Ireland, have supported Traveller internship programmes in the civil service (primarily in cooperation with a number of County Councils,25 the National Training and Employment Agency (FÁS) and a number of Governmental Administrative Departments), training and/or employment opportunities both in the civil and private sector but also, registration for self-employed Travellers (enterprises and free-traders) and education support workers.

In line with the tailored approach, the collection of adequate labour market information in terms of the labour market particularities and of the potentials of the Roma communities at the local level, is crucial for the efficiency of the measures to be elaborated, since taking into consideration not only diverse situations and needs in the labour market but also, different needs and potentials among the Roma communities, such as youth, women, workers of mid-age, long-term unemployed persons, workers in traditional crafts etc. Labour caravans in Romania, career fairs in Bulgaria, job fairs in «the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia» and employment zones in the United Kingdom, form a particular initiative for bringing Roma closer to the labour market through the establishment of direct contact between employers and employees. The principal idea is to provide the market with qualified Roma workers, to promote employment opportunities and to engage inactive persons in the labour market at the local level. They thus address in a rather focused but also, in a differentiated needs’ oriented way the labour issue of the Roma communities.

For instance, employment caravans in Romania were established as part of the national Labour Agency strategy and run by the county employment agencies, in different rural and/or Roma communities. Their primary functioning is to identify people not registered with the labour agency but willing to take up jobs and in general, to increase employment for Roma who have been away from the labour market for long. Based on the main distinguishing features of unemployed Roma in Romania, and elsewhere though, employment caravans provide for tailored interventions26 in order to attract potential candidates for professional training courses, which along with supportive services on job mediation and information on available services and job opportunities, will improve their employability skills and eventually, their employment opportunities. It is worth noted that employment caravans have been resulted by effective cooperation of all stakeholders in Roma issues such as central, county and local authorities, representatives of the Roma communities, Roma experts

working with the prefects’ offices, Roma NGOs and entrepreneurs and finally, businesses interested in employing Roma. Additionally, the National Employment Agency has been running since 2003 Job fairs for Roma as well as for Roma women (job fairs may address generally those in unemployment or in particular certain population categories such as young graduates, older persons, Roma, Roma women etc.).

Another example of facilitating access to the labour market at the local level, given the particular characteristics of the target group and the market within a larger geographical context (regions with high unemployment rates and social isolation) is met in Bulgaria under the programme “Support for Cultivators of Herbs and Alternative Agricultural Products”. As indicated in the title of the project, it supports cultivators of herbs and alternative agricultural products through a network of eight specialized centres established in several regions in Bulgaria.27 The project provides producers running micro and small agricultural businesses with various training on cultivation techniques, alternative products and basic skills on sustainable and competitive business. Permanent support from local agronomists, provision of seedlings, establishment of dryers and storage facilities, marketing ideas and unification of producers in groups are some more major aspects of this component. The initiative is co-financed by the Kingdom of Norway. Producers from minorities are also taking part in this initiative.

In Croatia, most employment activities are conducted through the county branches of the National Employment Service, therefore enabling for specific local labour market needs and potentials of the target-groups addressed to be taken fully into account, choose within the range of measures available and adapt them to local circumstances. A number of Roma “contact” persons were employed in the branch offices, bringing the process even closer to the local Roma communities. Still, local monitoring of the activities held has shown that, apart from Roma-focused employment measures, a number of Roma benefits equally from “mainstream” employment policies. Another example has been a PHARE 2005 project, entitled «Roma employment Initiative». The project was implemented on the grounds of three vocational programmes which aimed at making the Roma minority members more competitive in the labour market while, on the same time, providing employers with adequate support. The project was implemented from 2007 to 2008, with a budget of 108,326 euro.

A similar approach, focusing on existing potentials of the Roma community and, on the same time, on the needs of the market, is met through the Roma House project, again in Romania. Although not yet initiated, still the philosophy of the “Romano Cher” project to be implemented under the SOP for “Human Resources Development 2007-2013 in Romania,28 offers a challenging opportunity for supporting Roma people who still profess traditional crafts. The main idea is to adapt the utility and the quality of significant traditional crafts at the demands of contemporary economy in Romania. Additionally, the programme offers for bridging communicative barriers29 between the Roma and the general population given that remaining prejudices on the operational skills of the Roma communities obstructs at large their economic, and thus social, integration. The project will be structured upon a socio-anthropological assessment of the Roma communities where crafts are still professed, as well as of the particularities of the crafts merchandised, in terms of current production requirements, potential markets and adaptation strategies. The measure will be supported by the operation of intermediary services-centres for the exhibition of crafts, products and craftsmen but also for training and vocational counselling for Roma craftsmen.30

Career fairs have been also developed in different regions31 in Bulgaria, since 2006, in order to promote the employment opportunities of economically inactive persons. The measure targets unemployed persons and other individuals searching for jobs in the region and involves labour intermediaries in the local employment agencies. Career fairs provide for direct contact between job seekers and employers and facilitate job contracting on the spot.

In Finland profiling for facilitating the access of Roma into the labour market was employed by the Ministry of Employment and Economy in 2004 through the appointment of contact persons for Roma affairs in several labour offices (60 contact persons were appointed in 2009). The contact persons for Roma affairs are non-Roma officials whose task is to gather information and to increase the knowledge about the employment situation of the Roma and the obstacles they meet while accessing the labour market. The aim of the taken measure is to improve the labour services addressed to Roma.

An older effort of the individualised model comes from The Netherlands, back in the mid 90’s, in the context of the mainstream employment policy.32 Profiling of individual clients who have been away from the labour market for long was pursued through “coaching tracks” operated by mainstream reintegration companies33 commissioned by the municipality to look for potential Roma workers at the local level.34 Again, the central idea is to match human resources with the labour market at the local level resulting in jobs, vocational training, apprenticeship and the creation of small enterprises in informal economy sectors of the automobile branch, music and food industry, beauty, fashion and clothing, education and environment.35 The project aims at the creation of employment opportunities either in wage labour or entrepreneurship through language acquisition (Dutch learning, writing, history) and vocational training but also through social and cultural activities (with special emphasis been given to music activities). A basic component of the scheme is the engagement of reintegration councillors, who mediate between the clients (Roma communities in focus) and a wide variety of services provided in all fields of social and civic life resulting in essence, to an outreaching, targeted and personal approach that builds on clients’ trust and personal motivation. According to the profiling of individual clients model, the development of competences engages inter alia regular visits in the settlements, consultation and counselling of clients’ parents, assistance in practical problems and daily administrative procedures in order to create the necessary context for the clients’ integration36 in accordance with their specific needs.

Another example of, in other words, assisted and personalised access of the Roma communities to the labour market is offered under the Equal Development Partnership (Phase II) in Italy37 through the programme “The long road of Sinti and Roma: pathways to employment”. The project was implemented in the Region of Emilia Romagna for the period 01/07/2005-31/12/2007 and was structured on three stages which comprised advice and counselling; individual training; and practical experience. At the first stage of the programme, one-stop-shops (“Sportelli Integrati”) were established in Parma, Piacenza, Emilia regions and in the Employment Service of Bologna,38 in order to integrate the public and private services in the fields of social work, training and employment and to bring them closer to the Roma and Sinti communities. The second stage comprised the development and implementation of personalised training programmes (individual training), starting with the analysis of individual needs. Guidance sessions were scheduled to outline a program that will result to active job search. Each individual was accompanied through the process of registering for work at one of the local public or private employment services. They were also supported in all aspects of job search and preparation for job interviews. Prior to that, individuals participated in on-going vocational counselling and various types of training, to improve their literacy and numeracy or to improve their social, communication and IT skills. The implementation of the programme resulted to more focused training courses. To date, training has been offered in health and safety at work, knitwear, office cleaning, fashion, services, motor mechanics, waste collection and the production of artisanal goods. Finally, the third phase of the project provided for a period of work experience ranging from six months to one year.39

In other countries such as for instance in Germany, where access of the Roma communities to the labour market is pursued through mainstream employment policies rather than Roma earmarked programmes (targeting unemployment regardless of ethnic origin), the measures implemented are structured on the basis of individual characteristics of the jobseekers. The collection of information in terms of multicultural and language skills, is arranged by Employment Agency Advisers.40

Further on, the ‘Social Inclusion in the Tatras’ project41 in Slovakia aims at encouraging active job search by creating employment opportunities for jobless people in segregated Roma communities, unqualified and homeless individuals, and those over 50, in the Poprad42 and Levoča districts. Project centres will offer proactive assistance in job search as well as legal and psychological counselling and training. The project will run for 20 months and will be implemented via the existing project centres in Poprad and Spišský Hrhov districts. One strand of the initiative is to train communication, social work and project consultants to set up and run a new company which will provide jobs at the local level and will possibly develop into a new social enterprise. Another objective, over the course of the project, is to produce a project management manual.

In Sweden, the overall objective of the Government’s labour market policy is to contribute to a well-functioning labour market, to increase employment and to reduce social exclusion. Based on the “work-first” principle, great emphasis is placed on matching employers and potential employees with a focus on those most detached from the labour market, among which the Roma communities too.

Based on the practices presented it could be generally considered that career fairs, consist a tailored and in essence, a needs’ oriented flexible employment approach that could be adjusted to the diverse situations of the Roma communities, with particular attention been paid to the labour market problems of the Roma and the labour market itself, and can be further accomplished through the operation of intermediary services at the local level, whether mainstream or not, on the basis of basic qualification training provided, labour mediation, information and assistance on the requirements of the market (as witnessed in a number of cases such as the “Sportelli” in Italy, Job centres in Bulgaria, employment caravans and career fairs in Romania etc.).

Intermediary services deployed for instance through local based agencies of social workers and labour mediators tend to provide with properly focused interventions and set of goals. Based on the practices implemented, the institution of labour mediation and social assistance, where applicable, introduces an important and focused bridge between the target group and the mainstream society. As explained above in the case of The Netherlands, reintegration councillors43 serve as a form of personal social worker who liaises between the Roma communities and all expressions of civil and administrative life (mainstream society).

In Bulgaria, labour mediation has been identified through focused on Roma researching as a particular employment measure in terms of training for community representatives. The measure has been implemented through the National Action Plan on Employment for 2008, providing inter alia for the creation of 45 labour mediators’ posts. In June 2008, 41 labour mediators received certificates after successfully sitting a training course in the framework of the National Programme “Activation of inactive persons”.

Moreover, the so called “JOBS” centres in Bulgaria44 consist a pilot Roma employment initiative aiming at the establishment of a sustainable mechanism for the creation of employment opportunities and business support in disadvantaged communities. Two business centres were established in the regions of Burgas (“Podeba”) and Pazardjik (“Iztok”)”in two Roma neighbourhoods, providing local Roma with a standard pack of services in qualification and motivation training, business consultation and access to financial leasing while on the same time focusing on adequate information between the entrepreneurs and the community. The scheme provided also for technical assistance to start up small business (financing of fees and permits, insurance expenses, training for the entrepreneurs etc.). Based on the experience gained, the project was extended in 2006, with the establishment of external offices to the JOBS centres in Elhovo and Pestera, on the basis of international partnerships.45

Likewise, field social work at the local level in the Czech Republic, has been developed as an alternative intermediary service at the local level supported by public administration. Through non-profit organisations at the community level, field social workers function as an «extended arm» of Roma advisors and local government offices. In practice they support Roma in poor living conditions in dealing with daily issues, such as indebtedness, unemployment, housing problems, educational problems, dependency, etc. On the other hand they point out systemic shortfalls and barriers in the locality, which prevent Roma communities from being actively involved in the life of the community or the region. A significant part is also played in the field of social service by community social work, which has the greatest potential for the social inclusion of excluded Roma communities, because it is built on respect for family ties, collective history, traditions and solidarity. This method of social work is, unfortunately, used only rarely in the Czech Republic.46

Roma contact persons have been also employed through the county branches of the National Employment Service in Croatia for liaising between the Roma community and the Employment Service at the local level while focusing on labour market needs and Roma potentials.

In Finland, the public employment service implements a number of individual action plans regarding activation and employment, within the course of which, Roma-targeted projects are also undertaken. In particular, the Labour Force Service Centres (LAFOS) focus on the provision of comprehensive services for those in weak labour market situation or having difficulties to access the market place. Further, “service guidance” operated by municipal facilitators (cultural mediators) of Roma origin has been effectively used in the course of vocational training – education for adult Roma. In practice, mediators liaise between the authorities and the Roma population while supporting them in accessing the labour market, educational structures and in general the social services.

Socio-Medical centres (SMc) in Greece, is an example of comprehensive intermediary structure established at the local level on the principle of geographical accessibility to fundamental services for those at risk of social exclusion. The Socio-Medical Centres are established in properties provided mainly by the Municipalities, within an existing Roma settlement or not and provide the Roma communities with a wide range of services in main administrative and civil domains.47 Their staff consists of a doctor, a social worker, a district - visiting nurse, a trainer and/or special pedagogue-tutor and a mediator from the local Roma community. Worth mentioned is the statutory provision48 of a Roma mediator for the operation of the SMc. So far, 33 Centres operate nationwide, primarily in municipalities with mass concentration of the Roma population. Especially with view to employment issues, SMc serve themselves as an important mediator on the basis of information gathered and disseminated as regards differentiated needs of the target-group to be addressed and the liaising with competent administrative bodies. The institution has been operating successfully in terms of building trust between the Roma communities and the society while addressing their problems at the local level on the basis of mediation, counselling and focused individualised intervention.

In Italy, training of cultural Sinti mediators with regard to employment (and education) was provided during the implementation of social inclusion projects in late 2009. The project targeted directly Sinti communities and was based on the identification of 3 mediators in collaboration with camp members and social integration practitioners in the municipality of Pavia. Alongside, it provided for mediators’ training, assignment of a social work bursary on a monthly basis and a follow-up of mediators’ work. The main aim of the intervention has been to encourage effective use of services by disadvantaged groups (Sinti in particular) that in its turn facilitates social integration.49 Similarly, the promotion of the role played by mediators in both vocational training and schooling, though not combining the origin of the target-group, was also supported by initiatives undertaken with regard to non-EU citizens’ integration.50

In the Slovak Republic, elimination of the causes of social deprivation is pursued through the on-going work of the community social worker51 and his/her assistant in a particular community. Locally structured, the pilot programme running under the Structural Development Fund, means to support groups and individuals exposed to social exclusion on a long-term basis. The programme provides for the development of care services52 with special regard to marginalized Roma communities and the improvement of their life situation and their integration into the society with account being taken of their specific needs and conditions by means of indispensable special assistance. All in all, social workers’ field work helps with the prevention of crisis situations in the family; deepening and recurrence of disorders of psychological, physical and social development of children and adults; and of social-pathology phenomena. It thus results to an improved social situation of individuals, families and communities as well as to the resumption of responsibility for the solution of one’s own situation and, eventually, to the integration of marginalized Roma communities in the society. Additional projects implemented at the local level53 provide Roma ethnic groups with group counselling in terms of job-seeking, development of social and communication skills etc.

