The matter of social cohesion in Romania’s public policies is based on the reference document National Strategy on Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction 2015-2020, which defines vulnerable groups and proposes social and economic measures to stimulate the inclusion and to increase the social cohesion. Starting from this document, the Strategy for Culture and National Heritage 2016-2020 proposes as general objective the “boosting of cultural interventions for vulnerable groups”. This Strategy supports the priority funding of projects and programmes of public and private cultural operators that aim at:
- “carrying out cultural interventions dedicated to vulnerable groups;
- supplying cultural services adapted to the individual needs of disabled people;
- raising awareness on the problems of vulnerable groups and valorising their cultural expressions, inclusively by mass media and ICT channels;
- providing conditions of access to culture for people with disabilities;
- promoting the cultural offer (adapted formats included) among the vulnerable groups;
- facilitating the access to cultural events for vulnerable categories;
- access to culture and education in prisons, correctional and special schools of Romania;
- ensuring opportunities of artistic and cultural expression for the young with limited economic resources, who are prone to social marginalisation, as well as for youth with disabilities (according to the National Strategy on Youth Policy, 2015-2020);
- developing the professional skills of the personnel within public cultural institutions in the field of activities with vulnerable groups.”
Regarding the Roma population, the census of 2002 recorded 535,140 persons, 60.1% of whom living in rural areas. According to the 2011 census, the number of Roma people is 621,573. Other statistics estimate a larger number: for example, the EC monitoring report of 2004 estimated 1.8-2.5 million Roma people. In 2004, according to a study of the World Bank, approximately 74.3% of the Roma population was facing a high risk of social exclusion, as a result of chronic gaps in the economic development, determined by the ongoing discriminatory attitude towards this ethnicity.
The Romanian Government’s Strategy for the inclusion of Romanian citizens belonging to the Roma minority for the period 2015-2020 recognises that “both the cultural policies for the whole population and the elements specific to ethnic minorities are based on several principles, such as: population’s participation in cultural activities, aspiration towards equal access to culture and understanding that the cultural sector may have beneficial economic and social effects when the programs are successful”. In this respect, the strategy proposes a series of action directions and cultural policy-specific measures, whose joint effect is the increase of the degree of inclusion of the Romanian population of Roma ethnicity.
The Governing Programme 2018-2020 provides, in its turn, a strategy based on specific programmes, meant to ensure a substantial improvement of the Roma people’s situation, with special focus on the Roma communities facing extreme poverty. The general plan of action includes:
- Strengthening the structures for the implementation of the national strategy for Roma people at local level;
- Achieving a viable partnership between the structures of the public administration and the Roma communities;
- Solving the problems related to the ownership rights on the lands and lodgings owned by Roma people and implementing rehabilitation programs for the houses in the areas inhabited by Roma people, by means of ensuring electric power, fresh water, sewage, methane gas, sanitation;
- Streamlining the measures focused on sectoral aspects (access to the labour market, promotion of income-generating activities, access to health services, reducing school dropout, promotion of artistic values, creation of civic education programmes, crime prevention).