The first institutional roundtable on the topic of ‘Opinions on Positive Action’ took place on 3 April 2017 in Brussels. The roundtable was funded with the support of the Rights Equality and Citizenship Programme in collaboration with the Center for Social Responsibility in the Digital Age (SRDA) and the ‘Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism in education and employment in EU’ (PAL) JUST/2014/RDIS/AG/DISC/8115 project. The roundtable brought together representatives from the European Commission (coming from DG JUST, DG DEVCO, SG, DG COMP, DG SANTE), the European External action Service, representatives from civil society (NGOs at the national and European level such as Equinet, ERGO network, Eurodiakonia, Rom en Rom, Cmgv and PAL network members) and professionals from the private sector. In total there were 21 participants.
The participants had the chance to discuss the topic of ‘Opinions of Positive Action’ which aimed to explore different aspects of positive action measures, the relevant EU legal framework and case-law, protected groups and beneficiaries, examples of positive action measures and different perceptions across Europe. This issue was discussed in particular in view of the challenges faced by members of the Roma community with regard to their rights to access education and employment. The goal was to extract some useful conclusion as regards the possibility of using positive action measures under the conditions set out by EU law and the case-law of the Court of Justice, in order to offset some of the disadvantages which the Roma people have suffered in relation to access to employment and education.