A three-day forum organized by the Fundamental Rights Agency began yesterday in Vienna to convene leading European and global players to discuss the protection and promotion of fundamental rights. MEP Lívia Járóka, Vice-President of the European Parliament talked about the possible economic integration of the poorest people of Europe.
During the panel entitled "Ensuring Social Rights through Equal Opportunities and Access to the Labour Market", the Vice-President explained: although the improved income situation of households reduced the number of people at risk of poverty, the target of the EU2020 Strategy to lift at least 20 million people out of poverty between 2008 and 2020 remains unachieved. Although many jobs have been created since the crisis, these are mainly higher-paid engineering and management positions, while in the meantime most of the jobs lost were in mid-paid blue-collar production, mainly in industry, manufacturing, agriculture and construction – the sectors where most of the people with low-level education work.
In Europe’s disadvantaged regions, millions of people still live in poverty, including many Roma. Thus, the new European Roma Strategy is to focus on job creation and the related vocational training that can be channelled into local business. Local energy use, green economy, renewable energy and local products in agriculture could help small and medium-sized businesses to stimulate still-standing economic growth at the lagging regions. MEP Lívia Járóka emphasized that public employment in Hungary is a temporary solution, a very important tool however for disadvantaged people to enter the primary labour market. Complex settlement development projects and social enterprises are all important factors for people in poverty.
MEP Járóka finally emphasised that the inclusion projects and the new Roma strategy should necessarily apply a holistic approach. A sophisticated monitoring system should / will be created and new trends, such as digitization, taken into account. Based on the bottom-up concept, locals should be more involved in the strategy making and its implementation. Furthermore, early childhood education and the strengthening of the race equality directive should be essential factors when creating the new Roma strategy.