Labour mediation is also met in the case of Spain, in the form of various programmes undertaken by the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality and the Ministry of Labour and Immigration. In particular, integration into the labour market is pursued in terms of vocational training, creation of job opportunities, career guidance and support. Some of the interventions held in the framework of these programmes are managed by Roma organizations such as the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) and the Unión Romaní. For instance, FSG implements labour market integration projects for those socially excluded or at risk of social exclusion. Additionally, a permanent Observatory on employment for the Gypsy population was established in the course of the ACCEDER project under the OP for the combat of discrimination.

In Sweden, labour market integration of the Roma ethnic minority is pursued at the local level though individual projects. A Roma coach and a Roma training leader were used in the case of the Eskilstuna municipality within the course of an employment project initiated in 2006. Similarly, Roma mentors have been used for the implementation of a training course in the municipality of Uppsala (2009-2011) targeting long-term unemployed Roma.

Concluding, restraints resulting to insufficient access to employment are the factors upon which empowerment for improving employability should be considered, but also upon the needs and the situation existing in the labour market. The examples presented yield that apprenticed professionals who can after all enter the labour market on an equal footing, is an investment both for the society, the market-economy and the human resources engaged in all stages of the process.

Similarly, even when NAPs for the Roma are absent, mainstream policies on social protection in favour of unemployed persons or persons at risk of poverty, can effectively facilitate the development of initiatives towards the empowerment of Roma employability for their equal access to employment.

        3.1.3 Employment opportunities: Partnerships & Synergies

In line with the Recommendation principle on synergy, the main idea of this sub-unit is to explore employment policies, in the Council of Europe member states, of a multiplier as possible effect, based on partnerships at intra-national (local, regional, central level) and international level. Whereas the establishment of a potentially accessible market to the Roma community is one aspect, yet, adequate partnerships between the public and the private sector upon constructive co-operation of the organisations and the authorities operating in the field of employment are considered crucial mechanisms which can further generate, sustainable as possible, employment opportunities. Aspects, such as the creation of employment opportunities in the public and private sector, job fairs by public authorities, private companies and Roma organisations, training courses along with on the job training, cooperation with all civil society stakeholders especially local authorities, IOs and Roma NGOs, are some focal issues addressed while examining how incentive employment-based partnerships may generate potential employment opportunities for the Roma community in terms of capacity building but also for available posts in the labour market.

[In order to promote synergies and local partnerships, emphasis should be put on the need to reinforce co-ordination between the appropriate national, regional and local authorities and Roma and pro-Roma organisations. In addition, governments should make sure that international organisations of which they are members ensure effective co-operation and partnership at national and local levels in their programmes for Roma/Gypsies] (Rec.I.5)

[The employment of Roma/Gypsies at all levels of the public sector should therefore be promoted and partnerships with local Roma/Gypsies be established, in order to provide them with on-the-job training. If necessary, strategies need to be developed to improve the employment potential of Roma/Gypsies through training in generic skills] (Rec.II.15.)

[Central, regional and local authorities should exercise their power to achieve a similar goal in the private sector, for example, in the framework of labour policy measures, tax relief could be granted to private-sector employers who offer work experience and placement opportunities to Roma/Gypsies] (Rec.II.16.)

[The development of income-generating activities by Roma/Gypsies should be supported by the following principles: partnerships between Roma and non-Roma NGOs, a bottom-up approach to policy and programme design, wide participation of all parties concerned, Roma and non-Roma co-operation, equal opportunities between women and men, accountability and transparency] (Rec.III.20)

[Central and local authorities should support the introduction and development of local exchange and trading systems, credit unions and other alternative financial instruments] (Rec.III.24)

[Local authorities and NGOs should be encouraged to promote the creation of sustainable networks between industry and Roma/Gypsy projects, both at regional or national and at European levels] (Rec.III.25)

[Access of Roma/Gypsy trading organisations to foreign markets by co-operation with fair trade organisations should be promoted] (Rec.III.26)

Territorial Employment Pacts in Austria54 are contractual regional partnerships established under the OP “Employment for Austria 2007-2013” (NSRF), aimed to integrate labour market and employment policies with other policy areas. Their general scope of activity is the improvement of the labour market situation in the individual regions. The main partners operating within the framework of TEPs, are the Public Employment Service, the Provincial Governments, the Federal Social Welfare Offices, the social partners and other collaborators who jointly adopt and implement programmes for promoting employment. Co-operation on an equal footing means to boost the efficacy and efficiency of financing, to improve support to specific target groups, to safeguard and create jobs, to ensure the provision of funding to the region and to safeguard the environment and living conditions on a sustainable basis. In line with the strategic objective of Priorities 5 and 3b of the OP “Employment for Austria 2007-2013” (NSRF), the principal scope of action is to develop and test innovative measures for improving the integration of those furthest away from the labour market and the collaboration of the institutions involved in the region. Therefore, the TEPs engage in manifold regional labour market policy activities (Priority 5) while developing targeted measures for the employment integration of those furthest away from the labour market (Priority 3b).

TEPs comprise a wide range of measures and target groups, depending on the particular needs existing in the regions. Among these groups are women, long-term unemployed persons or persons at risk of long-term unemployment, young people, persons with inadequate qualifications, job returners, older workers, migrants etc. An important issue regarding the identification of the target groups is the emphasis given on the particular “labour” status of the participants, such as the school-work transition phase or the transition from social assistance to the labour market phase. Likewise, in order to combat social exclusion and to improve the employability of the groups at risk, the range of measures undertaken within the TEPs provide, inter alia, for the creation of new employment opportunities,55 improved access to knowledge and advanced education,56 integration subsidies, childcare facilities,57 counselling institutions, intercultural work and long-term nursing care,58 training and qualification projects for migrants,59 training for skilled workers and improvement of employment opportunities,60 institutional apprenticeship training and integrative vocational training61 etc. The so-called Pacts are co-financed by structural (the ESF) and national funds and operate on a coordinated Pact budget. All in all, the structural components of the Employment Pacts are, inter alia, the development of partnerships and the exchange of information on a continuous basis fostering compound employment activities of a tailored nature at the regional level.

In Bulgaria, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social protection and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has developed a Roma focused project on Job Opportunities through Business Support (JOBS) centres. On the basis of international partnership among the UNDP, the UK and Switzerland who co-financed the project, external JOBS offices were established in 2006. As already explained above62 JOBS centres are established at the local level in Roma neighbourhoods faced with high poverty and intense social isolation. The focus is placed on the provision of business support through training,

consultation and financial leasing whereas local authorities have assisted the project through free of charge property for the installation and operation of the offices. Within the same programme, the project implemented for cultivators support on herbs and alternative agricultural production is supported from local agronomists with regard to practical implementation issues (provision of seedlings, establishment of dryers and storage facilities, marketing ideas etc.). Additionally, in the context of career fairs held, a number of them were organised under the aegis of the EURES network63 in 2006, resulting to some thousands of new job opportunities.

Measures on partnership agreements with the public and private sector within the context of corporate social responsibility may evidently accelerate the process of establishing access of Roma to the labour market, while on the same time provide for effective training on existing labour market needs and opportunities. In this, the model of socially friendly employers introduced in the Czech Republic has been a positive initiative undertaken. The measure provides for the award of the Ethnic Friendly Employer brand to employers who ensure the principle of equal treatment in employment for ethnically diverse population and respond in practice to this principle on a long-term basis. Apart from boosting the positive image of the particular company in the domestic level, fulfilment of the equality principle ensures for the company a place among developed companies following current trends in the European level. From the same token, the social firm model64 is an innovative employment pattern for facilitating direct access of disadvantaged communities to the labour market. The model consist of active competitive businesses whose aim is to create job opportunities for people lacking effective access to the labour market by providing them with appropriate work-related, personal and social support. For instance, a Roma company (STERENA s.r.o.) with a permanent number of employees (about 14) is met in the city of Hranice under a project initially funded by the Labour Office. The company followed successfully a viable business plan in terms of accountability, work safety regulations, contractual relations etc., resulting to the current operation of the company on its own business plan, free of subsidy measures and grants with an equal footing in partnership agreements and projects, providing with on-the-job training or even long-term employment opportunities. Especially with regard to training and recruitment of this particular group, a recruitment company (EKOLTES Hranice a.s.) established in Hranice provides with training (basic working habits, training in simple work activities, re-training etc.) for the development of professional skills capable to facilitate the trainees’ access to the labour market. The measure works in collaboration with employers registered with EKOLTES, the City of Hranice and the local Labour Office.

Further measures undertaken within the context of social services provide for culturally sensitive specific employment interventions, organised by NGOs, for assisting unemployed Roma in capacity building and job-seeking and generally by ensuring accessibility of social services at the local level. Key actors in the area of employment are the Labour Exchanges (Job Centres) which use active employment policy instruments in increasing the employment of Roma applicants.65 A positive example witnessed at the local level is a network for social services, education and free-time activities for socially excluded Roma. The initiative is implemented by non-profit organizations and local government on the grounds of community field work and is co-funded by the ESF. For example, field work programmes are operating in 46 communities for excluded local Roma. The initiative is strengthened by its anchoring in local governments’ strategic documents, especially in community plans and has a positive effect in the implementation of targeted-measures, not only in employment but also, in a number of related social domains (housing etc.).

In Croatia, some of the measures implemented involve the creation of proper informational material on employment possibilities and co-financed employment of Roma; targeted visits to employers aiming at awareness raising on possibilities of co-financed Roma employment (e.g. employment subsidies for Roma for a period of 24 months), and organized meetings of relevant labour market stakeholders (employers, trade unions, local authorities, Roma NGOs and local councils) aiming at the improvement of the attitude of the employers towards Roma employment.

In Ireland, the FÁS has provided for employment (full or part time posts) and business opportunities for local Travellers in cooperation with local authorities (Clare County Council)66 and other agencies at the local level. Another form of partnership among the local (e.g. within the County Councils) and central authorities (FÁS and other Government Departments) is met in the course of the pilot Traveller Internship Programme in the Civil Service (2006-2007),67 where clerical experience was provided for 23 Travellers in several Government Departments, as well as manual skills in general operative works (general duties, administrative work, graffiti removal crew).

A similar effort has been recently initiated in Hungary bringing Roma graduates to the central administration. The programme provides in particular for the admission of Roma graduates in the civil service at the central and regional level, as specialists. Financial support is provided for 200 Roma whereas further measures provide for applicants’ assistance in the application procedure (for meeting the application requirements). Additional measures provide for the creation of job opportunities in subsidised enterprises68 on a permanent or temporary basis with view to improving Roma’s opportunities in the labour market. In this last case, a set of “back-to-work” measures69 are implemented for those depending on regular social assistance in order to improve their labour market opportunities. Public works is another sector where Roma have been involved in (e.g. forestry, inland flood defence systems, public roads etc.).70

In “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” a broad partnership at the national and international level among the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the National Employment Agency, Roma NGOs and the IOM, is the main component of a particularly oriented project for young Roma women’s employability71 on the basis of tailored vocational training and on the job acquisition of skills. On the same time, the project envisages cooperation with economically feasible companies offering sustainable training programmes and contracted employment posts upon successful completion of the training scheme.

In Greece, the establishment of a local authorities network (PanHellenic Intermunicipal ROM Network for the support of Greek Gypsies) means to advocate for Roma issues with the central administration. The Network comprises of municipalities72 hosting Roma population and is managed by a board with the participation and employment of Roma activists (currently in the posts of the director and the treasurer).

In the case of “The long road of Sinti and Roma: pathways to employment” programme in Italy, temporary on the job training resulted to the establishment of a rather permanent network of employers who are positive to the idea of offering work experience opportunities. In fact it is about enterprises that are profit-orientated however aim to offer education and training within the workplace that will enable the Roma and Sinti to gain vocational skills that will meet company needs or fill gaps in the local labour market.

In the Netherlands, individualised profiling operated by coaching tracks will be elaborated into a cultural sensitive working method in cooperation with social workers and reintegration councillors working with Sinti communities in other regions of The Netherlands as well as in Belgium. Transnational cooperation is carried out under the community initiative “INTEREG IV” funded by the European Fund for Regional Development.

In Poland, a number of partnership initiatives have been undertaken in the framework of the SOP “Human Resource Development” some of which are implemented by and/or with Roma organisations acting as partners.73 The main focus of the projects is the development of professional skills amongst Roma through vocational training courses, assistance in obtaining social skills facilitating job-seeking, promotion of reliable knowledge about the Roma community, professional guidance and encouragement of activity in the labour market, internships etc. So far the measure has benefited the most active members of the Roma community. Some other initiatives have been undertaken at the local level by a number of municipalities providing Roma with basic income workplaces.74 Another example of assisted access to employment but also promotion of Roma entrepreneurship was witnessed in the case of the Romani Bacht Association’s recording studio established in the municipality of Brohów, in a property provided by the municipality.

Likewise, in the Slovak Republic local partnerships of social inclusion are established in terms of autonomous local networking consisting mainly of local organisations, public administration, private companies and, sometimes, individuals. The main aim is to create the conditions for good governance at the local level through networking, mobilisation and active involvement of all stakeholders in the decision-making process. Additionally, local partnerships of social inclusion form a cooperation and communication platform (for representatives of the target - groups) of added value for the synergy of the goals to be served. The establishment of social, municipal firms is another example of local authorities’ cooperation for the provision of job places in the labour market, especially at the local level.

Further on, in the course of the EQUAL Community Initiative, two development partnerships were funded in Slovenia, enabling, in particular, the establishment of a Roma Education and Information Centre and a Roma Employment Centre. The Roma Employment Centre aimed at the development of new proposals for the Roma employment strategy and the facilitation of easier access to the labour market. It also provided Roma with employment opportunities, acquisition of better working habits, additional skills and qualifications, while on the same time, it meant to promote Roma relationships with the employers and to eliminate all related prejudices. On the other hand, the Roma Education and Information Centre aimed at the establishment of «Roma mentors» as practitioners in the educational process, capable to assist Roma children in learning, mastering the language of the majority population, and overcoming social gaps. Furthermore, the Centre served as a «bridge» between Roma parents and teaching staff.

