The European Commission is planning to “brutally” review EU funding for anti-discrimination programming under suspicions that some of the funds might be wasted. There have been cases when EU funding was used for “requalification” programs to train Roma people. The review aims to make sure that a new strategy for protecting Roma populations after 2020 is effective and efficient.
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said that the Commission would begin, starting in January 2018, to look into how the funds are being set aside for anti-discrimination programs. The 2014-2020 anti-discrimination budget totaled more than €42 billion. “We will assess brutally the efficiency of EU funding,” Commissioner Jourova promised. “It cannot work without helping them to get a job and helping them to keep a job. It’s about wasted trust of people. This is not only about money,” she added. Ms. Jourova was a Czech minister for regional policy before she became an EU Commissioner in 2014 and since then has been often criticized for misusing EU funds.
In 2011, the EU executive launched a multifaceted strategy to counter discrimination against Roma people and improve their living standards. EU member states have since then set up their own national programs with the same goal. Despite these EU-wide efforts, more than 80% of Roma people in the EU are at risk of poverty and the conditions regarding housing, healthcare and education are still insufficient in many EU member states. Commissioner Jourova also said that she was considering potential further action against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia over their discrimination against Roma children in schools. The EU opened lawsuits against the trio in 2014.