Roma entrepreneurship: a possible solution to labour market discrimination and exclusion?

8 June 2017, Brussels
​The European Roma Information Office (ERIO), in cooperation with the European Economic Social Committee and with the support of DG Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality of the European Commission, is organising a conference “Roma entrepreneurship: a possible solution to labour market discrimination and exclusion?” which will be held on 8 June 2017 at the European Economic Social Committee, 74 rue de Treves, 1040 Brussels (room TRE 7701 (7th floor), from 09:00-16:15.

Roma encounter various forms of discrimination in Europe and many continue to face a higher risk of unemployment compared to non-Roma. As the FRA studies[1] reveal, Roma unemployment rates are three times higher than non-Roma. Employment rates among Roma women are even lower and the young Roma, in particular find themselves in dire circumstance. Rampant unemployment breeds a cycle of poverty and ultimately represents a terrible waste of human potential. The current economic situation adds additional obstacles to Roma’s equal access to employment, including an increase in racism and discrimination in Europe.

The current context calls for innovative approaches to guarantee Roma’s right to equally participate in the labour market. This can be achieved by means of entrepreneurship. Although Roma entrepreneurship has received insufficient attention, it would help reach some of the Europe 2020 Strategy targets by combatting unemployment by creating new jobs. It could also provide an avenue to circumvent discrimination in the labour market, and empower Roma by allowing them to no longer depend on discriminatory employment structures and employers, and on short-term projects and initiatives that aim to facilitate their social inclusion. As stated in the 2013 Council Recommendation, member states should take measures “supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship” within Roma communities. This recognises the potential of such measures to promote the equal participation of Roma in the labour market.

The aims of the conference are to:
  • Explore the potential of Roma entrepreneurship as a tool for Roma’s empowerment and equal access to employment
  • Provide a platform for participants to exchange information and ideas about good practices and to discuss possible challenges and solutions concerning Roma entrepreneurship
  • Enhance a multi-sectorial and multi-dimensional approach to Roma inclusion by involving more key stakeholders, such as businesses and the financial sector
[1] FRA (2014) Poverty and employment: the situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States; FRA EU-MIDIS II (2016)
For registration or any other queries, please contact: - Tel: +32 (2) 733 3462
Registration is open until 31 May at 12:00 (Brussels time).
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