In Spain the national strategy set for the Roma population was served on the basis of an agreement between the former Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Autonomous Communities, in terms of joint funding and the implementation of the interventions undertaken. Further, the implementation of the Gypsy Development Programme engages the national administration, the regional governments and the municipalities, as well as several NGOs working with the Gypsy population (e.g. the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG)). A key issue to be noticed given of this particular member state multi-annual experience and engagement in the field, is that within the course of the activities scheduled, priority was given to the implementation of innovatory interventions, complementing those implemented by the public authorities. In that way, active partnerships served on the basis of synergy and multiplier effects. Furthermore, the implementation phase of the projects undertaken acknowledged effective support of the organisations operating in the field by means of technical and financial support. Particularly with regard to the integration into the labour market, the FSG runs a multi-regional operational programme for combating discrimination under the ACCEDER programme (2000-2006, extended to the period 2007-20013, ESF), in the course of which, a number of initiatives implemented aim at the integration into the labour market of people facing particular difficulties while accessing the labour market (being excluded or at risk of exclusion from the labour market). Several other initiatives were undertaken by FSG to the same regard through additional financing tools at the European level (ERDF).

In Sweden, given that employment is pursued through the urban development policy, local development agreements between the Government and the local authorities, foster cooperation at the local level among governmental agencies, municipalities, private actors and the civil society.75 With regard to Roma employment, a development partnership entitled “The Roma in Sweden – from South to North” (2005-2007) envisaged a gender-balanced labour market for Roma with particular emphasis been paid to Roma women. The aim was to find new methods to open up the labour market to the Roma population and influence attitudes, approaches and values in both the majority society and the Roma minority population. The Strategy put in place for the implementation of the partnership agreement comprised nine partners at the national level

and was spread over large parts of Sweden: the County Administrative Board of Stockholm, the municipalities of Södertälje, Munkedal and Lund/Staffanstorp, the Swedish Integration Board, the Ombudsman Against Ethnic Discrimination (DO), the Roma National Congress, the National Congress Roma International and the National Congress Roma in Europe. Particular sub-projects were undertaken at the local level such as for instance for improving entrepreneurship among Roma women and integrating the Roma communities into the labour market.76

      3.2 Income-generating activities

        3.2.1 Legal framework

For all income generating activities to take place, an adequate legal framework is necessary to allow for the setting up of all relevant procedures and structures, with concrete as possible provision of measures. Synergy amongst Roma and non Roma stake holders, although or wherever positively foreseen, yet it may require additional legislative action from the part of the national governments to take place, in order to establish permanent channels of cooperation and to facilitate access to the job-market.

[Governments should also set up a legal framework for social enterprises, which can often provide a means of labour market and economic integration for excluded groups] (Rec.III.19)

[Governments should remove barriers to the creation of small businesses in order to enable the development of Roma/Gypsy small and/or family enterprises] (Rec.III.18)

[Governments should guarantee a fair stake in all privatisation processes to Roma/Gypsies, for example by facilitating effective and legal access to land for agricultural activities by setting up community land trusts] (Rec.III.27)

Current challenges in the European economies attach a critical concern on “how they have managed to respond to the social and economic issues raised by increasing precariousness in employment relationships while at the same time pursuing the flexibilisation of the labour markets”. This has been indeed the subject of some recent calls of tender within the EU77 on precarious work and social rights and reveals in essence the challenges met by the member states nowadays.

Certain issues with regard to equal and effective access to the labour market while exercising fundamental social rights necessitate a secure legal framework in accordance with binding international conventions, with particular attention be drawn on those at risk of social exclusion. All possible forms of precarious work, whether for insecure employment relationship, as well as work carrying some form of economic dependence produce an increasingly heterogeneous and segmented labour market, a situation that brings about further difficulties for accessing the labour market. Particular population groups such as the Roma communities and among them, those with no skills, living in the margin are deemed to face the harsh socio-economic effects of the current long-term economic crisis. Key areas such as human capital and skills, lifecycle approach to work (youth employment, active ageing, exit age, problems of inactivity, etc.), immigration, mobility and employment, undeclared work etc., are some of the domains that require further attention.

As witnessed so far with regard to existing legal instruments in force, major employment policy trends in the Council of Europe member states have been influenced by key instruments on effective exercise of social rights and equal treatment of Roma for and while accessing the labour market, namely the Revised European Social Charter, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights and the EU Directive 2000/78/EC on equal treatment as regards employment. Alongside, the CM Rec(2001)17 on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma delivers a number of important guidelines and principles fostering the creation of an accessible labour market for the Roma communities.

Given that competence in this area lies with Member States, the latter have most commonly transposed into domestic law the general framework for the combat of discrimination as regards employment. In this regard, the combat of discrimination towards particular ethnic or socially vulnerable groups means to address the Roma population too. Unless for institutionalised National Strategies for the Roma, particular reference to Roma in terms of legal provisions is not a common case among the CoE member states as this is achieved mainly through Mainstream Employment Policies and National Action Plans on (Roma) for counteracting insufficient access to employment, poor socio-economic status and lacking social inclusion. Further provisions addressing in particular vulnerable population groups may also establish a right to employment while generally facilitating their social integration. For instance, according to Law 116/2002 in Romania, a right to employment for those at risk of social marginalisation is established by means of allocation of job places among the wider population.

Compared to the variety of policies reported it is witnessed that state practice has been more active and ambitious than the legal framework in place, making thus more intense the need for concrete legislative measures which will ensure a permanent standing of disadvantaged Roma communities to the labour market, and primarily on equal footing with the rest of the population but also, in consideration with the risks or obstacles faced by them. Additional questions on encouraging the transformation of precarious employment relationships into employment relationships carrying more social rights, in particular in the field of labour law and social security could be equally addressed.

        3.2.2 Motivated employment pathways: Income generating activities

Synergy of procedures between public and private stakeholders, including potential Roma entrepreneurs are some of the policies subscripted to this end. On the other hand, the witnessed lack of accredited qualifications may be addressed through the provision of measures for the lift of barriers in the isolated Roma market and its subsequent inclusion into the market-economy. Assessment of the market’s needs with particular emphasis to the local level, as well as exploitation of the Roma community potentials for the identification of possible income generating activities, appears as a focal point to be taken into consideration. Gender issues, successfully demonstrated skills of the Roma community, legitimization of Roma grey economic activity, the provision of incentives and micro-credits for the support and promotion of Roma entrepreneurship, adequate matching of potential Roma workers with current labour market demands and the development of professional skills etc., are further elaborated in the policies met in some of the Council of Europe member states. In this regard, certain obstacles prevailing in the Roma labour market may interestingly form the challenges to be met.

[Central, regional and local authorities should exercise their power to achieve a similar goal in the private sector, for example, in the framework of labour policy measures, tax relief could be granted to private-sector employers who offer work experience and placement opportunities to Roma/Gypsies] (Rec.II.16.)

[The development of income-generating activities by Roma/Gypsies should be supported by the following principles: partnerships between Roma and non-Roma NGOs, a bottom-up approach to policy and programme design, wide participation of all parties concerned, Roma and non-Roma co-operation, equal opportunities between women and men, accountability and transparency] (Rec.III.20)

[Central and local government and administrations should be aware of the possibilities for Roma/Gypsies to generate income in the fields of provision of services and production (including tourism, recreation, culture, transport, environmental repair, new aspects of recycling and disposal, agriculture and animal husbandry, etc.)] (Rec.III.21)

[Governments should support the establishment of intermediary structures for initiatives at local level by providing assistance in research and assessment of local needs and resources, project development and management of business initiatives] (Rec.III.22)

[Authorities should offer incentives to encourage public services to sign contracts with Roma/Gypsy businesses to provide services] (Rec.III.23)

[Central and local authorities should support the introduction and development of local exchange and trading systems, credit unions and other alternative financial instruments] (Rec.III.24)

[Local authorities and NGOs should be encouraged to promote the creation of sustainable networks between industry and Roma/Gypsy projects, both at regional or national and at European levels] (Rec.III.25)

[Access of Roma/Gypsy trading organisations to foreign markets by co-operation with fair trade organisations should be promoted] (Rec.III.26)

[Governments should guarantee a fair stake in all privatisation processes to Roma/Gypsies, for example by facilitating effective and legal access to land for agricultural activities by setting up community land trusts] (Rec.III.27)

In accordance with the principles set forth in the recommendation an important idea emerges as regards facilitation of income generating activities for the Roma. It is thus noticed that member states are advised to support Roma while developing income generating activities. By the same token participation between Roma and non-Roma NGOs, especially at the local level with wide participation of all parties concerned, is introduced as a key element for the creation of employment opportunities respecting differentiated needs within the greater context of the Roma community and the labour market, respecting gender equality, accountability and transparency.

Among the policies described, the most common case for facilitating income generating activities has been the promotion of Roma entrepreneurship by means of grants’ support and/or technical assistance. The development of existing skills through accreditation procedures and training for the acquisition of qualifications based on “flexicurity,78 ensuring effective integration of the Roma communities into the job market has been another type of proactive interventions undertaken within the CoE member states. Particular emphasis has been given to employment opportunities that can be generated at the local level, in response to sustainability and long-term comprehensive social integration. In some other cases, community work has been identified as a short term measure for providing Roma with direct access to the labour market and some basic income.

In Bulgaria, within the course of the employment component of the National Action Plan for the Roma, Roma entrepreneurship and employability are supported on the grounds of a number of initiatives aiming at the creation of job opportunities in combination with motivation training and skills acquisition. For instance, under the National programme “From Social Assistance to Employment”, long-term unemployed persons of working age, dependant on social assistance are provided with opportunities to get a job, have an income and eventually, reintegrate into the labour market. The measure assists in terms of subsidised employment including beneficiaries’ salary, additional minimum remuneration based on the Labour Code and social insurance, for a limited period of time (up to 36 months).79 On the same time, further projects in the field of training of a certain scope (e.g. programme for the support of cultivators in alternative agriculture) could be seen as a motivating scheme for facilitating field-labour access in combination with particular skills attained.

The “equalisation method” met in the Czech Republic offers another approach of targeted financing through in particular the provision of grant support for social services in the field of social integration and educational activities targeted at improving the employability of members of the Roma communities. Grant support and investment incentives provided to employers may also act as equalisation measures when used for subsidised employment (labour exchanges), the creation of new jobs, requalification and training of new employees. The measure applies equally to all disadvantaged groups in the labour market without prejudice to nationality or ethnic affiliation. Further assistant measures are identified through the operation of a Roma Company (STERENA) occupying on a permanent basis Roma employees. This particular case offers an example of Roma entrepreneurship, while on the same time working as a social cooperative model for the development of skilled Roma employees.

Likewise, in Finland, mainstream employment services offer for start-up grants for those who want to establish a new enterprise. The grants provided mean in particular to secure the necessary revenue during the start-up period. Roma are equally targeted through this measure, however, experience shows that they are often challenged as regards a concrete business idea and a sustainable but also realistic business plan when applying for the grant.

Entrepreneurship within the Roma communities is particularly addressed through similar grant schemes in Greece, in the course of actions undertaken by the national Organisation of Manpower Employment. Within its scope of activities, a number of entrepreneurship measures have been funded by the State budget among which financial support (subsidies) of new Roma entrepreneurs (18-64 years old).80 Further measures implemented within the Organisation’s field of activities aim at the smooth integration or reintegration of vulnerable groups into the labour market.

Subsidized employment for Roma is also met in the case of Croatia. As stated already, the Croatian Employment Service conducts programmes providing Roma with subsidies for a period of 24 months, as well as with financial support for on-the-job training for Roma with high school education.

In a similar way START programmes have been funded in Hungary for employing disadvantaged persons into businesses.81 On the other hand, a complex professional programme for Roma graduates’ admission in the civil service (central administration) was recently initiated. Under this particular programme, financial support is provided for 200 Roma graduates whereas applicants are assisted for meeting the application procedure requirements. The measures consist on the same time an incentive for qualified education.82

Based on the tailored approach, employment opportunities have been introduced in Ireland through on-the-job training within the local authorities’ structures in terms of full or part time occupation. For instance, within the South Dublin County Council Initiative “Removing the Margins”, a Traveller training and internship programme, full time and part time employment opportunities for the local Traveller community were offered within the local authority since 2004, whereas some of the trainees were successfully placed in other employment structures too. In addition, this particular initiative offers a two-fold conclusion with regard to the development of employment policies and projects at the local level, alongside the impact expected depending on the spectrum of the group in target.83 Further, following successful completion of the training formation provided under the Traveller Internship Programme in the Civil Service initiated by the Department of Finance, the trainees have moved on to civil and private sector employment. In terms of entrepreneurship, the Department of Justice has supported a number of initiatives in the Dublin city leading to the registration of Traveller companies and free-lancers, which in its turn, has resulted in more job opportunities and licence qualifications.84 This could be viewed on the same time as an example of Roma economic activity legitimisation. Additionally, the Clare County Council has cooperated with the National Training and Employment Authority and other local agencies fostering the promotion of Traveller enterprises and active employment.

An EQUAL project was undertaken in The Netherlands at the local level for setting up small family businesses. The project was managed by the Capelle aan de IJssel municipality in the Rotterdam region and targeted extended Roma families consisting of 90 persons, male and female, of several age groups. A secondary target group identified has been public authorities (central and local level), institutions and relevant segments of the civil society. Representatives of various policy divisions of the municipalities and educational employment organisations formed the operational team of the project. Unfortunately, the project failed whatsoever into its main goal as no small businesses were set up by the end of the formation.

In the course of the Programme for the Roma Community in Poland, a number of income generating activities have been undertaken by the local authorities. Community work in renovation works and town cleaning has been used from some municipalities for Roma in housing debt (basic income for paying off rents). The creation of new job opportunities or the subsidisation of municipal workplaces, are some other income generating activities undertaken at the local level. For instance, under a programme created by a Roma organisation in cooperation with the Landscape Park in Przemkowski, unemployed Roma were hired for a period of four years. Roma women were also employed in the municipal “green belt”(on the same time they were assisted with children nursery services), whereas more Roma were hired on the grounds of subsidised workplaces in legal entity bodies operated by the local authorities, such as in the municipal library, the cultural centre etc. Roma entrepreneurship has been also encouraged in the course of the “Kxetanes-Razem” initiative undertaken by the Roma Centre for the promotion of Employment under the ESF, as well as

in the case of the Romani Bacht Association’s recording studio established in the municipality of Brohów. This particular initiative is an example of encouraged Roma entrepreneurship in fields where they already profess their economic activity along with the provision of incentives at the local level for sustainable as possible economic activity.

