Video message for the event “Towards zero segregation in education in Europe” (Romani Week)

(Source: European Commission)

“Check against delivery”

Dear colleagues,

Our Europe is founded on solid values: solidarity, inclusion, equal rights for all.

But segregation goes against those values.

Segregation is unequal access. And segregation in education is perpetuating inequalities and discrimination.

So I fully support this essential goal of zero segregation in European education. And I am delighted to associate myself to this event.

We are currently negotiating the new cohesion programmes. And are asking Member States to include clear commitments to non-discrimination, and to desegregation, in line with the objectives agreed in: the EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation 2020-2030 and the corresponding Council Recommendations; as well the EU Anti-Racism action plan 2020-2025.

Segregated settings strengthen the isolation of marginalized groups, contribute to unequal access to mainstream, inclusive and high-quality services and sustain or even aggravate the disadvantaged position of marginalized groups.

Through Cohesion policy we are supporting inclusion and desegregation. For instance, in Bulgaria we supported the movement of 350 children from a local segregated school to mainstream schools. In Romania, we invested in the skills development of teachers and in after-school activities. In Spain, we financed 400 social houses to move families from segregated areas.

And in future, we will redouble our efforts. We are committed but this is going to be a long journey. We cannot undo centuries of discrimination with the wave of a legislator’s pen. It will require commitment and hard work on the ground over the coming years.

We are encouraging Member States to monitor progress with specific desegregation targets and indicators. And for all of this, we need you. We need your work and contacts on the ground. Our investments have a partnership requirement, which we will use to encourage programmers, to work closely with stakeholders, such as National Roma Contact Points, bodies promoting fundamental rights and equality, NGOs, and community representatives.

This will be a journey but we are fully committed. With our investments, and your work and know-how, I believe we can make a difference.

I wish you a fruitful discussion!

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