Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 16-05-2013

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the Round-table meeting with European Commission
On 15th May ERIO participated at a meeting in the main building of the  European Commission initiated by Vice-President Viviane and Commissioner on Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights and Laszlo Andor Commissioner on Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. The meeting was attended by other  key European level networks and  media. The meeting was aiming at consultation with civil society on the process of the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) before the adoption of the Commission progress report later this year.
The two Commissioners presented the implementation of their commitments and their work with Member States and invited civil society organizations to provide them with feedback on NRIS implementation. Vice-President Reding stated: “
“…we have the impression sometimes that paper is nice, but the reality grass-roods is looking different. That is why we are grateful to you that you have come, because we need to know from you, who have the experience of  NGOs caring for Roma to tell us what are the discrepancies, what are the proposal which the Member states put into their NRIS and the real actions on the ground…”.

Further Ms. Reding  said: “…Why the EU funds are not used to make this integration work…it is not only about to put fingers into what does not work, I think we should also put on the very many positive actions which are taken. I always believe of what Ministers can do something which students must  not do, Minister can copy. If something has been invented and integrated in the Member state which is working, why it couldn’t be taken up in the other Member states in order to make it work…”.

Commissioner Andor  stated: “… the European Framework strategy of two years ago I believe is an important one and has the advantage to create a link with the European 2020 Strategy… through which we were able to clarify what we want to exactly achieve in the economic and social development of Roma communities but because  subsequently the Commission developed a long term budget to be implemented in Member states on the 2020 strategy, so we also gain some instruments . And of course how these instruments , the governance from one side with the recommendations to the Member states and from the other side the financial instruments , how all this works. It  needs  to be perfected through the process and your constant feedback is very important for us to  make the further steps…”.
Civil society representatives expressed their concerns regarding the high level discrimination Roma face in Europe and the need of urgent consultations of the Commission and Member states.

ERIO’s Director Ivan Ivanov in his intervention stressed that “…Member states which demonstrate political will they mainly consider Roma as poor people and marginals and all their efforts are in direction to improve the material condition of Roma. It is true that Roma are the largest group among the poorest communities in Europe but  not all Roma are marginals, and  all Roma face discrimination regardless of their socio-economic status. This is why Member states should make sure that Race Directive is part of different policy fields such as education, employment, health and housing. Focusing on improvement the socio-economic situation of Roma requires funding and now in a situation of crises is easy for Member states to justify of why they don’t do anything on Roma’s real integration. Commission should make sure that Member states use effectively all available instruments including EU funds…”.

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?sitelang=en&ref=I078141

OTHER news

* Begging is not rooted in Roma traditions, but in poverty
Press Release by MEP Lívia Járóka
On the invitation of Philippe Moureaux, Chairman of the Belgian Senate's Internal Affairs Committee, MEP Lívia Járóka participated at a hearing on human trafficking and begging with children. In her speech she reminded of the necessity of transposing the EU directive on human trafficking and emphasized that begging was not rooted in Roma traditions but in poverty and social exclusion.

In connection with a new legal proposition, the Belgian Senate held a hearing today on human trafficking and begging with children. On the invitation of Philippe Moureaux, Chairman of the Belgian Senate's Internal Affairs Committee, MEP Lívia Járóka, Rapporteur of the EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion participated on the event. In her speech she expressed her gratitude towards the Belgian EU presidency for the preparation of the a EU Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and expressed her view that the proposal in question could contribute not only to the full transposition of the directive, but also to the better early identification and protection of victims. Járóka reminded that the directive extended the definition of trafficking so that it also covered exploitation for forced labour, including begging.

Read more here

Further information: Office of MEP Lívia Járóka: +32-228-47218
* Nationalists cash in on Bulgarians' unhappiness
by Sam Cage, Reuters, May 13, 2013

Sofia, 13/05/2013 - A Bulgarian nationalist party which has protested against the Roma minority and wants to nationalize foreign-owned firms has emerged as a kingmaker from an election on Sunday by tapping into voters' disillusionment with mainstream politicians.

Volen Siderov, leader of Attack, stepped up rhetoric and populist pledges to improve the lives of poor Bulgarians after the previous government resigned in February in the face of demonstrations and self-immolations.

