The role of the Union in integrating the Roma: present and possible future
De Schutter O
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The paper describes the important contribution Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin has made to improve the situation of the Roma in the Union. It also highlights, however, the insufficiencies of that instrument, when confronted to the specific needs of the Roma and to their situation in the Union. The paper therefore suggests that Article 13(1) EC could be relied upon by the European legislator either to improve further on that Directive, for instance in order to extend its scope of application to the delivery of administrative documents, in order to explicitly include segregation as a form of prohibited discrimination, or in order to adopt another instrument, complementary to the Racial Equality Directive, addressing in a more focused manner the specific needs of the Roma, while remaining attentive to the preservation of their traditional lifestyle for those wishing not to renounce it, and ensuring that such a measure is based on a consultation of the Roma themselves. Article 13(2) EC could be relied upon to encourage the Member States to share the best practices they are developing in order to accelerate the integration of the Roma, and to monitor, better and more systematically than they do at present, the situation of the Roma in fields such as housing, education, employment, or health care, where the Roma are not specifically considered in the national action plans or the social inclusion plans of most Member States at present.