Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO, AMALIPE and SASTIPEN organised a hearing “EU Funds for Roma health integration”
On Monday 16 March 2015, ERIO organized a hearing “EU funds for Roma health integration” together with AMALIPE Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance and Roma Centre for Public Health Policies SASTIPEN in the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. The event was attended by MEP Damian Draghici; representatives of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee; managing authorities of ESF, ERDF and EAFRD funded programmes in member states; representatives of Norwegian FM, Swiss Contribution and several NGOs.
The aim of the hearing was to draw attention to the healthcare as an integral part of Roma integration policy and to discuss the possible financing of a health integration via EU funds (ESF, ERDF and EAFRD), Norwegian FM / EEA FM and Swiss Contribution. During the event the practice in Spain, Bulgaria and Romania drafted into the concept paper about the usage of EU funds for Roma health integration was presented and followed by the reflection of participants´ views towards these matters.
Ivan Ivanov, ERIO’s Executive Director, opened the hearing by pointing out the success based on the adoption of an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, which was further transformed into National Roma Integration Strategies. Mr Ivanov does not prioritize among the goals of the Framework (access to education, employment, healthcare and housing) claiming that their implementation should be conducted in parallel. However, access to healthcare is crucial, particularly considering the fact that Roma´s life expectancy is 12-17 years lower in comparison to the majority population´s. He referred to the fact that every second Roma in Bulgaria and Slovakia fights with a chronic disease; in many member states there is even a higher incidence of tuberculosis among Roma. Besides, the common practice of segregated departments in hospitals located in some member states indicates the difference in treatment of Roma patients by medical personal.
Mr Ivanov shared also his own experience; during his visit of a local hospital in Czech Republic he saw a sign hanging on a door, which stated “Do not approach Roma people or people who are coughing in order to lower the risk of tuberculosis”. On this example he demonstrated the presence of racism, which has been leading to the health exclusion of Roma. In order to improve the health status of Roma as well as their access to healthcare we need to combat racism and co-operate with all the stakeholders on European, national, regional and local level.
* ERIO at the 9th European Roma Platform
On 16-17 March 2015, ERIO attended the 9th European Platform for Roma Inclusion organised by the European Commission in Brussels. The meeting gathered more than 200 participants including representatives from Roma civil society, international organisations, academics, local and regional authorities, government officials and EU representatives. The focus of the 2015 Platform was on three topics: a) fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism, b) enhancing multi-stakeholder cooperation and c) debating the way forward for the European Platform for Roma Inclusion.
The meeting aimed to provide a space for reflection on how to make better use of existing tools to improve the daily lives of Roma on the ground and how multi-stakeholder cooperation at local, national and European level can be improved. The first day included two thematic workshops: “Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism” and “Enhancing multi-stakeholder cooperation”.  The second day included a political debate with ministers, deputy ministers, MEPs and Roma civil society representatives.
Commissioner for Justice and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová focused on anti-Gypsyism highlighting the fact, that this phenomenon is not shared only by individuals but in many cases by local and national authorities.  She expressed her view on the Platform, which should bring possible solutions to problems faced by Roma. Commissioner Jourová emphasised the need to work on the grassroots level by implementing the Roma policies on the local level. She mentioned the budget problem linked with the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS), but pointed out that the framework for European Structural and Investment funds has never before been so favourable to Roma integration and member states should use these allocated funds.
In the workshop “Fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism” participants identified anti-Gypsyism as a root cause of Roma marginalisation and expressed the view that unless it will be institutionally recognised there will be no improvement on the ground. In the workshop “Enhancing multi-stakeholder cooperation” participants stressed the need to link legal   and   policy measures addressing social   exclusion   and discrimination as well as to set up  multi-stakeholder cooperation platforms gathering local  and  national  actors and establishing connections to the European level.
The key conclusions of the Platform were:
There is a need to overcome the lack of trust between the different stakeholders by establishing National Platforms holding debates on more frequent basis; the role of National Roma Contact Points strengthening the debate;National Roma Platforms should be more thematic;Importance of the shadow reporting on the situation on the ground;The involvement of the Equality Bodies and trade unions was highlighted. 

Useful links:
Report from the Platform
Event mini-website


OTHER news

* EU can no longer 'turn a blind eye' to victims of discrimination
By Michaël Privot

Solutions exist to combat discrimination in the EU, but their implementation will require 'political courage', writes Michaël Privot.