Read more here
* Norwegian MP tars Bulgarian, French and Romani people with the same brush
by ROMEA

Oslo, Norway, 8/05/2013 - Agence France-Presse reported on Friday, 3 May that an MP with the second-strongest party in the Norwegian Parliament, the populist “Progress Party”, has called for the monarchy to close its borders to “organized groups of Roma, Bulgarians and Frenchmen”, labeling them notorious criminals. MP Per Sandberg, whose party scores political points through its anti-immigrant rhetoric in particular, proposed taking “three immediate steps to stop the influx of beggars and criminals” into the country.

Read more here
* Roma representatives from 5 countries work to promote Roma rights
by Daniel Petrovski

04/05/2013 - Roma parliamentary representatives from Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia have signed a declaration about a collaboration on the enforcement of Roma rights at a national and local level. 
Roma parliamentary representatives from neighboring countries joined in an inter-parliamentary organization which will work on the improvement of the Roma situation at the local level. Roma members of parliament from Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Croatia have took on the challenge to tackle the problems of local Roma communities and advance their rights. The first official assembly of this group was organized by the Serbian Parliament. On this occasion, the representatives signed a declaration that establishes an inter-parliamentary group for protection of Roma rights.

Read more here
* Declaration of Roma Interparliamentary Organization
by Tanjug

Belgrade, 07/05/2013 - The first meeting of the Roma Interparliamentary Organization, held on Tuesday, resulted in the signing of a declaration.It defined the goals of the organization towards full inclusion of the Roma in all aspects of social life.

The declaration was signed at the Serbian parliament in Belgrade by Roma parliament members from Serbia, Macedonia, Slovakia, Croatia and Bulgaria, while the creation of the document also included Roma MPs from Romania.
The declaration says the legitimacy of the organization is based on the legitimacy of the fair and direct election of its members by the people, as well as on the democratic principles they will adhere to in their work.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* Roma participation, empowerment and participation
The conference explores how local, national, and European organizations can promote greater involvement of Roma persons and communities in decisions and policies affecting their lives. How to go beyond exerting external pressure on governments in order to overcome the historical marginalization of Roma and to facilitate their substantive participation and empowerment. What are the preconditions for the emergence of a strong and autonomous Roma civil society? Particular attention is paid to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, the local implementation of national strategies, and concrete examples of empowerment.

Venue: Corvinus University Budapest, Közraktár utca 4-6. (the new building of the university), room C V.
Date: 31 May 2013   You can register by 24 May here
Homepage: http://romaempowerment.wordpress.com
* Open Society Fellowship
The Open Society Fellowship was founded in 2008 to support individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges. The fellowship funds work that will enrich public understanding of those challenges and stimulate far-reaching and probing conversations within the Open Society Foundations and in the world.
A fellowship project might identify a problem that has not previously been recognized, develop new policy ideas to address familiar problems, or offer a new advocacy strategy. Project themes should cut across at least two areas of interest to the Open Society Foundations. Among these are human rights, government transparency, access to information and to justice, and the promotion of civil society and social inclusion.

Application Deadline: August 1, 2013

Read more here
* Roma Memorial University Scholarship Program
The REF Scholarship Program (REF SP) offers open merit–based competition academic scholarships for Roma students pursuing Bachelor, Master, or Doctorate degrees at state-accredited universities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine. In order to assist the interested candidates to successfully complete and submit their Online Application Form (OAF), REF SP provides scholarship scheme-specific information and guidelines on eligibility and selection criteria as indicated below.
The REF Online Application System (OAS), in use since 2011, allows the interested Roma students to apply in an efficient and interactive mode. It provides the registered users with e-based prompt feedback on the compliance with Program’s eligibility requirements as well as regarding the status of submission of the Online Application Form (OAF). The scholarship cycle for the 2013 - 2014 academic year is now opened to interested candidates, who may apply in accordance with Program’s guidelines.

How to apply and more information about deadlines and guidelines here
*  ERIO is currently looking for interns
We are looking for interns to start their internship from September 2013. If you are interested in an unpaid internship, please send your CV and a motivation letter stating your interest for this internship as well as your availability to:  office@erionet.eu.
You can find out more here:  http://www.erionet.eu/internship.htm
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