Income generating activities in Romania involve several measures aiming at the improvement of the economic situation of the Roma communities. As already mentioned, the scheme has entered through different focus eras (1996-2000 and 2001-2004) on the grounds of the occupations promoted and the skills supported. Initially, the focus was placed on the promotion of employment opportunities that have been specific for the Roma in terms of economic activities already accessible to them, such as agriculture, brick making, wood processing etc. A number of projects were undertaken to this end in the context of the PHARE 98 programme. In the last years, there has been an attempt to promote Roma access to modern occupations through adapted to demands of the labour market vocational training. Sustainability of the projects to be financed is an early requirement for the funding of the project, based on a business plan. The projects that have been implemented so far are co funded by structural funds at the European level and involve, apart from the main Governmental partners (Ministry of Labour,SSF and the NLA) Roma NGOs. The main categories of the projects include jobs’ creation through the establishment of small businesses, on-the-job training on skills in demand by the labour market, labour mediation for job-seeking etc.

In practical terms, the job fair organised in 2004 in Romania offered Roma with 11.304 job places among which 268 on the basis of Law 116/2002, for persons at risk of social marginalisation. Among the attendants some 2.275 Roma were employed on the spot following various tests during the job fair. Likewise, in 2005 8.779 job opportunities were made available through the respective job fair organised, out of which 7.857 places were provided for Roma and 68 places for those at risk of social exclusion (L116/2002). Successful Roma attendants amounted to 1.129 out of a total of 1.266 for the whole job places provided during this job fair. In general, as a consequence of the projects implemented in the course of the National Action Plan for Roma employment in Romania since 2003, some thousands of Roma have been employed.85

Additionally, in terms of micro-credits offered for Roma entrepreneurship, an income generating project for inter-ethnic rural communities was implemented under the 2003 PHARE Civil Society Development Programme (NGO Development Component) by the Resource Centre for Roma Communities and the Open Society Foundation Romania. In this course, following the training period of 15 Roma community facilitators in marketing, feasibility studies and elaboration of business plans and based on the business plans drafted by the Roma trainees, several rural associations obtained credits to start up an economic activity among which a commercial company in Caseiu run by Roma people which obtained a start-up credit for a brick factory of 20,000€ from the Romanian Development Bank. Trained Roma facilitators will continue to provide consultancy to other rural associations in order to finalize their business plans and apply for credits. The project’s sustainability plan viewed the utility of the business plans in order to apply for further funding through the 2006 PHARE programme, the National Strategy to improve the Roma condition or through other funding opportunities.

Roma integration into the job market has been also pursued through the financing (grants) of social municipal enterprises in the Slovak Republic. Social enterprises facilitate local development by creating and maintaining job places, and also by improving the quality of public services provided at the local level. Municipal enterprises have been established in 10 villages offering Roma inhabitants with permanent job in several sectors86 related to the actual operation and provision of municipal services.

In Slovenia within the course of activities undertaken by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs (MLFSA) and the Employment Offices, a number of employment measures are implemented in order to improve the situation of Roma in the labour market, namely by stimulating the development of social entrepreneurship. In particular, financial support is provided for employers and training companies employing trainees who have successfully completed the training on work programme. Additionally, financial support is provided for encouraging employers to hire unemployed personnel (long term unemployed persons, young or

older people etc.), including Roma.87 Roma entrepreneurship is also targeted through subsidy grants for self-employment for a minimum of one year,88 whereas additional initiatives such as the Public Works programme for 2009-2010, address long-term unemployment among disadvantaged target groups through the creation of short-term, new job opportunities in the public works industry. With regard to Roma, admission in the programme provides for short or non-waiting period and allows for participation more than once. For instance, under the 2009 tender for the promotion of social entrepreneurship, two projects included Roma as a vulnerable target-group and aimed at the creation of job opportunities for a limited number of successful participants in the organic food and the medicinal herbs’ industry, following successful completion of focused formation (in particular through training on organic food processes and related activities and on gardening; farming and herbs’ production respectively).

Integration into the labour market in Spain was pursued through comprehensive integration plans and job opportunities based, inter alia, on vocational training, on-going consultation and assistance once employment has been achieved and awareness raising activities concerning, further to employment, several other aspects on the situation of the Gypsy population in Spain. In concrete numbers, the projects undertaken within the framework of the ACCEDER programme resulted in several thousands of job opportunities, either in terms of contracted work or within partnership agreement schemes with the authorities.89

The practices described above highlight some of the key principles entrenched in the CM Recommendation as regards the improvement of the employment and economic situation of Roma in the Council of Europe member states. As a general remark it could be acknowledged that maximization of all civil society stakeholders’ involvement, with particular emphasis being laid on local authorities’ active engagement and on partnership agreements, occur as a vital tool for ensuring income generating activities for the Roma communities. Flexible structures at the local level responding to client-oriented integration in the labour market, which builds equally on existing potentials and the labour demand, is a pragmatic besides suggested, employment policy approach. Equally important, for sustainable progress to be achieved, employment policies require adaptability and planning on both midterm and long-term basis, so that the policies undertaken do not reproduce dependence on social assistance but on the contrary, promote the conditions for equal access to the labour market.

      3.3 Financial instruments

Although financing is not the only tool for effective access of the Roma population to the market economy, yet it turns to be a prerequisite so as to respond immediately to the needs arising from ineffective participation in the labour market. From the policies met in the CoE member states it is evident that effective allocation of funds on employment strategies and projects depends significantly and maybe primarily, on wise financial partnerships of all stakeholders, at local, national and international level, whether for national or IO’s funds.

[Central and local authorities should support the introduction and development of local exchange and trading systems, credit unions and other alternative financial instruments] (Rec.III.24)

[Governments should be encouraged to provide long-term budgetary support for Roma/Gypsy development and income-generating programmes] (Rec.IV.28)

[Financing strategies should include the support of Roma and pro-Roma/Gypsy organisations operating in the field of employment and income-generating activities at local, regional, national and international level] (Rec.IV.29)

[Member states should participate in bilateral and multilateral exchanges and European and international development programmes targeting Roma/Gypsies in central and eastern European countries (and where possible making financial contributions to them)] (Rec.IV.30)

[Central and local agencies should be given the necessary legal and budgetary means to support Roma/Gypsy community development initiatives] (Rec.IV.31)

[International funding channels, such as the European Union, the World Bank, the Development Bank of the Council of Europe, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and the UNDP, play an important role in providing resources, including grants and loans, for new policies and programmes. Funding projects should foster Roma participation, co-operation between government and civil society, the decentralisation of public administration sectors, and the provision of services by NGOs. Funding channels should also introduce some flexibility into their conditions in order to promote the development of community programmes and income-generating activities] (Rec.IV.32)

A number of different financial instruments are identified through the policies implemented within the CoE member states with regard to the implementation of the set of recommendations rooted in the principle on equal access to employment.

With regard to national resources, employment policies are mainly financed by the labour state budget allocated for the combat of poverty and the promotion of employment opportunities through the wide spectrum of activities implemented by the National Employment Agencies and other competent national authorities. Among the policies practiced, Spain offers a differentiated approach due to an additional model of funding with regard to social programmes. In practice, 0.7% of personal income tax is dedicated to social programmes,90 some of them addressing the Roma population, and on the same time forms one of the criteria established in order to select the programmes to be funded with regard to the promotion of labour market integration. Such a model of additional resources could be reasonably explored in the context of future social policies for ensuring long-term, secured projects’ implementation.

Apart from national budget, activities undertaken are co-financed by the main European funding tools governing the implementation of the European strategies on social inclusion, equal access to employment and equal opportunities for all, through the respective Community Initiatives, the Sectoral and the Regional Operational Programmes of the EU. Use of Structural funds has been facilitated in all cases examined although not the ultimate funding tool among the wide variety of the projects implemented. Among these tools we take note of the EQUAL91 and PROGRESS92 initiatives funded by the ESF, as well as the SOP on Human Resource Development and the priority on integrated interventions within the ROP. Along with the ESF, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)93 is one of the two Structural Funds of the EU providing financial support since 1975 for the development and structural adjustment of regional economies, economic change, enhanced competitiveness as well as territorial cooperation throughout the EU. For the 2007-13 period, the budget for the ERDF amounts to more than €200 billion. The Fund focuses on a number of priorities within the scope of the Convergence, Regional Competitiveness and Employment and European Territorial Cooperation objectives. In particular, it contributes towards co-financing investment projects in the areas of creating sustainable jobs, infrastructure, support for regional and local development, and Small - Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is on the other hand a multilateral development bank with a social vocation. Established on 16 April 1956 in order to bring solutions to the problems of refugees, its scope of action has progressively widened its spectrum of focus to other sectors directly contributing to strengthening social integration in Europe by attacking the roots of exclusion while promoting preservation of jobs, improving living conditions in urban and rural areas etc.94

In some other cases the CoE member states have made use of the United Nations Development Programme for the promotion of inclusive development and poverty reduction as guided by the Millennium Development Goals.95 Poverty research and assessment and equality between men and women in participatory local development are some of the fields having hosted the initiatives undertaken by the CoE member states.

The Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 Initiative forms the most recent international initiative96 bringing together governments, IOs and NGOs, as well as the Romani civil society, with view to accelerate progress towards the improvement of the welfare of Roma. The Decade emerges from the political commitment of European governments to improve the socio-economic status and social inclusion of Roma and focuses on the priority areas of education, employment, health, and housing, and commits governments to take into account other core issues of poverty, discrimination, and gender mainstreaming. The joint activities of the Decade International Steering Committee (ISC) that benefit all Decade countries are funded by the Decade Trust Fund (DTF) which is administered by the World Bank. It supports two principal types of activities: (i) cross-country technical support, training and workshops in the context of refining and implementing the national Decade action plans and the cross-cutting issues of poverty, discrimination and gender, and (ii) monitoring and evaluation of the Decade implementation across the Decade countries.97

Finally, the World Bank is an additional source of financial and technical assistance provided to developing countries around the world fostering the fight of poverty on the basis of necessary resources, sharing of knowledge, capacity building and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors. The World Bank consists of two development institutions owned by 187 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), each playing a different but collaborative role in advancing the vision of inclusive and sustainable globalization. Eligible projects are low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education, health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development, agriculture and environmental and natural resource management.98 A joint research project undertaken within this course is met in the Czech Republic on improving the employment chances of Roma.

      3.4 Training and education

The improvement of the economic and employment situation of the Roma communities cannot be seen irrespective of the educational level of these communities. Illiteracy and the subsequent lack of accredited skills form the principal area of concern. In this, training and education on the grounds of language acquisition and lifelong learning; existing skills’ accreditation; vocational training adapted to the labour market demand and situation and rights’ and duties awareness raising are some of the principles emerging for successfully counteracting long-term absence of Roma from the labour market or even, Roma informal economic activity.

[Governments should introduce positive incentives such as grants and mentoring support to encourage young Roma/Gypsies to complete their secondary education and to attend higher education institutions or take up apprenticeships. They should also consider means to improve low levels of qualification and participation in higher education on the part of Roma/Gypsies] (Rec.V.33)

[Anti-discrimination training of persons involved in recruitment decisions in the private and public sectors and in national employment services should be encouraged. Training should combine information on statutory obligations and on good practices in governmental and company policies, with respect to equal treatment] (Rec.V.34)

[Roma/Gypsy culture and identity should be introduced as an integral part of the design and delivery of vocational education. For example, a system of accreditation should be developed for skills in traditional crafts and trades and regarded as equivalent to official qualification standards] (Rec.V.35)

[Vocational training programmes for Roma/Gypsies should respond to local or regional needs, for instance the improvement of Romani neighbourhoods, and to employment opportunities. Preference should be given to on-the-job training and product development. Market research should be part of the training] (Rec.V.36)

[Employment programmes (also referred to as public support programmes), including adult literacy training, should include the enhancement of skills and training as an integral part of their design to help improve the long-term employment prospects of participant]s. (Rec.V.37)

[The authorities should promote the recognition of skills and economic contributions of Roma/Gypsy communities (see paragraph 11)] (Rec.V.38)

[Governments should set up qualification programmes targeting young Roma/Gypsies in the field of new technologies and knowledge] (Rec.V.39)

[Central and local authorities should support local leadership training for Roma/Gypsies, including economic, business, and management dimensions] (Rec.V.40)

Acknowledging that insufficient access the labour market is directly affiliated with insufficient access to education, a number of CoE member states have deployed a variety of training support programmes, ranging from language acquisition to vocational training for the development of generic skills but also new qualification skills adapted as possible to the current labour market situations. Undoubtedly, primary education as well as lifelong learning is a high priority to be taken into consideration while drafting and implementing employment policies for all disadvantaged groups of the society.

By the Same token, respecting that effective but also equal access to employment presupposes equal skills and qualifications, the policies implemented in the Council of Europe member states offer a wide variety of measures targeting the primary gaps witnessed among the Roma communities. As already stated above, illiteracy and the subsequent lack of official qualifications place an objective burden to excluded Roma while trying to enter the labour market. The NAPs adopted in the member states, include an employment component which provides the Roma communities with language acquisition and vocational training projects, either prior to entering the job market or on the workplace.

Based on the information collected on employment policies implemented within the CoE member states for Roma communities in poverty or at risk of, the promotion of literacy, especially of working-age population, forms the most common state approach to unemployed Roma. The overall aim been the reduce of unemployment, language acquisition particularly for those of working age, is interlinked with the development of qualification skills, related in some cases to the needs of the market and potentials of the Roma. Further elaborating the tailored approach, recent experience from the CoE member states indicates that efficient address of the most common labour restraints, which by the end of the day result into practical difficulties while trying to access, or to retain a permanent standing in the labour market, requires on-the-job training in line with particular attention to be paid to the labour market problems, needs and demands. Apprenticeship has been thus qualified by a number of Council of Europe member states as a key element for capacity building and in particular, for further improving existing Roma skills which can be accredited and further developed through official procedures, in order to create potential workers with licensed skills in fields where, as possible, they already actively perform their economic activity.