19/03/2015 - 55 years ago, on 21 March, 69 black individuals who were peacefully demonstrating for equality and against apartheid laws were killed for their involvement in the event. This date has since been declared the "international day for the elimination of racial discrimination", in remembrance of the harmful impact of racism on individuals and communities. Today, it is more important than ever to seize this opportunity to take stock of progress - or lack thereof - in combating racial discrimination in Europe. There is unfortunately little to celebrate for the 60 million EU citizens and residents who face racism and discrimination on a daily basis.
For ethnic and religious minorities in Europe, including black people, Roma, Muslims, Jews and migrants from non-EU countries, discrimination continues to be a major obstacle in many areas of life - whether when looking for a job, accommodation, in education or when seeking access to justice. Not to mention daily incidents of racist violence - from 'trivial' jibes to violent physical attacks.
Read more here
* Council of Europe says there are still too many Romani children in the Czech "special schools"
By ČTK, mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

12/03/2015 - The proportion of Romani pupils in "special schools" continues to be disproportionately high in the Czech Republic, but measures seeking to introduce inclusive education - the enrollment of all children into mainstream schools - could bring about positive change. Those are the findings adopted by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers today.
The Council of Europe body, which brings together member state ambassadors, annually evaluates how Prague has been implementing a European Court of Human Rights judgment on this issue from 2007. The court condemned the Czech Republic for discriminating against Romani children by assigning them to "special schools".
Read more here
* Amnesty International: Slovakia's 'container schools' worsen segregation of Roma children from society
By Barbora Černušáková

13/03/2015 - For the villages of north-eastern Slovakia’s Kežmarok district, nestled beneath the snow-capped High Tatra Mountains, winter can be icy cold. On a recent visit it wasn’t the weather that sent shivers down our spines, but the grim reality that many Romani children are still being segregated in local schools.
We returned to five villages in the region last week after a previous visit in 2012 to see if anything had changed for Romani residents there, three years after a landmark judgment found that a school in Slovakia discriminated against Romani children by segregating them from their classmates. Sadly, the only change has been from bad to worse.
Read more here
* MEP indulges in anti-Roma rhetoric during Italian TV show

11/03/2015 - The Support Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma issues rejects without reservation comments made earlier this month by Lega Nord MEP Gianluca Buonanno, during the Italian TV show Piazza pulita broadcasted on La7.
MEP Buonanno indulged in hate speech against Roma and their representative during the programme, Ms Dijana Pavlovic, President of the Roma and Sinti Federation and National Project Officer for ROMED and ROMACT Joint Programmes of the European Commission and the Council of Europe. Statements that he made including “Gypsies are the dregs of the society” hardly contribute to fostering useful dialogue in addressing Roma issues.
Read more here
* European platform for Roma inclusion - The Way forward
16-17 March 2015 in Brussels, Belgium
The European Platform for Roma inclusion is a forum for concerted thinking and discussion of all relevant stakeholders for the integration of Roma people in Europe. It aims to contribute to making both European and national policies more sensitive to Roma needs.
The meeting of the European Roma Platform on 16 and 17 March 2015 had two aims. On the one hand, it provided the possibility for operational level discussions among all types of stakeholders of Roma integration on topics that are considered as particularly relevant for the way forward for Roma integration policies and practices. On the other hand, it reflected the policy commitment and the high position of Roma integration on the EU Member States' national political agendas. Based on the operational-level and policy reflections, this meeting should contribute in setting the agenda for the future steps of the European Platform for Roma inclusion. 
On the first day parallel workshops provided the possibility for participatory and interactive operational level discussions among all stakeholders of Roma integration. The following day brought about two political panels and a subsequent interactive plenary discussion on the future of the platform.

Read more here
* Europe must tackle anti-Gypsyism by moving forward with the Anti-discrimination Directive - European Public Health Alliance

Brussels, 17/03/2015 – EU leaders must show commitment to Roma integration by reaching agreement on the long awaited Anti-Discrimination Directive to tackle the factors that trap the Roma population in a vicious circle of ill-health. This is the key message that a coalition of four organisations sent to Commissioner Vĕra Jourová, responsible both for Roma integration and anti-discrimination policies, as key Roma actors gather in Brussels to discuss the challenges of Roma integration in Europe.
Policy-makers, together with the Roma community, need to design effective programmes to make sure that Roma people across Europe do not have to endure discrimination in education, employment, housing and health. At the European Platform for Roma Inclusion, Roma people are calling for support to become healthier and more productive members of society.
Read more here


* Urgent: Film Maker Volunteer at European Roma Information Office (ERIO)

Starting date: ASAP
Duration: May-June 2015 (approximately 5 days)
Salary: None – volunteer post
Location: Brussels
Closing date of application: 15 May 2015 at 12:00 (CET)
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is looking for a volunteer to participate in a short documentary to be filmed in the context of a European project which aims to improve Roma inclusion in primary schools across Europe. The documentary will consist of several small scenes picturing individuals, Roma and non-Roma, discussing every day topics such as school, sports, family/marriage, food and/or work. The scenes will be filmed in Brussels.

Although this is an unpaid position, the volunteer will have the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience as he/she will be involved with every stage of the pre-production of the documentary (including filming and editing). This will also be a great opportunity for the volunteer to network with other European professionals and film makers from the UK, Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria and to gain practical knowledge of the development of European level projects.
Contact us