The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of the European Union at a meeting today adopted conclusions on "An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020", inviting the member states to pursue goals in the fields of education, employment, healthcare and housing, so as to close the gaps between marginalised Roma communities and the general population.
It is proposed that National strategies or integrated sets of policy measures be drawn up by the Member States by the end of 2011. They are also invited to consider the need to advance the social and economic inclusion of Roma when designing, implementing and monitoring their National Reform Programmes in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy. More specifically, the member states are required to improve access to quality services in the fields of education and healthcare, as well as access to housing and employment. Integrated action covering all four priority areas is needed and the member states should pay special attention to the gender dimension and promote desegregation.
In order to do improve the situation, the member states have been invited to set achievable national goals, to identify the most disadvantaged micro-regions or segregated communities, to allocate sufficient funding from national budgets, to cooperate closely with Roma civil society and regional and local authorities, and to appoint national contact points. In addition, together with the Commission, they are invited to make better use of the EU funds available for Roma integration projects.
The inclusion of Roma is considered an urgent social priority, as about 8 million citizens of the EU are Roma. Many experience marginalisation, social exclusion, discrimination, segregation and extreme poverty. This often means limited access to quality education and jobs, low income levels, sub-standard housing conditions, insufficient access to quality services, poor health and lower life expectancy.
The total population of the European Union is generally stated to be 500million, so what we are talking about here is 'loads of wonga' being spent on just over 6% of the total population, a number who by their chosen way of life exhibit no apparent wish to integrate into the societies in which they live. Needless to say there is no mention of cost to member states nor where member states are meant to find the additional funds with which to implement these programmes.
Interpreting EU phraseology is fairly straightforward and the phrase "member states are invited to pursue certain goals" translates into English as "member states will pursue certain goals".
More of our money to be spent on a policy area which is out of our control.
Whilst on the subject of what one might call idiotic schemes, Open Europe has acquired a copy of the draft Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), one which would appear to contain a contradiction. It states:
"The liability of each ESM Members shall be limited, in all circumstances, to its portion of the authorized capital at its issue price. No ESM Member shall be liable, by reason of its membership, for obligations of the ESM. The obligations of ESM Members to contribute to capital in accordance with this Treaty are not affected if such ESM Member becomes eligible for or is receiving financial assistance from ESM."
Later this appears:
"If an ESM Member fails to meet the required payment under a capital call…a revised increased capital call shall be made to all ESM Members with a view to ensuring that the ESM receives the total amount of paid-in capital needed."
Unless I have misread it, the first extract is stating that no member state will be asked to cover the lack of funding caused by non-provision of same by another, yet the second is stating that should any member state(s) fail to contribute their share of the package then all the remaining member states will have to cover that shortfall.
Admittedly I do not profess to be an economist, however this draft treaty would seem to be a recipe for disaster as it would seem that all that has been created is a never-ending bailout fund, one that will be needed as no state or country can control the financial markets when that state or nation is brought to its knees by politicians following crass financial incompetence (Brown), excessive war-mongering (Blair) or just plain 'off-their-trolley' policy decisions (Cameron, Clegg and MiliE).
No wonder those five aforementioned madmen were/are so keen to maintain their place in the lunatic asylum!