The role of the civil society consultations in the post-2020 EU Roma framework
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In 2011, the European Union presented the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020, the first large-scale EU Roma policy to tackle the integration issues of the most marginalized and vulnerable minority in Europe – the Roma minority. The EU aimed to support its Member States in developing, planning, and implementing strategies for the integration of Roma and to tackle their socio-economic exclusion under the common framework. However, even though adopting this framework was a breakthrough in the efforts of Roma integration in Europe (the EU and civil society have long emphasized the need for better Roma inclusion), it could not achieve significant progress in 10 years, which made the EU realize that more work was necessary, and therefore, the EU ended up creating a new framework, which targets are different from the first one. By examining the adoption of the new EU Roma Strategic Framework on equality, inclusion and participation, the current paper analyses why and how the new EU Roma framework is different from the previous one, what the reasons behind these changes are, and specifically, whether these changes were the result of the consultation process, the European Union established with the concerned civil society. Therefore, it aims to emphasize the role civil society had in bringing about the changes in the new EU Roma framework. Semi-structured interviews with six representatives of Roma organizations and the Commission were conducted to examine the changes in the new EU Roma framework and the extent to which the Commission considered the civil society consultations. Also, this study takes a bottom-up approach to public policy implementation and Europeanization theory to emphasize the participation of prominent players in influencing EU Roma inclusion policies.
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