120 million poor Europeans await economic integration

2018. 09. 26.

Press release by Lívia Járóka

The forum of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights kicked off yesterday in Vienna, where leading European and international experts discuss the protection and promoting of fundamental rights. At the meeting Lívia Járóka, Vice-President of the European Parliament, talked about the possible economic integration of the EU’s poorest groups.

Speaking at the panel discussion entitled “Ensuring social rights through equal opportunities and access to the labour market,” Járóka explained that even though the improved income situation of households reduced the number of people at risk of poverty, the objective of the EU2020 strategy, aimed at lifting 20 million people out of poverty between 2008 and 2020, has still not been fulfilled. Since the crisis a good number of new jobs have been created, but these were primarily highly qualified management or engineering positions, while many jobs have disappeared in favour of medium- or low-skilled (E.g. industry, agriculture) laborers.

Millions of people are living in poverty in Europe’s disadvantaged regions, including a large proportion of Roma people. Therefore, the new European Roma Strategy should focus on job creation and related vocational education. With the help of local energy use, green economy, renewable energy or local agricultural products, small and medium enterprises could give a new impetus to economic growth. She also highlighted that public employment in Hungary is only a temporary solution that significantly contributes to the inclusion of disadvantaged people in the primary labour market’s circulation. Both complex, municipal development programs and social enterprises are important factors for disadvantaged people living in poverty.

A holistic approach is required for the social convergence projects and the New Roma Strategy, Lívia Járóka added. A detailed monitoring system should be established and tendencies, like digitalization should also be taken into consideration. According to the so-called bottom-up principle, it is crucial to involve local people in planning and implementation. In addition, the strengthening of early childhood education and the Race Equality Directive should also be an important factor in developing the New Roma Strategy.