Is there a way for EU structural funds to be more accessible for Roma projects?

“Getting grants from Europe is difficult even for highly educated people. It requires a complex knowledge of how the system works. You need networks and a formal organisation: isolated Roma groups here don’t have any of those.” - Angela Kocze, Hungarian Roma activist.

Is there a way for EU structural funds to be more accessible for Roma projects?

Yes because... No because...

Structural funds can be used better

“I have always regarded structural funds as the main motor for dealing with the Roma issue in Europe. It is a pot of money that is independent of electoral cycles, so it can be put to use in ways national money cannot. But I think it can be used better.” - George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations.

The FT looked at European Funds and if memory serves me right identified that the main issue was lack of bid writers (people able to write the bids), a lot of money has been invested by regions and universities across Europe to develop networks, but the problem is a lack of bid writers.

The Structural funds are expected to provide additionality to member state initiatives. If there are no national initiatives there can be no additionality.

Networks - anyone asked the 'older' member states national delegations in the Embassies for a visit from NGO's from their country (UK, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Ireland, Greece) tend to be quite good to discuss share experiences, .. and networks.

Is there a way for EU structural funds to be more accessible for Roma projects?

Yes because... No because...

Bureaucracy and know how should be revisited

The actual implementation mechanism forces implementors to spend more time in offices drafting reports and centralising invoices than in communities where the problems lie and where the benneficiaries would need assistance. On another note, the level of expertise and the institutionalisation of Roma NGOs is low. The interest of local public institutions in Roma issues is low to none, thus the involvement of Roma NGOs and their strenghtening is an imperative. I invite NGOs to contribute to the existing consultation on the 5th Cohesion report of the European Commission, a document which lies at the foundation of the programming for the next multi-annual period, 2014- 2020, to make sure Roma stay as a priority for funding and that the existing mechanism is revisited to take consideration of the lessons that should be learned from the current implementation period 2007-2013. Cristi Mihalache, ESF- funded project manager, Romania

Debates > Is there a way for EU structural funds to be more accessible for Roma projects?