Press release: Meeting with EU Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli

ERGO Network meets European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli to commemorate the Holocaust Remembrance Day and discuss the future of Roma inclusion post 2020

Brussels, 30 January 2020

On 28 January 2020, a delegation of European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network members from EU member states and enlargement countries met with the new European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli to commemorate the Holocaust Remembrance Day, as well as to discuss about the challenges faced by Roma civil society organisations in fighting antigypsyism and advocating for Roma rights and inclusion, and meaningful and participatory post-2020 Roma Strategy.

Helena Dalli“Roma people have been living in Europe for more than 700 years and have massively contributed to the richness of the European heritage. Yet, for centuries, European societies have turned a blind eye to racism and widespread discrimination of Roma people. We have to change that”, Commissioner Dalli committed to the ERGO Network members during this first meeting with Roma civil society representatives of her mandate.

In light of commemorating 27 January 1945, when the Red Army liberated the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz, and in the context of rising right-wing extremism, fighting antigypsyism today in Europe is not an easy task. We need the European Commission to provide a strong and robust post-2020 Roma equality and inclusion strategy that goes beyond the EU, with antigypsyism at its core. It should include minimum standards, be backed by strong Roma and civil society engagement and by funding prioritising Roma rights and wellbeing, to ensure a true and meaningful change of paradigm“, ERGO Network Director Jamen Gabriela Hrabaňová said.

ERGO Network members and Commissioner Dalli discussed future approaches to Roma rights and inclusion, structured around four key dimensions:

  • combating antigypsyism as horizontal and stand-alone priority, in all its forms and manifestations, including through strong legislative measures;
  • a comprehensive, binding, EU Strategy for Roma inclusion that includes enlargement countries on equal footing, with concrete minimum standards and ambitious targets, as well as common monitoring at the EU level;
  • capacity-building, support and channels for Roma civil society to keep their watchdog role, and to meaningfully engage in the design, implementation, and monitoring of public policies that affect them;
  • prioritising Roma inclusion in the next MFF programming period, ensuring that Roma communities are involved in the delivery of European funds at the national and local level.

The Poznan Declaration of Western Balkans Partners on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process , which was signed on highest level by the Prime Ministers of the Enlargement countries, can inspire EU Member States in this regard.

For more information, please contact Jamen Gabriela Hrabaňová, ERGO Network Director, at g.hrabanova@ergonetwork.org.