For instance, under the employment component of the NAP in Bulgaria, the aim is to reduce unemployment rates by increasing capacity building. To this end, the NAP supports literacy and qualification projects, vocational training for unemployed Roma with low or no education degree and long-term unemployed Roma of working age, dependant on social assistance.99 The measure provides in general for language acquisition, accreditation of informal skills, subsidized labour as well as development of personal and social skills. Particular projects like the “National Programme for Literacy and Qualification of Roma”, the National Programme “From Social Assistance to Employment”, the National Programme “Activation of Inactive Persons”, the “Regional Programmes for Literacy, Professional Training and Employment”, and “Training for the acquisition of professional qualification, motivation and training”, focus on the need to increase competitiveness for the Roma by offering them basic literacy and vocational training opportunities, a minimum income, as well as valuable experience on the workplace.

In Croatia, scholarships have proven to be a valuable approach, contributing to the significant increase in numbers of Roma children in all levels of education. Scholarships have been provided to secondary-school students and students of an institute of higher education who have applied to receive them. Accommodation in students’ dormitories has also been secured, as well as assistance in exercising one’s right to financial support. Additionally, undergraduate students of secondary education who wish to continue their schooling may attend lectures and receive professional assistance that should help them prepare for university entrance exams and facilitate their further education. Various measures have also been undertaken that involve parents and the provision of professional assistance, all in all with a view to integrating Roma children in the regular educational system. In addition, a PHARE 2006 project “Improving Access to Education and Employment Opportunities for the Roma National Minority in the Republic of Croatia” put in place a training programme for Roma teaching assistants, workshops for parents belonging to the Roma national minority, and training courses addressing representatives from the competent authorities on education and school management.

The value of training at the local level is further illustrated through a mainstream employment approach in the framework of the interventions undertaken through the Territorial Employment Pacts Austria. Pursuant to the Vocational Training Act, under TEP-Vienna, potential workers are supported with institutional apprenticeship training; integrative vocational training; programmes for job returners after career breaks, as well as counselling and support programmes for working people. The target groups are operated at the regional level and consist of persons affected by structural economic change, young people, women, older people, long-term unemployed persons, persons at risk of long-term unemployment, migrants, persons with qualification deficits or interested in further training, people with special needs, as well as enterprises. Existing workshops address apprenticeship, life-long learning and diversity. Based on the “demand-oriented labour integration”, the Pact supports target groups of those furthest away from the labour market, under ESF Priority 3b, with a tailored set of measures suitable for, both generic and individualised development of skills.

In the Czech Republic a slightly different approach of training is illustrated through the operation of the EKOLTES training company in the Hranice region. Roma are trained in basic work habits, varying from simple working activities to more professional qualifications and re-training depending on the level of proven competences of the trainees during the course, so that they will be effectively integrated into the labour market. In that, the training company operates on the same time as a recruitment and accreditation company which, in cooperation with the Labour Office, provides successful trainees with potential employers’ references or trade licences for engaging into private business activities. For instance, upon successful completion of the training formation trainees are employed in community services in the cities of Hranice and Přerov, by the training company’s statutory bodies as well as a Roma company (STERENA) which apart from employment opportunities offers on-the-job training too.

In Finland, vocational education for adult Roma has been implemented under the Equal DP-projects on the principle that vocational training should reinforce learning skills and prepare the applicants for vocational education combining education and on-the-job training. Facilitators or cultural mediators of Roma background are involved in the process, while strengthening the level of integration achieved. The new model on “service guidance” developed under Equal has been taken into practice for example at Jyväskylä region (Middle-Finland) where the Roma municipal facilitators work as mediators between the authorities and the Roma population and support the Roma in accessing social services, education and the labour market. Vocational education for adult Roma has also been practiced by the Education Centre for the Roma, “Tsetanes”, which is maintained by two educational organisations in the Helsinki district. In general it could be stated that adult education (vocational training, literacy etc.) has an added value for the Roma communities given that a large number of them start a family at a very early age resulting to halted access to education and all relevant forms of services and rights. Additionally, with regard to education, the Roma Education Unit within the National Board of Education has initiated a project on the development of comprehensive basic education for Roma children. The measure is implemented at the local level by the municipalities and the schools upon state funding. Among its main scope of action and goals set, the project means to reinforce schooling, to increase co-operation with Roma parents and to support the Roma children in attending primary and secondary education. In this regard the work of Roma education mediators has been very successful in practice and is equally appreciated by Roma children, as stated in a research conducted by the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights.

Vocational and on-the-job training courses is also met in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, in the greater context of anti-trafficking policy, addressing the risks faced by a specific target group within some Roma communities. The project is undertaken in the course of prevention based activities aimed at empowerment and capacity building of the most vulnerable groups recognized to suffer the harsh socio-economic conditions.100 Vocational training will be available to those beneficiaries who due to harsh socio-

economic conditions and lack of opportunities have not been in a position to enhance their professional skills and respond to the labour market demands. The Employment Agency will be invited to provide relevant and updated information on the local demand for certain job-profiles in order to design and provide vocational training that responds to the extent possible to the needs of the labour-market. On the job training at selected companies will be made available to those beneficiaries in need of qualification and prequalification training not covered by the Vocational Training Centres. During the training scheme each beneficiary will receive a monthly allowance to cover transportation and meal costs. On a similar basis, a short-term training scheme (4 months including one month of on the job practice) is provided under the Roma Employment Support Programme, in 2010. The programme leads to training certification whereas its implementation involves the Roma Information Centre, a Technical Working Group from participating stakeholders and training providers. Trainees are selected upon public call among registered unemployed individuals in Skopje and Gostivar.

In Germany the responsibility for education is assigned to the Länders which organise support programmes for pupils, including those from families with a low education level. Particular attention is paid to differentiated needs at the local level focusing this way on Roma children too. In particular, the measure provides for Roma mediators’ training.

In Greece, apart from mainstream training programmes, Roma pre-training (language acquisition), vocational training for the development and promotion of generic skills and supportive services are provided in the framework of “Integrated interventions” organised under the SOP on “Employment and Vocational Training” and the OP on Human Resource Development.101 Further measures are implemented in the course of lifelong learning programmes including training on new technologies (HERON programme) where Roma are trained on information and technology skills especially in terms of entrepreneurship etc. Also, a network of education mediators was initially established in the course of the Roma education programme run by the University of Ioannina for the integration of Gypsy children into the educational system. The measure is currently further elaborated by the competent Ministry.

A different structure where social mentors and professional networks provide disadvantaged population groups with assisted access to the labour market through training is met in Hungary under the Government Action Plan for 2008-2009. Additionally, the Action Plan provides for further measures such as large scale102 vocational training in terms of acquiring or further developing skills in the course of the “Make a step forward!” programme, for those with insufficient or lack of necessary qualifications. The National Employment Agency provides also for capacity building programmes some of which focus on special skills developed already by the Roma communities, such as the Roma musicians’ employment scheme,103 the Support for Roma economic activity104 and the Roma service network programme. Also, regional employment agencies provide with a number of pre-training and training services with the main aim being the completion of primary school and acquisition of skills for disadvantaged persons. In general terms, employment-related training in Hungary, as elsewhere, means to ensure long-term employment for young unemployed Roma who have either finished primary education or not attended school whatsoever by providing them with social and basic child welfare services, school-leaving certificates or OKJ vocational qualifications. Training is further assisted by awareness raising measures for tackling with prejudices in working relations.

In Ireland, training and employment support is provided by the National Training Authority (FÁS) which delivers special grants to this end at the local level.105 For example, a number of training positions were initiated in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Clare since 2005. Likewise, since 2004 the South Dublin County Council has pioneered a range of employment and training opportunities within the local authority resulting to some full time and part time positions. Worth mentioned is that some of the Traveller trainees managed to move on in employment positions. Capacity building is also supported through the Community Development Programmes held in cooperation with Traveller Organisations. Also, within the course of the Traveller Internship Programme in the Civil Service (2006-2007),106 clerical experience was provided for 23 Travellers in several Government Departments (20 participants), as well as manual operative skills (3 participants). Interns were provided in particular with clerical or general operative work in the civil service for a six-month period. Particular assignments provided for a wide range of administrative but also manual skills and tasks (such as data entry, call center operation, reception work, preparing rooms for conferences, basic carpentry, painting maintenance and horticulture). The overall aim of the programme was to enhance skills and the range of work experience on the principle of preserving diversity within the Civil Service.

Based on the Assessment Review conducted by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, a number of positive features are identified such as enthusiasm of Traveller organisations for the nature and scope of the initiative, readiness of the administration and the personnel to support the internship programme, general competence of the interns, effective cooperation of administrative personnel and interns etc. The initiative placed great emphasis on the promotion, mobilization and recruitment stages. For example, the Public Appointments Service adjusted its procedures slightly, so that the application procedure was made more accessible increasing to double the applications submitted, whereas an extensive outreach action was conducted with Traveller organisations across the greater Dublin region for awareness raising purposes. A programme coordinator in the Equality Unit of the Department of Finance which run the initiative, was with the initiative from the outset. Within the course of the employment initiatives co-undertaken by the National Training and Employment Authority in Ireland and the local authorities, worth mentioned is the initiation of a pilot initiative run by the Department of Education and Science, which supports the development of alternative positive role models for young Travellers. The role of education support workers from the Traveller community was developed to this end.

In Italy, upon collaboration of training providers in the region of Emilia Romagna, vocational guidance was offered to Roma and Sinti communities through a similar to the Italian “Sportelli” structure, the laboratories. Laboratories107 formed in essence job centers providing Roma with individualized coaching based on users’ specific needs. The project was designed to implement a whole set of training activities and tools for young and adult (18-40 years old) disadvantaged unemployed Roma and Sinti, living in the provincial territory. Following from the EQUAL experience the main objectives of the programme were to facilitate Roma access to the local services network and to support their access to the labour market. Individualized information was collected on the basis of customized dialogue-interviews resulting to clients’ self-analysis and definition of a new vocational project but also to a re-built of skills. Additionally, these job centers helped with the dissemination of information on effective job seeking (writing a cv, replying to vacancies adds, places where to look for a job etc.).

In terms of facilitating Roma access to employment, adult education in the municipality of Oslo, in Norway, focused mainly on language acquisition (reading and writing) and information computer technology (ICT) for Roma individuals of considerably reduced income capacity and limited social security benefits.108 The programme was implemented by the municipality of Oslo and was administered by the local labour and welfare office.

In the course of the Governmental Programme for the Roma Community in Poland, additional emphasis is paid on pre-school and elementary education in terms of developing the social status of the Roma community, resulting in the long run to better employability chances. A successful initiative undertaken to this end has been the employment of Roma education assistants (Roma mediators). The idea has been introduced in partnership with a Roma organisation from Hungary and Slovakia) and has resulted so far to the employment of 100 education assistants.

In compliance with Law 76/2002 on unemployment benefits and employment incentives in Romania, the National Employment Agency has implemented several professional training measures meant to enhance employment particularly towards persons belonging to disadvantaged groups. For the implementation of these measures, particular attention is paid to the local collaboration of all the stakeholders, so that their correlated actions should achieve maximal efficiency. As a result, by 31 December 2003 some 202 Roma ethnics had benefited from professional training courses while 91 trainees had been successfully transferred to employment.109 Additionally, training for craftsmen is scheduled within the Romano CHER Programme envisaging the adaption of existing skills and crafts professed by Roma into the modern labour market.

Likewise in the Slovak Republic, 50 posts have been created for education assistants in the course of a project (Association of the Young Roma) implemented in the Banská Bystrica region. The project was implemented within the district offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family in the Banská Bystrica, Banská Štiavnica, Brezno, Rimavská Sobota and Zvolen regions for improving Roma employability, maintaining work habits, increasing professional flexibility of young Roma and lifelong learning. Important to notice is that the programme has earmarked funding both for the organisational and operational phase (including the jobs created within the course of the programme, i.e. the education assistants). Further on, with regard to education-training for enabling access to the labour market, a number of activities are implemented in terms of community training, social incubator training, farming, housework, hygiene and childcare etc.

In Slovenia training courses operated by Employment Offices are undertaken under the Active employment policy programme (2007-2013). Within this course, a number of projects are implemented at the local and national level targeting unemployed personnel (among which the Roma too) in terms of specialised skills acquisition, education-related training (particularly for the completion of primary school), activation of unemployed personnel and the promotion of socialising. Additionally, the MLFSA implements a number of measures with regard to developing necessary skills for integrating unemployed Roma into the labour market. For instance, as already mentioned, under the Training on work programme unemployed persons are supported in skills’ and knowledge’ acquisition. Likewise, promotion of social entrepreneurship through training on organic food industry and medicinal herbs production and processing is pursued in the course of the tender for the promotion of social entrepreneurship addressing Roma as a vulnerable target group.

Further, with regard to education, “Roma mentors-assistants” were involved in the educational process as practitioners through the “Roma Education and Information Centre” established under the EQUAL Community Initiative leaded by the MLFSA. The key objective of the project was to engage “Roma Mentors” in assisting Roma children with the educational process (learning, mastering the language of the majority population, and overcoming social gaps), as well as for mediating between Roma parents and the teaching staff. The project identified as its direct focus-group young Roma with any level of completed secondary school and an affinity with work in the socio-educational profession. Based on the stated criteria, the persons selected were predominately those of Roma origin (all except one living in a Roma settlement and mastering the Roma language). For the purposes of the project a six-month (maximum) curriculum was prepared for providing Roma mentors with additional knowledge in the domains of pedagogy, sociology, psychology, computer technology, musical education, Roma language and culture, artistic education, Slovenian language, and work in the educational institutions. Additionally, a cooperation agreement with fifteen educational institutions enabled Roma mentors’ training for a period of 6 months. In particular, a pedagogical mentor (with regular

employment contract in a school or kindergarten, namely a class teacher) was assigned to the Roma mentor in each institute, for supervision and guidance, motivation, evaluation and diverse support reasons. Within the project (from 2004-2007) twenty individuals were employed at the Research and Education Institute of Murska Sobota as Roma Mentors – Assistants.110

A number of vocational training projects are similarly met in Spain providing for career guidance and counselling, the development of skills and job seeking competence. Worth noted is that the implementation of social integration projects in Spain involves strong participation of NGOs working with the Gypsy population, facilitating this way a better level of effective implementation and impact.

In Sweden within the framework of partnership development agreements a number of education-realted training programmes have been initiated at the local level. For example, the municipality of Helsingborg runs a project targeting 30 grown-up pupils studying on middle school up to upper secondary. Most of the pupils do not have any previous experience of studying or any working experience. During the period of studying a training job course held aims at better bridging the trainee with working life, get good examples both for the employers and the Roma and developing a method which can be used also in other municipalities. The goal is that after one semester the pupil should gain increased confidence in working life and see a realistic pathway to self-support. Within three years the pupil should take part in vocational education or be employed or have self-employment. An additional example comes from the municipality of Norrköping in 2006 while addressing social integration through education for a particular Roma group (newly arrived Roma from the former Republic of Yugoslavia). The project involved a Roma project leader and a steering group with representatives from the relevant divisions within the municipality, as well as a reference group. The project focused on vocational education and on earning your own living by means of interviews, information activities and door-to-door visits.

