ERIO and other ERPC members met with the European Commission

by ERIO on July 12th, 2012

On the 9th July 2012, a meeting was held between members of the ERPC and the representatives of the European Commission to discuss the involvement of civil society in the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). All parties aimed to discuss the best method(s) through which to ensure and maintain a continuous dialogue between civil society and the Commission. Throughout the meeting there was a sense of consensus regarding the importance of the involvement of civil society especially during the phase of implementation. The officials of the Commission re-emphasized throughout the course of the meeting, their reliance and need for civil society to notify and inform them of the happenings on the ground. Members of the ERPC also enquired and discussed with the officials of the Commission the best mechanisms with which to exchange information. Some suggestions were put forward, which included establishing national platforms within each member state to enable various layers of civil society to exchange information with other layers within their own member states as well as with their national governments. Another suggestion was the establishment of a platform to enable the Commission to have a dialogue with civil society. EC officials stated that they were in the process of working on this.

Regarding the assessment of the strategies, the EC officials stated that they had requested progress reports from all member states. However, they also emphasized that they had no mandate to oblige member states into submitting neither strategies nor reports. They therefore reiterated the need for civil society to continuously put pressure on their states to maintain a push from below. A brief discussion regarding the management of funds and the capacity of civil society as well as that of local authorities also took place. Some of the participants suggested that the Technical Assistance Funds could be used for capacity building. However, others suggested that in terms of capacity building the Commission should be responsible for civil society alone, and that local authorities be the responsibility of their national governments.

The general tone of the meeting was that of a constructive dialogue between EC officials and those of the ERPC. The Commission in particular expressed their acknowledgement of the necessity of a powerful civil society.


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