Weekly news



* ERIO calls on current and future EC and EP to support the human rights of all in the EU
In light of the upcoming 3rd European Roma Summit and the European elections, European Roma Information Office (ERIO) has issued a call to the current and future European Commission and European Parliament with specific requests regarding Roma inclusion and equal treatment.

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* ERIO brochure "Holding us back! Deconstructing stereotypes in Roma/non-Roma relations"
This brochure of European Roma Information Office (ERIO) exposes the stereotypes held by both Roma and Gadje (non-Roma) about one another. It aims to highlight how the stereotypes are often informed by fallacy and a lack of understanding of the other. In showing that both sides hold prejudices which are based on false truths, we can aim for new principles that do not cast the parties as aggressor and victim, but rather encourage everyone to account as dignified human beings with a role to play in transforming European societies.

You can read the brochure here

OTHER news

*  The Third EU Roma Summit in Brussels, 04 April 2014
By ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Progress on Romani minority integration was the main topic of the European Roma Summit today in Brussels. In addition to discussing the situation of Romani integration in the EU Member States, the 500 delegates also focused on the question of financing for integration measures.
European Commission President José Barroso noted during his presentation at the summit today that it is mainly possible to help the Romani minority integrate at local level and will only be possible through long-term efforts. Romanian President Traian Băsescu also openly described the situation of Romani people in his country to the summit.
"Society is only as strong as its weakest link," Barroso emphasized, a statement with which EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding also agreed. The EC representatives reminded those attending the summit that there are EUR 80 billion available for 2014-2010 in the European Social Fund and that at least one-fifth of that amount must be used for the fight against poverty and social exclusion.

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* Steady progress in Roma integration, says Balog at European Roma summit

The integration of Europe’s Roma minority has gained momentum in recent years, Zoltan Balog, Hungary’s human resources minister, told a summit meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Closing the gap between the Roma and mainstream society requires new solutions, achieved through “a straightforward approach which squares up to reality,” Balog said.

In his address, the minister said “the situation should be seen as neither too dark nor too rosy”.

Balog, referring to the Roma slayings in Hungary in 2008-2009, said the state had drawn conclusions and realised the importance of a Roma strategy. He also added that Hungary had passed a law against paramilitary groups associated with anti-minority attitudes.

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* Roma still second class citizens, despite EU efforts

By Nikolaj Nielsen

BRUSSELS - Despite national strategies on Roma integration, many of Europe’s most discriminated minority are still being treated as second-class citizens.

Zoni Weisz, a 77-year old Nazi Holocaust survivor, on Friday (4 April) asked whether history is at risk of repeating itself. “A civilised society respects human rights but still many Roma and Sinti are treated as second class citizens,” Weisz said at the third EU-level Roma summit in Brussels. Weisz, who lost his entire family at Auschwitz concentration camp for being Sinti, warned EU and national governments against producing more piles of paper in their policy efforts to stamp out prejudice against minorities. Problems remain pervasive and elusive for policymakers.

Three years ago, local authorities in Cluj-Napoca evicted Romani families from their homes and pushed them into a ghetto near a toxic waste dump where they remain to this day. A Romanian court declared the eviction illegal but the families have nowhere to turn, according to the Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).

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* EC: Education is the only way out of poverty and exclusion for Roma
By FOCUS News Agency

Brussels, 03/04/2014 - Around 90% of Roma pupils leave school before the completing their studies in Member States such as the Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. In some of these countries, around 50% of Roma children are in segregated schools, a press release of the European Commission reports.

Tomorrow (4 April), Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will discuss what the EU is doing to help address this problem and other issues which affect Roma integration when she takes part in the European Roma Summit in Brussels.
"Providing quality education for all is not only a question of human rights. It is the only way out of poverty and exclusion for millions of Roma. I find it unacceptable that in some countries around half of all Roma pupils are in special schools. We have to join forces to fight segregation and discrimination, including by looking at the way in which schools are funded, set up and operated," said Commissioner Vassiliou ahead of the event.

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* Roma minority lacks political representation Europe

The Roma are Europe's largest transnational ethnic minority. Their political influence, however, is relatively marginal, even in Central and Southeast Europe. Can this be changed?

31/03/2014 - Whether in Serbia or Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania or Hungary, Europe's Roma minority is, for the most part, quite politically marginalized. Even in countries where the Roma have formed a large part of the population for centuries, they play a subordinate and negligible role in political and social life. Dismissed as "gypsies," often persecuted and at best merely tolerated, they are rarely accepted as equal citizens.
It's hardly a surprise then that the Roma are less politically engaged, said Zeljko Jovanovic, director of the Roma Initiatives Office of the Open Society Foundations in Budapest. "We're talking about a minority that is marginalized in every country, excluded from social, political and economic organizations," said Jovanovic, who is himself Roma.
In addition, he said, Roma belong to the poorest segment of society in which they live. "According to UN figures, 40 percent of Roma live on the edge of poverty, and if people are hungry, they're not thinking about politics," he told DW.

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* Recognize Gypsies as ethnic minority group, Vatican prelate suggests
By Catholic World News

04/04/2014 - Gypsies “have the right to be recognized at least as ethnic minorities in the countries where they live since they are the largest minority in the European Union,” the president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants argues.
In a message to a meeting of the International Catholic Committee for Gypsies, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio writes that the gypsies, also known as the Roma people, “need the humanity of the society in which they live in order to fell like members of the human family.”

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* Bulgaria opposition leader: Work and education are the magic key to integration
Sofia, 07/04/2014 - “The magic key to the term integration is found in the words “work” and “education”,” Boyko Borisov, leader of the oppositional Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB) and former prime minister of Bulgaria, said at the opening of the national conference themed “Integration of Roma people in Bulgaria”, which takes place at the National Assembly, FOCUS News Agency reporter said.

“Until there is the word “integration”, it means that something is wrong, i.e. that it is not enough for the so-called Roma society to be given all opportunities that other citizens enjoy. That is why there are events, organised one after the other, aiming to integrate them. When will these events end? When a Roma citizen becomes prime minister, president, minister, member of the parliament – then, this will not be considered an event and such type of conferences will no longer be organised,” Borisov remarked.

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* Ukrainian Roma: We are against separatist tendencies and for a Europe-oriented, united
By mra, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

On the occasion of International Romani Day on 8 April, the leaders of Romani groups from Chop, Perechin, Svaliava, Uzhhorod and Vinohradiv met with guests, journalists and representatives of the regional administration at the Transcarpathian National Minorities Cultural Center. In a joint declaration, the Transcarpathian Romani organizations stated their opposition to manifestations of discrimination and separatist tendencies, expressing their fears of an imminent military invasion.
The Roma expressed their support for a Europe-oriented, united Ukraine. "No one wants war, not in Russia and not in Ukraine. We want to live in a country that will honor the rights of all nationalities enshrined in the Ukrainian Constitution," the joint declaration reads; the meeting ended with a wreath being laid on the surface of the Uzh River and candles being lit to symbolize unity.

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* The socio-economic discrimination of older Roma should be included in Roma integration strategies

On the occasion of the International Roma Day, ERIO and AGE join forces to guide Roma integration policies so that the issue of older Roma is not left out of the equation. Although significant progress has been made in recent years towards a better inclusion of both Roma and older people in Europe, an integrated life-course approach towards older Roma continues to be largely absent in recent policy developments.

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* Improving the Rights of Roma in Italy
An Italian campaign is calling for the closure of "nomad" camps where Roma people are forced to live.

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* Three Ways to Build Upon Roma Progress

The Roma have made progress, but there is much more to be done. These programs with a proven track record can improve on current conditions.

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