Further measures on partnership agreements between the public and private sector engaging all civil society partners, especially at the local level may accelerate but also provide for effective on-the-job training, focusing on existing labour market needs and opportunities. On a similar basis, the CoE member states practice for effective creation of employment opportunities requires the development of generic skills through training and educational formation as reflected on the basis of the guidelines set in the CM Recommendation for sustainable, long-term job opportunities.

      3.5 Information, research and assessment

The improvement of employability of Roma communities at risk of exclusion requires adequate information on the main obstacles halting effective access to the labour market. Focused research on the situation of Roma in terms of skills and labour-market needs, as well as on going assessment of the level and impact of integration achieved in the labour-market, provide a basic tool for diagnosing the factors to be addressed through goals-structured employment policies.

[Roma/Gypsies should be given information about their rights and responsibilities in the employment field, about the different forms of help available from administrative bodies and about the functioning of social protection systems. Such information, which should be provided by public administrative bodies in co-operation with NGOs, should enhance the social and economic integration of Roma/Gypsies] (Rec.VI.41)

The member states should encourage innovative small-scale projects and research, in order to find local responses to local needs using available local potential, in co-operation with the appropriate bodies and individuals. (Rec.VI.42)

Labour market and economic development policies and programmes should be carefully monitored and evaluated. The evaluation of their impact on Roma/Gypsy communities should not only be limited to business success but also consider the wider implications for Roma communities. (Rec.VI.43)

A clear statement of objectives and the establishment of evaluation procedures are important factors in determining programme success. These elements should be included in the design phase of programmes. (Rec.VI.44)

Examples of good practice and successful instruments and tools should be documented and disseminated nationally and internationally. (Rec.VI.45)

In Bulgaria, in order to ensure sustainable employment for Roma, the qualification and pre-qualification courses shall be in conformity with the employers’ needs in different regions of the country. Another idea that emerged during the research was the promotion of entrepreneurship amongst Roma people, which should contribute both to the implementation of social services and the creation of employment opportunities. In 2007 the MLSP carried out a research “Roma about Roma people”, which supported the integration of Roma in the Bulgarian society. The research was carried out through the “focus-groups” sociological approach among 40 community representatives – official and unofficial Roma leaders, young people and Roma women. The research explored the possibility of introducing the “labour mediator” position which had been finally included in the National Action Plan on Employment for 2008 and funds have been assigned for 45 labour mediators. In June 2008, 41 labour mediators received certificates after sitting successfully a training course in the framework of the National Programme “Activation of inactive persons”. Also, the assessment-experience gained from the operation of the JOBS centres established in particular regions in Bulgaria led to the expansion of the project in more regions on the basis of good practice dissemination.

In the Czech Republic, significant funds are channelled to support research aimed at mapping the position of socially excluded Roma in key areas determining, thus, the quality of their living conditions in the fields of employment, housing and education. For instance, a recent joint research project was carried out in 2008 by the Government and the World Bank on Opportunities to improve Roma employment. A number of important facts were highlighted through the research on the factors affecting Roma capacity to integrate into the labour market, such as dependence on social benefits particularly in regions with low labour-demand on low skilled workers and professions or over indebtedness endangering their income. The research proposed a number of changes to be introduced in the Czech employment services in order to make them work more effectively.

The first comprehensive research concerning the means to improve Roma employability was carried out in Finland also in 2008 by the Ministry of Employment and Economy111 whereas another “phenomenon-graphical” doctoral dissertation concerning the Finnish Roma entrepreneurs and the prejudices and discrimination faced by them was published by the University of Jyväskylä in 2009.112 According to the initial research, factors such as low basic educational level, lack of vocational education, lack of work experience and the special features of their culture as well as the negative attitudes towards them in the labour market and the experienced discrimination by the Roma communities form the main obstacles while trying to access the labour market. It is thus made obvious that the improvement of their employment situation requires simultaneous comprehensive actions on several fields. More interesting findings are revealed by the research regarding the typology of Roma job-seekers according to their background and needs, dividing them into at least three group categories: those whose basic education is incomplete (especially young people) and for whom the completion of their basic education is the primary objective; those who have no secondary education or vocational training after basic education (in this respect developing the forms of support for vocational education and training, career counselling and study counselling are the main targets) and finally those Roma who have either gained work experience or additionally a vocational qualification, and who need support especially in job seeking and recruitment. Moreover, the Equal DP-projects gathered the lessons learnt and produced a handbook including the issues to take account when recruiting Roma. The handbook was widely disseminated to labour offices and educational organisations. Similarly, acknowledging that lack of adequate knowledge of Roma participation in different levels of education, the recently proposed National Policy for the Roma envisages a new research concerning the educational needs and the attendance of Roma in the education system, stressing the importance for developing vocational education.

Likewise, in order to assess the employment situation of Roma and find local responses to local needs, the research of István Kemény in 2003 illustrates that there are only few Roma in Hungary who have work, and even less who have a regular, full-time job. Furthermore, those who are able to find a job are working in the lower segment of the labour market. Some 70% of Roma workers work as unskilled or semi-skilled employees. Some 22% work as skilled workers, while only 8% work as qualified blue or white collar workers. In general, sociological surveys held yield that the Roma’s position in the labour market has worsened dramatically in Hungary after the change in the political system. Firstly, it was witnessed that Roma worked for those industries having the greatest economic losses, representing on the same time the least qualified workers in these industries. Secondly, their unfavourable position in the labour market was aggravated by ethnic-based discrimination. According to the Kemény research, less than one third of Roma men between the ages of 15 and 74 lived primarily on income from some kind of work and that less than one third of this group had some form of regular work. The respective rates for Roma women are even worse as the percentage of Roma women living primarily on income from some kind of work amounts to one out of six, while the same applies for Roma women having some kind of regular work. Finally it is stressed that the unfavourable employment situation for Roma women is deemed to be related to early marriages, lack of suitable qualifications and gender-based discrimination.

In Ireland, the Report of the Task Force on the Traveller Community (1995) has set the policy agenda in relation to Travellers. Progress reports on the implementation of the wide ranging Task Force Report in 2000 and 2005 indicated that though policy development was well advanced, still the implementation phase required further attention.113 The Report of the High Level Group established by the Government, in order to support better integrated delivery of services, stressed the need for positive action on employment, with the State sector taking a lead in this regard. In the context of particular programmes held, a Report on the Civil Service Traveller Internship Pilot Programme was held in 2007 regarding possible future restructuring and continuation of the programme. The report was based on a review conducted on the basis of individual interviews of the Traveller internees, group and individual discussions with civil servants in Government departments, a Traveller representative organisation, some members of the working group and an examination of printed data and materials.

In Spain, monitoring and follow-up purposes of the activities undertaken has been pursued through the Technical Assistance Programme funded by the ESF providing in particular for assessment, follow-up, monitoring and information activities for ensuring effective implementation and proper use of available resources. Earlier, under the ACCEDER project the FSG conducted in 2006 a research regarding the employment situation of the Gypsy population in Spain. In essence this comparative study enabled the assessment of the progress made in the field of employment compared to the general employment situation of the majority population.

In Slovenia, an extensive survey on the educational and professional interests of Roma was carried out within the Phare 2003 Project – Lifelong learning “Vocational guidance and counselling for Roma”,114 co-financed by the EU. The survey presents the goals and the implementation procedure of the project, a detailed description of the methodology used, the implementation procedure of the survey and its results. The survey was carried out in October and November 2005, and surveyed the active Roma population in the Dolenjska, Bela Krajina, Posavje, Kočevsko and Grosupeljsko Regions of Slovenia. Based on the findings of the survey, motivation is yielded as the most important element for successfully integrating Roma people into the educational system. On the same time, it is stressed that the employment situation of Roma is dependent on the level of education and the opportunities offered to gain access to education alongside the possibility to acquire social, cultural and economic goods. Also, a project carried out in 2007 and 2008 by the Peace Institute, focused on the collection and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data on the situation of the Roma population in Ljubljana in the following areas: access to proper housing conditions, access to social and health services, access to political decision-making, citizenship status, access to education and employment. Special emphasis was given to the “Roma problem” in Ljubljana in relation to social work and work with Roma political representatives. The primary purpose of the project was to investigate and eventually, answer the question “what is the problem of Roma in Ljubljana” based on quantitative facts, as well as diverse perspectives and reflections of Roma themselves regarding their situation and finally, to propose possible solutions. These would provide a basis for the development of integrated and innovative action programmes and policy measures for better quality social inclusion of Roma in Ljubljana.

Apart from the cases mentioned above in terms of precise research held, some other methods occur in the practice of the CoE member states such as the EU Open Method of Coordination and Assessment of social policies with particular emphasis to employment and social inclusion. Greece for instance hosted in 2009 the Peer Review held on the implementation of the IAP for the social inclusion of Greek Roma with the participation of several European and CoE member states and authorities. The peer was based on a study carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (ESF) on the assessment of the policies undertaken for the social integration of Roma as well as on the proposal of a new strategy for the forthcoming operational period. As indicated by the researches mentioned above, the peer review but also the relevant study held, stressed for comprehensive long-term action in mainstream policies governing essential exercise of social and civil rights for the Roma communities through carefully targeted measures and a clear set of goals.

Overall, as illustrated in the CM Recommendation, labour market and economic development policies depend on on-going monitoring and assessment for evaluating properly their impact on the Roma communities but also in terms of wise use of available means and resources. The establishment of concrete set of objectives tailored to the needs of the Roma communities are equally important factors for determining policies’ success as well as for the drafting and effective implementation of social policy programmes. In this regard, adequate dissemination of information on positive experiences and practices as well as on objective restraints place an added value to the efforts made.

4. Overview – Conclusions

Noting the “circle-point” between poverty and discrimination, in which the lack of access to regular or permanent employment - due to the discrimination or social exclusion faced by a large number of Roma communities in most European states - lead to even bigger poverty and social exclusion, the conditions must be set for concrete measures to be undertaken, so that the labour market creates equal job opportunities and maintain these in the long-run for the most vulnerable groups of the population amongst which the Roma.

The increasing labour market segmentation and heterogeneity of social rights places even greater need for proactive measures to be undertaken for the protection after all of the right to equally access the labour market, whether in the public or in the private sector, is a basic principle of Rec(2001)17 within the scope of which the floor is established for the embark of local initiatives esteeming from nationwide mainstream policies, tailored to the needs of the local communities in terms of existing human resources and markets’ needs. The “individualised approach” tailored on local needs and Roma potentials offer some challenging practices in the field based on profiling and Roma mediation.

It is in that context that within this Recommendation the establishment of comprehensive, mainstream employment policies are foreseen as a priority-policy for all member states while creating equal opportunities for enabling the access to the market economy (labour market, income generating activities) and overcoming social poverty existing in most European states. To this extent, given of the intense cultural diversity witnessed amongst all Roma communities which may lead to the development of a wide number of differentiated potential skills amongst local communities depending on the particular circumstances existing at the local level or faced by the Roma communities in each particular community, the undertaking of employment initiatives at the local level bears the burden for the successful implementation of, however, mainstream, long-term committed employment policies. Going further, depending on the variety and the level of decentralisation met among the Council of Europe member states, the adoption of comprehensive national employment programmes and their implementation at the local level in close cooperation with or upon the institutionalised initiative of the local authorities, arises as the future component of focus-centred employment policies towards the Roma population. In other words, flexible top-down structures that will allow for bottom-up projects, adjusted to the needs of the local Roma communities and the local markets and adapting the skills existing in each one of the local societies. The establishment of synergies and partnerships at intra-national (local, regional) and international level may as well offer to the effective, goals’ and personnel’s centred drafting and implementation of tailored employment programmes and are therefore considered inter alia as key elements for the successful lift of the social barriers faced by the Roma population in the contemporary market economy.

Life-long vocational training based on capacity building and adequate training in generic skills taking into consideration existing or objective barriers born by the Roma population due, not only to long-term unemployment but also due to cultural diversity and lifestyle are deemed crucial for the curtail of the long-term abstain from the regular labour market. Validation of skills based on existing certified experience by field-experts offers a great opportunity for the explore and use of potential or even existing, however unofficial skills. Equally important is hence, the gradual lift of the employability gap among the generations by developing and implementing employment related policies in the field of education and culture so that all Roma oriented training projects result into sustainable outcomes.

Further effort is necessitated in the context of employment policies undertaken, in terms of trust-building and clients’ or business’ accountability. On the other hand, the promotion and support of income generating activities based on the provision of incentives for the encouragement of individuals’ economic activity (e.g. entrepreneurship) is deemed of principal importance for the wise investment in existing Roma human resources. Closely related to their abstain on an almost permanent basis from most types of regular employment, the provision of micro-credits for the establishment of small-medium enterprises or sometimes for legalising existing family enterprises, or for the creation of new entrepreneurs, may facilitate the smooth transmission of the Roma economic activity into regular market economy with multiplying effects for the labour market itself.

Short term but also long term assessment and dissemination of information on the projects and measures undertaken, the personnel concerned-engaged, and the goals set, are consequently fundamental for the establishment of flexible and focus-centred mainstreaming employment policies.

Doubtless, effective employment of policies is a continuing challenge necessitating the establishment of adequate information dissemination channels so that awareness’ raising is promoted as regards the rights and the duties for and while accessing the labour market as well as on anti-discrimination activities and intermediary support mechanisms so that eventually, the development of Roma employability bears more social rights and lift dependence.

5. Appendices

      5.1 Acronyms

CEB

Council of Europe Development Bank

CM

Council of Europe Committee of Ministers

CoE

Council of Europe

ERDF

European Regional Development Fund

ESC

European Social Charter

ESF

European Social Fund

ICT

Information and Communication Technology

IAP

Integrated Action Plan

IOM

International Organisation on Migration

IT

Information Technology

MLFSA

Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs

NAP

National Action Plan

NAPincl

National Action Plan for social inclusion

NGOs

Non-Governmental Organisations

NSRF

National Strategic Reference Framework (following the 3rd Community Support Framework-CSF)

OP

Operational Programme

OPW

Office for Public Works/ Operational Public Works

Rec

Recommendation

SOP

Sectoral Operational Programme

SMEs

Small - Medium Enterprises

TEPs

Territorial Employment Pacts in Austria

UNDP

United Nations Development Programme


      5.2 References

1. “EU-MIDIS, European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey: Main Results Report”, European Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2009.

