This week, a delegation of MEPs from Employment and social affairs committee visited Slovakia to look into the implementation of projects focused on better inclusion of disadvantaged groups.

“The delegation is leaving Slovakia today with mixed feelings. We have seen good examples, such as at Lunik IX in Kosice, where the municipal authorities at all levels cooperate with NGO’s. But we have also seen bad ones.                                                                “We have seen kids that could be the faces of the EU child guarantee that we have for so long fought for. These are exactly the children that need to be pulled out of poverty.          “It is appalling that in the 21st century in the middle of Europe, Roma’s live in such a horrific conditions. The social conditions do not only affect people within the settlements, but also people living in the surroundings. And this clearly is not a social Europe we are trying to build, a social Europe where no one is left behind. And it is incomprehensible why, in such a situation, the Slovak government used only very little of EU funds that were made available for this purpose.                                                                                      “Better social inclusion of disadvantaged Roma communities is a very complex issue. It is about access to education, jobs, healthcare, housing, or even to water. So all the authorities from all the ministries have to cooperate to make the parts of Slovakia with Roma settlements get better.                                                                                                  “But first, we need to deal with overly bureaucratic access to EU funds in Slovakia. All representatives of the municipalities, NGOs and other organisations of civil society we have met, told us this was a problem. But these obstacles were not put in place by the EU, they were designed by Slovak authorities and it is Slovak authorities who must remove them. “We, the members of EP’s EMPL committee, the EP itself as well as the EC are ready to cooperate with Slovak authorities to set up a better, more flexible and more accessible system of the use of EU money, so that the money goes where it is supposed to – to the regions.”. says the chair of the EMPL committee Lucia Duris Nicholsonova, who headed a delegation of five MEPs visiting Kosice in Slovakia this week.

The delegation consisted of the following MEPs:                                                                Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová(Renew, SK), Chair of the EMPL committee; Miriam Lexmann (EPP, SK); Milan Brglez (S&D, SL); Manual Pizarro (S&D, PT

In September 2020, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution calling on the EU to make sure that Roma have equal access to education, health services and housing. The EP demanded strengthened monitoring oversight of the projects aimed at inclusion of Roma that are funded with local, national and EU budgets.                                                       In October 2020, the European Commission joined this call, issuing a reformed EU Strategic Framework for Roma, which sets out a comprehensive approach across three pillars: equality, inclusion, participation.