2. “EU-MIDIS, European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, Data in Focus Report: The Roma”, European Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2009.

3. “Peer Review Host Country Report – Greece”, 2009.

4. Report on the monitoring of the current situation of Roma in Greece, Assessment of interventions and Drafting of an Action Plan for the 4th operational period”, Ministry of Labour and Social Security – ESF, 2009.

5. “Territorial Employment Pacts in Austria”, Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection – Coordination Unit of the TEPs in Austria, Vienna June 2009.

6. Report of the High Level Task Force on Social Cohesion in the 21st century, TFSC (2007) 31E, Council of Europe, 2008.

7. “National Strategy Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2010”, Slovak Republic, 2008.

8. “Review of a Civil Service Traveller Internship Pilot Programme 2006-2007”, Ralaheen Ltd, Dr Pauline Conroy, Helen O’Leary, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, 21 August 2007.

9. “L’économie des Voyageurs en Europe. Quelle Reconnaissance?”, Etude pour le projet transnational ETAP/Programme Européen EQUAL, Claire Cossee fors Recherche Sociale, Avril 2005.

10. Report on “Roma Access to Employment in SEE: Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia & Montenegro and «the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia»” JP-ROMA (2005) 1, April 2005, Ina Zoon & Judith Kiers, co-financed under the Stability Pact for SEE from the OSCE/ODIHR, CoE, EC.

11. UNDP/SK Study “Avoiding the Dependency Trap - Roma in Central and Eastern Europe”, 2002.

1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

2 Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 27 November 2001,at the 774th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies.

3 The term “Roma” used in the present text refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.

4 Particularly the European Social Charter, the two European Council directives on equal treatment (2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC) on the implementation of the principles of “equal treatment for all irrespective of racial or ethnic origin” and of “equal treatment at employment and training”, the Guiding Principles for improving the situation of the Roma adopted by the European Union at the Tampere summit in 1999, the OSCE Action Plan for the Improvement of the situation of the Roma and Sinti and the targets of the Decade of Roma Inclusion.

5 Directive 2000/78/EC.

6 The EQUAL Community Initiative has been developed as part of the European Union’s Strategy on Employment, in particular, for ensuring more and better jobs and that no-one is denied access to them. It is funded from the European Structural Fund and means to test the implementation and dissemination of new ways of tackling discrimination and inequality experienced by those in work and those looking for a job. The initiative follows from two former calls in 2001 (EMPLOYMENT) and 2004 (ADAPT) and complements current policies on equal opportunities in the labour market based on horizontal and vertical mainstreaming fostering access of excluded or at risk of exclusion from the labour market groups.

7 See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.26, 33.

8 The Government has joined the Decade for Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 initiative since 2005.

9 The term “socio-pathological phenomena” refers in the present text to this group of socially undesirable phenomena and problems regarding effective exercise of civil rights and thus, insufficient access to them (i.e. to education, employment, housing etc.), resulting to greater poverty and exclusion.

10 Roma representatives are members of the Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of the National Programme for the Roma and its working groups (5), as well as of the Working Group for monitoring the Implementation of the Decade Action Plan.

11 See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.23.

12 The proposal is the result of a broad, cross-sectoral working group (26 members, including Roma representatives) appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Influenced also by the CoE and EU Recommendations on Roma policies, the proposal includes ten guidelines for the implementation phase and almost 150 concrete measures for action in six key areas: education of Roma children (including preschool, basic and secondary education), education of adult and their access to the labour market (including vocational education and training), equal access to social welfare and health services, reduction of insecure feeling in the field of housing, equal treatment and anti-discrimination, promotion of the Romani language and culture, as well as promotion of Roma participation in decision-making processes (e.g. by developing administrative structures dealing with Roma affairs) and international cooperation. The National Policy will be implemented upon adoption of a Government Resolution. The Working Group Report is available on the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: www.stm.fi/publications/. See further in MG-S-ROM (2010)18prov, p.4-5.

13 See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.67.

14 The National Programme was prepared by a working group appointed by the Government with participation of representatives of the competent ministries and government bodies, certain local communities, where Roma live, and representatives of the Roma community. The Programme was also discussed and approved by the Government Commission for the Protection of the Roma Ethnic Community (which is composed of eight representatives of national authorities, four representatives of the Roma Community Council of the Republic of Slovenia and four representatives of municipalities) and was finally adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia in March 2010. This comprehensive programme covers the following priority areas: living conditions, educational structure, employment, healthcare, cultural, informational and editing activities, as well as awareness-raising activities (including the Dosta! Campaign). It should be noted though that within the employment component of the National Programme, Roma employability is envisaged through mainstream policies. The programme includes goals, indicators, information about implementation bodies and timetable, allocation of funds and the financial sources for each of the measures envisaged, as well as a monitoring chapter. The Government Commission will be tasked with the preparation of an annual implementation report on the Programme of Measures for submission to the Government as well as with the supervision of the monitoring. See MG-S-ROM (2010)18 prov, p.4.

15 The “work-shy gypsy” image illustrates all forms of social prejudices resulted by dominant stereotypical perceptions of the majority population towards the Roma community given their long standing affiliation with trade and temporary informal employment. See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.67-68.

16 See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.67.

17 The figures presented show that in the mid of the operational period of the programme employment measures deploy a rather small share of the budget allocated upon the projects proposed on employment by local government, labour offices or NGOs. See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.68.

18 See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.69-70.

19 See national Strategy Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2008-2010, Slovak Republic 2008, p.8-9, 12, 14 et al.

20 The funds allocated to the NAP (644.000.000 KM) engage national financing (state and local authorities’ budget) but also private funding and loans from IO’s.

21 Education, employment and housing, health, culture and language, political participation, the fight against anti-tsigganism and awareness-raising about human rights, as well as specific measures concerning Roma women and youth. In that course it was suggested to establish a Secretariat for Roma affairs (half of the members would be Roma) and to have a monitoring procedure of the Strategy implementation through annual progress reports to the Government. See further in MG-S-ROM (2010)18prov, p.5.

22 For instance in Greece the adoption of the NAP for Greek Roma social inclusion was the result of the dialogue held at the end of ‘90s in Greece on Roma integration and it was primarily based on the proposals made by Greek Roma grassroots organisations. Likewise, the National Policy for Roma in Finland was prepared by a broad based working group, consisting inter alia of research institutes and Roma representatives. Similarly, in Slovenia, the recent NAP has been proposed on the basis of on-going consultations with Roma. In effect, the Slovenian NAP was drafted by a working group appointed by the Government, with large-scale representation of competent ministries and Government bodies, certain municipalities where Roma live at, as well as the Roma community. In cooperation with Roma representatives, the working group carried out consultations concerning individual areas covered by the NAP. Additionally, the National Programme for Roma was discussed and approved by the Government Commission for the Protection of the Roma Community, whose members are also Roma, whereas a nation-wide public discussion was held with representative associations of municipalities.

23 Especially until the amendment of the EC regulation on structural funds.

24 See MG-S-ROM (2010)3 prov., p.26 and “Towards 2016” Ten year Social Partnership Agreement 2006-2016, p.8.

25 Namely the South Dublin, Clare, Cork, Galway County Councils.

26 The 2006 annual report of the National Employment Agency shows that active measures accounted for 19.57% of the total spending funded from the unemployment insurance budget. Again, in 2006 the sum of 75.182.380 lei (average exchange rate 3.5245 lei/Euro) was allocated towards stimulating employment for disadvantaged categories. In 2006 there were 3.536 Roma employment caravans reaching 2.903 Roma communities with 70,971 Roma participants. 27.207 persons (19.273 women) were registered in the database and 4.219 (1,188 women) were employed. The 2007 Roma employment caravans gathered 46.545 Roma participants (19.637 women). 9.995 Roma persons (4.279 women) benefited from career counseling and 17.196 Roma people (6.583 women) were registered in the database. 3.753 Roma (1.199 women) found employment and another 13.847 (5.363 women) were scheduled to take part in active measures for employment (free re-training, career guidance, etc.).

27 Velingrad, Polski Trambesh, Byala Slatina, Elhovo, Karlovo, Parvomaj, Dulovo and Teteven.

28 The project is co-funded by the ESF.

29 The “bridging” element has already been introduced since the operation of labour caravans which provide the space for bringing closer Roma employees and mainstream employers but also for campaigning for the Roma employees’ credibility.

30 Additional measures scheduled under the initiative provide for the certification of 240 craftsmen in several sectors such as marketing, management, public relations, training of trainers, administration affairs and ICT. An informal social network composed of traditional craftsmen will be created for further cooperation, exchange of information and products promotion whereas (30) local networks will be operating consultation and counselling for the identification of local problems related to the profession of traditional crafts. Eventual development of these networks to formal structures for maintaining these activities at the local level and the establishment of a Union Roma Craftsmen umbrella organisation, employment posts and an online platform are also scheduled within the implementation of the project. See press release “ROMANO CHER – Roma House”, K Consulting Management and Coordination.

31 22 career fairs were organized in 2006, among which 10 took place in regions with compact Roma population and 2 were organised under the aegis of the EURES network. As a result, over 3.000 job seekers have started different jobs. During the first nine months of 2007, 18 career fairs took place in different regions of Bulgaria. Out of them 4 were general and 14 were specialized ones. Four of these specialized fairs were in the area of tourism, hotel and restaurant management, two were in the area of construction, one in the tailoring industry and one in machinery construction, one for young people up to 29 years old, one for graduates and four for the Roma community. These fairs were attended by 344 employers and 3.790 job seekers. At these fairs 4.048 vacancies were made available whereas a total of 3.310 job seekers were successfully employed (82.6% of all job seekers). From the beginning of 2008, 4 specialized career fairs for Roma were organized offering 1.355 vacancies.

32 So far The Netherlands do not hold a National Strategy for the Roma population. Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities do not form a particular target group while implementing employment measures. Instead, their employability is targeted through mainstream measures on language acquisition, education and the development of social competences in the context of the Law on labour and social benefits.

33 The Reintegration Agency is a member of the WSD-group and runs currently 60 coaching tracks in various stages of the process of matching clients with the labour market.

34 The project was initiated by a grassroots’ Sinti organisation in the form of training offered for Sinti young adolescents, from 15 to 23 years old, living in five small family campsites at the Eindhoven region (Brabant province). The main characteristics of the group in focus were that they were either no longer attending school or have been dependant on social benefits while looking for work through legitimization of informal economic activity.

35 Automobile: selling, repair spare parts, demolition, cleaning, management, sales; Music: artists, studio managers, public relations; Food industry: small restaurants, couriers; Education: class assistants, etc. See MGSROM p.28.

36 A reintegration company offers flexible manoeuvring towards a group with specific needs since reintegration councillors function between social worker, trainer/coach and cultural broker, intermediating between client and outside representatives of socio-economic institutions, generating educational possibilities, training facilities, apprenticeships, jobs within small enterprises, regulations of licences, small loans for entrepreneurship, debt resolving.

37 The project was funded by the Emilia Romagna Region (700.520,00€) and has been implemented by the 2nd largest Confederation of Trade Unions in Italy (CISL) under the sector “Inclusion in the labour market – tackling ethnic and racial discrimination”.

38 Two of the Sportelli (one-stop-shops) were based in the Gypsy camps in Parma and Piacenza. In practical terms the Sportelli facilitated a wide number of daily issues of the Sinti and Roma communities in terms of housing, health, schooling, employment opportunities and work permits but also with regard to political structures, administrative bodies and institutions.

39 With regard to the practical outcome of the “Sportelli” the following info is noted: 230 vocational guidance interviews or sessions; 25 courses organised; These courses involved 161 people and lasted 8007 hours; 27 stages or work experience placements have taken place. Roma and Sinti are the most discriminated ethnic group living in Italy. They are totally excluded by the employment sector. The project involved the Roma and Sinti communities of four provinces of Emilia Romagna in a training and employment strategy that created the basis for an actual socio-employment opportunity. The pilot project created concrete territorial approaches to the integration of members of the Roma and Sinti communities through vocational training, inter-agency partnerships and the involvement of a network of employers that fostered the improvement of the social and economic conditions of Roma and Sinti communities. The results indicate a positive impact on the development of the living conditions and of the enjoyment of full citizenship of Roma Community. A critical obstacle in the implementation phase has been the difficulty in finding Roma facilitators and mediators able to represent the needs and rights of the community, in absence of a concept of representation inside the Roma communities. Indeed, Roma and Sinti have many problems outside of training and employment and it would have been better if representatives of health and housing services had been involved from the beginning, offering a more immediate and complete response. Also, gender balance has been preserved as more than half of the participants were women with a crucial role for the cultural change of communities, the resolution of inner conflicts and the improvement of children’s future.

40 See MG-S-ROM (2010)3 prov., p.20.

41 The project is co-funded for some €81.700 from the European Social Fund under the employment and social inclusion Operational Programme. Information available at http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/esf/ news/news/article_10121_en.htm, social inclusion project for active job search.

42 The city of Poprad has a population of 52.537, including 1.606 Roma people. Some 331 of them are estimated to face difficulties in integrating.

43 The institution resembles the idea of mediation but doesn’t clearly consist of mediators.

44 Two Job Opportunities through Business Support centres have been established under the Roma employment component. Since the start of the project 4.404 jobs have been created for representatives of minority ethnic groups, among which 702 are under the Employment of Roma Component. In total, 7.688 persons have been trained, of which 2.672 are of Roma origin.

45 The project was co-funded by the UNDP, the UK and Switzerland.

46 In 2008 a total of 86 field workers were active in 46 communities, working with 13.144 clients.

47 The SMc were co-funded by national and structural funds (ESF) under the SOP on Human Resources Development and provide with the following services: registration of the population with the municipal rolls and civic status settlement (certificates etc.); health care services and awareness raising of the gypsy population on health-care issues, reproductive rights, sexual health, family planning; family counselling; mediation with the local society and administrative structures at the local level (e.g. schools); counselling on employment and education; psychological support; information dissemination on housing. SMc may network through the forum established particularly to this end at http://www.esfhellas.gr/forum/default.asp where communication, dissemination and exchange of information are made possible. Currently, a new public call is drafted under the NSRF.

48 The necessary legal framework is set by a Joint Ministerial Decision of the Ministers of Health and Social Solidarity, Employment and Social Insurance, Economy and Finance, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization, entitled “Amendment of JMD no.113956/02-10-2002 (OG 1295/B/2002) on the Establishment of a Management, Assessment and Monitoring System and on the Implementation of the Measure “Safeguard and Improvement of Health and Social Integration of Greek Gypsies” co-funded by the ESF within the framework of the ROP.

49 According to the data-sheet of the project, the measure correlates to employment and education. See MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.55-56.

50 The measure was launched in mid-2008.

51 See “Field Social Work in marginalised communities”, Mgr. Darina Košutová, in the context of The international specialist workshop “Programmes supporting social inclusion of the disadvantaged population groups”, organised by the Presidency of the Slovak Republic of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, Bratislava May 17-18, 2010.

52 OP Employment and Social Inclusion, measure 2.1.: supporting social inclusion for persons at risk of social exclusion or socially excluded.

53 Expert counselling activity is provided by the Offices of Labour, Social Affairs and Family at Revúca, Levice, Rožňava and Stropkov.

54 “Territorial Employment Pacts in Austria”, Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection – Coordination Unit of the TEPs in Austria, Vienna June 2009.

55 TEP Burgenland.

56 Employment Pact Burgenland.

57 TEP Carinthia.

58 TEP Lower Austria.

59 Pact for Employment and Qualification in Upper Austria.

60 Employment Pact Styria (STEBEP) and Regional Pacts.

61 TEP Vienna.

62 See further in chapter 3.1.2, p.18.

63 Network of the EU for employment opportunities and mobility.

64 Social firm provides employment for people disadvantaged on open job market. Because its services and products do compete on the regular market, it creates a work environment very close to the common one. Joint employment of people with and without disabilities helps reduce prejudice and it removes social stigma usually associated with people with a certain disability. Long adaptation period and further support permits people with disadvantage to maintain their job or to leave to find a common job. This work not only brings material benefits, it also gives employees much needed self-fulfilment and the sense of social value. It helps them find place in the social structure and it helps one’s self-determination and self-respect. These values make it worth it to support the evolution of social firms. Another important aspect is also the fact that people with a disability receive a regular pay for their work, they become economically independent and they are no longer solely dependent on the financial support of the government. By offering employment to people with difficulties who would otherwise be unable to find a common job, social firms help reduce unemployment. The existence and development of social firms thus not only helps their employees, but, thanks to the long-term impact, the whole society benefits. These reasons are among those which make it worth it to support the evolution of social enterprise. Social firm is intended mainly for those disadvantaged who need a longer adaptation period and long-term or repeated support: Foundation and operation of 2 social firms: Zahrada and Café Therapy, Café Therapy is a restaurant and a café and also an information center for parents. Additionally, Café Therapy sells ceramics, Café Therapy has nine employees who have undergone drug addiction treatment, and ten employees without disadvantage, The social firm Zahrada (Garden) offers gardening services, regular or single maintenance, cleaning of gardens, lawn mowing, hedge trimming, flower and bush planting. The social firm employs six people with a psychological illness and three people without disadvantages.

65 According to estimates of the Labour Exchange officials, at least 3.227 Roma job applicants have been placed in jobs during 2008. Public employment services working with disadvantaged Roma worked with approximately 310 organisations (of which 231 were employers, 51 were NGOs and 26 were Roma organisations). See further in MG-S-ROM (2010)3, p.14.

66 Among the beneficiaries, 5 were employed in the County Council.

67 The internship programme was initiated by the Department of Finance.

68 Applications for promoting job-creation with a 2, 66 billion HUF budget for 160-170 enterprises resulting in some 2.500-2.800 new jobs.

69 The programme started on 1 April 2009 and can ensure annually an average of 66.000 beneficiaries in terms of temporary employment (6 hours/day).

70 Some 13.500 persons have participated in public works programmes.

71 See further in chapter 3.4, p.38-39. See also IOM regional Office in Budapest, Newsletter no.9, September 2009.

72 The Network has currently 62 munipality-members all over Greece.

73 To date, 17 projects amounting to over PLN 10 million (approx. EUR 2.5 million) have been financed, among which 4 projects are implemented by Roma Organisations and 2 with Roma Organisations acting as partners.

74 See further in chapter 3.2.1 below.

75 For the period 2008-2010 local development agreements were signed with 21 municipalities. At the central level, the implementation of the agreements is tasked to the Swedish Public Employment Service, the Social Insurance Agency and the National Police Board.

76 “Young Roma women work together to create an enterprising lifestyle” and “Socio-cultural and labour market integration of an ethnic minority” respectively.

77 EC, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Social Dialogue, Social Rights, Working Conditions, Adaptation to Change, Labour Law, TENDER N° VT/2010/084.

78 Term used in the EU to conciliate both employers’ and workers’ needs, in terms of flexibility and security, by ensuring workers’ safe transition inside the labour market, while maintaining and improving competitiveness of the companies and also preserving the European social model.

79 In 2005 an interim evaluation on the implementation of the Programme yielded a number of positive impacts such as shortening in half of the unemployment period for the participants, improvement of their situation in almost all other social aspects compared to this of the controlling group members, and strong self-esteem, social contacts and working motivation. In 2007 the beneficiaries of the programme amounted to 24.849 persons. See further in MG-S-ROM(2010)3, p.5.

80 The measure was introduced in 2008 and has allocated so far 3.017.000 euro on some 800 Roma beneficiaries in particular regions of Greece (Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace).

81 Beneficiaries qualifying for start-up programmes are young people, persons getting maternity benefits or career allowances, people over 50 years old and people with low school qualifications. The number of the applicants amounts to 99.794 persons for the START card, 13.378 for the START-PLUSZ card and 6.145 for the START-EXTRA card. See in MG-S-ROM(2010)3, p.23-24.

82 Undisclosed e-mail update.

83 It is noted that the South Dublin County Council has the highest rate of Travellers in the county per head of population.

84 15 companies and 5 sole traders were registered with the Department of Justice (Equality and Law Reform/Pobal Traveller Interagency Fund) whereas more were planned.

85 As a consequence of the active measures taken by the NAE, 8.781 Roma ethnics, out of which 2.396 women, had been employed as of 31 December 2003. For 2004, the National Employment Programme envisages the employment of 6.406 Roma ethnics; 9.062 persons had been employed by the end of 2004. For 2005, the forecast is 6.845 Roma ethnics; 3.252 persons had been employed as of 31 May (National Roma Agency Progress Report on the implementation of the Government Strategy for improving the situation of Roma, 2003-2005). MG-S-ROM(2010)3, p.72.

86 For example, several job places were created in the biomass production of wood fragments for the heating of municipal buildings in the Budkovce, Spišský Hrhov and Čierne villages; in the cement production for the construction of craftsmen’ labours in Červenica; in buildings’ renovation to municipal storage facilities for fuel, food and personal things in Sveržov; in the municipal security and property maintenance services in the Veľké Kapušany village ; in a manufactory for food-packing in the village Žehra for 550 pupils in primary schools in Žehra and surrounding villages etc.

87 A similar project is implemented in terms of part-time subsidised work for Roma on the basis of job subsidies to employers, who employ part-time (4 oz. 6 hours per day) unemployed persons in the market sector for a period of one year.

88 The “Subsidies for self-employment Programme” aims at creating new employment opportunities on the basis of subsidised self-employment. Subsidies amount on 4.500€ for a minimum period of one year (until 2010 the programme foresees a two years period).

89 To mention few of them in the period 2000-2010, we quote 58.163 recruitments, 38.561 contracts among which 350 through partnership agreements etc.

90 Rate applying in 2010.

91 Op cit 5.

92 PROGRESS is the EU’s employment and social solidarity programme. It was established to support financially the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, as set out in the Social Agenda. It also contributes to the achievement of the EU ‘Lisbon’ Growth and Jobs Strategy. Working alongside the European Social Fund (ESF), PROGRESS started in 2007 and will run until 2013. This programme replaces the four previous ones that ended in 2006 covering actions against discrimination, equality between men and women, employment measures and the fight against social exclusion. The EU opted for a single programme to rationalise and streamline EU funding and concentrate its activities to improve the impact. PROGRESS will ensure that EU social policy remains on course to face the key policy challenges and concentrate on actions that need a combined European effort. It will work to support Member States to ensure they deliver on their commitments to create more and better jobs, to guarantee equal opportunities for all and to implement EU laws uniformly. PROGRESS has a global budget of € 743,25 million for seven years (2007-2013). The EU will use this budget to act as a catalyst for change and modernisation in five areas: employment; social inclusion and protection; working conditions; non-discrimination and gender equality. PROGRESS is open to the 27 EU Member States, EU candidate and EFTA/EEA countries. It targets Member States, local and regional authorities, public employment services and national statistics offices. Specialised bodies, universities and research institutes, as well as the social partners and NGOs. The Commission selects the projects to fund either through calls for tender or through calls for proposals. It provides a maximum of 80% co-financing with some exceptions.

93 Information available at http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/funds/feder/index_en.htm.

94 Although financial support of the CEB has not been made by the member states, some examples supported by the CEB programmes activity are nevertheless citated: a programme in Germany, aimed at financing social needs and to supporting the Government housing sector policy of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. This operation is particularly targeted to immigrant households, the disabled, the elderly and families in situation of financial distress. Major investment programmes set up by different national development banks in order to support employment and strengthen the productive fabric in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary and Turkey. Although particular reference to Roma beneficiaries is not made, they could however provide useful examples of possible cooperation and activities undertaken in the future. See http://www.coebank.org/Contenu.asp?arbo=92&theme=2.

95 http://www.undp.org/poverty/focus_intro.shtml.

96 The Decade of Roma Inclusion for 2005-2015, is a joint international initiative. The founding partner organizations of the Decade are the World Bank, the Open Society Institute, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Council of Europe, the Council of Europe Development Bank, the European Roma and Travellers Forum, the OSCE/ODIHR Contact Point for Roma, the European Roma Information Office (ERIO) and the European Roma Rights Centre. In 2008, the UN-HABITAT, the UNHCR and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also became partners in the Decade. Information available at http://www.romadecade.org/home.

97 Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Slovakia, «the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia» and Montenegro.

98 http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTABOUTUS/0,,pagePK:50004410~piPK:36602~the SitePK:29708,00.html.

99 See the National Programme “From Social Assistance to Employment; National programme for literacy and qualification of Roma (2003 beneficiaries in 2007); Regional programmes for literacy, professional training and employment; National programme “Activation of Inactive Persons”; Training for the acquisition of professional qualification and motivation training etc. in MG-S-ROM (2010)3 prov. Op cit footnote 42.

100 The project is implemented in collaboration with the International Organisation on Migration. The project beneficiaries (75 young Roma people, aged from 18 to 30) will be selected according to their level of vulnerability based on age, marital status, education and/or professional and socio-economic condition (income per family member). The project prioritises among single parents and low skilled women and focuses on the provision of vocational training (75 beneficiaries), employment mediation activities (on-the-job trainings for up to 40 Roma beneficiaries), elaboration and delivery of workshops for the project partners (institutional and civil society actors). Among the organisational structure of the project we note of the determination of its implementation stages such as selection of beneficiaries; identification of vocational trainings’ needs of the identified beneficiaries and identification of partner companies interested to provide on the job training. The NGOs partners, and the local municipalities, will organize targeted and tailored informative activities aimed at channelling the project information to potential beneficiaries. Considering the low level of education among Roma the information will be also channelled through door-to-door visits. Potential beneficiaries will be subsequently invited for a preliminary info meeting during which a thorough presentation of the programme scope and guidelines will be given – it is expected that providing precise information on the project’s conditions and possibilities will reduce the number of possible withdrawals during the training courses. The selection of the training companies will be done by a Board (one in Skopje and the other in Tetovo) consisting of representatives from IOM, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Agency for Employment and NGOs representatives. Advantage will be given to economically feasible companies that will present sustainable training programme and that will oblige to offer an employment contract to those beneficiaries that will successfully attend and complete the training process.

101 The project is co-funded by structural funds (ESF) and has led to some 1.338 successful beneficiaries in terms of training and supportive services and 34 entrepreneurs.

102 The programme may reach up to 22.000 beneficiaries.

103 (79) persons have been successfully employed.

104 The draft programme supports Roma competitiveness and standing in the Roma business. See MG-S-ROM (2010)3 prov, p.24.

105 Over 50 employment and enterprise positions were created and over 150 training positions.

106 The internship programme was initiated by the Department of Finance.

107 Vocational guidance – Transition pathways for Sinti and Roma (work transition pathways for nomads), co-funded by the ESF, 2007-2013. The project had a limited period (8-12/2008) and a total of 44 beneficiaries.

108 The programme is considered as one of the Government’s most important measures for reducing poverty.

109 In 2004 some 282 Roma ethnics were trained whereas 1.500 Roma ethnics had been scheduled for training during 2005 out of which 381 persons had been included in training courses by 31 May. Minor fluctuations of Roma Assistants occurred from time to time during the implementation of the project. Some of them either found other employment, or they concluded that this kind of work did not correspond to their personality.

110 Under a ESF tender, published by the Ministry for Education and Sports, a new project aiming at the establishment of Roma Mentors/Roma Assistants was initiated in 2008. The project is managed and carried out by a Roma organisation (Roma Union of Slovenia) and has employed more than 30 Roma assistants who mediate between the Roma community and the educational institutions. Their task engages assistance to children in preschool institutions and primary schools in understanding the Slovenian language, achieving quality knowledge, the fighting against prejudices and cooperation with Roma parents. Roma assistants themselves get education and training in the Roma language, history and culture. The project was nominated for 2010 RegioStars awards of the European Commission and received a special reference from the jury. The project of successful integration of Roma children into education will continue after 2011 (2nd cycle of ESF call for tenders will be announced probably in 2011).

111 The Roma and their Long Journey to the Labour Market. A Research of the Ways to Promote the Placement of the Roma in the Labour Market.

112 Ritva Anttonen, “The prejudices and discrimination faced by the Finnish Roma entrepreneurs, Jyväskylä Studies in Business and Economics 79.

113 http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Traveller_Policy_Unit. Further reporting on Travellers education is available at www.education.ie/servlet/blobservlet/des_recom_traveller_educ_strategy.pdf.

114 “Poklicno informiranje in svetovanje za Rome” (Vocational guidance and counselling for Roma/Vocational guidance and counselling for Roma) – PISR, 2006, Nada Žagar and Vera Klopčič editors, Črnomelj: Institute for Education and Culture [Zavod za izobraževanje in kulturo].



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