Roma rights organisations respond to EU inclusion plans

Brussels, 6 December 2018: Today, a coalition of more than fifteen Romani and anti-racism civil society organisations from across Europe called for the Council of the European Union, and governments of European countries, to make a clear commitment to the new proposals for post-2020 Roma inclusion plans made by the European Commission in its communication to the European Parliament and Council yesterday.

Director of ERGO Network Ms Gabriela Hrabanova welcomed the new Communication: “The Commission and Parliament have clearly positioned themselves for a continued investment in Roma Inclusion after 2020. Now is the time for national governments to do the same, to strengthen their fight against antigypsyism and to update and improve their strategies in line with community needs by working alongside Romani civil society.”

The new communication from the Commission highlighted key elements to improve the EU Roma Framework including: the need for inclusion of Roma in mainstream policies, fighting antigypsyism, improving Roma participation, addressing the diversity amongst Roma, and better data collection, target indicators and reporting in integration strategies.

“Until now, Roma Inclusion plans in EU member states and accession countries have failed to include measures to fight antigypsyism, and have largely failed to significantly improve the situation for Roma across Europe” said Ðorđe Jovanović, President of the European Roma Rights Centre. “The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies after 2020 must serve to counter the effects of the specific structural racism which affects Romani populations throughout Europe.”

The organisations explicitly call for measures in European countries to recognize present and historical antigypsyism as a form of racism; counter and sanction manifestations of antigypsyism in public discourses, public services and institutions; empower civil society, and ensure that the necessary legal and institutional mechanisms are in place and implemented to prosecute hate crimes and hate speech. It is time for European governments to give priority to “reinforcing and distinguishing the focus on antigypsyism as a root cause of Roma exclusion” as concluded by the EU High Level Group on Combatting Racism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance in their guidance paper on antigypsyism.

European institutions have to make sure that the next EU budget cycle (Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027), which is currently under negotiation, is connected to policy priorities of the EU Roma Framework including the fight against antigypsyism. In addition, partnership agreements with Member States and operational programs must explicitly name Roma as an investment priority. The next cycle of funding must ensure that funds are also available for specific measures to fight antigypsyism, and to allow the efficient operation of civil society organisations to hold governments accountable and to ensure fundamental rights of Romani citizens across Europe.

For more information, or to arrange an interview contact:

Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova
Executive Director
ERGO Network
info@ergonetwork.org
+32(0)2 893 10 49

The coalition of organisations includes:

Alliance against Antigypsyism
Central Council of German Sinti & Roma
European Network against Racism
European Public Health Alliance
European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network
European Roma Rights Centre
FAGiC Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluña
Jaw Dikh Foundation
La Voix de Roms
Nakeramos
Nevo Parudimos
Roma Active Albania
Romanipe
Roma Education Fund
RROMA Regional Roma Educational Youth Association (Macedonia)

Notes for editors:

The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies was adopted by the European Commission in 2011. It requires member states make provision to address inequalities in their countries which Roma face in education, employment, healthcare, and housing.

Antigypsyism is the specific racism towards Roma, Sinti, Travellers and others who are stigmatized as ‘gypsies’ in the public imagination. The term is often used in a narrow sense to indicate anti-Roma attitudes or the expression of negative stereotypes in the public sphere or hate speech. However, antigypsyism gives rise to a much wider spectrum of discriminatory expressions and practices, including many implicit or hidden manifestations. More information is available in the reference paper on antigypsyism.

Minimum Standards for Minorities in the EU

On Monday 3 September 2018, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) held a mini-hearing on minimum standards for minorities in the EU. The respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities is one of the EU’s founding principles and the effective protection of minorities across the EU needs to be strengthened.

ERGO Network Executive Director Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova was one of the experts invited to the hearing to give input to the Committee’s report on the topic.  She pointed out that Roma and other minorities enrich the diverse cultural heritage of the EU; the protection of their rights, however, is currently not ensured. EU Member States have different definitions for minorities and apply different standards for their protection. There is a need for a common understanding and definitions, but also for ensuring the protection of minorities especially against discrimination and any forms of racism.

The Roma Civil Monitor, a project issuing civil society shadow reports on National Roma Integration Strategies in 27 EU member states, shows that even where Roma are recognised as minority, respect of their rights is still lacking or the minority status is only granted for ‘autochthonous’ Roma and not those of migratory background.

ERGO Network believes that the lives of minorities in every country are fragile; the policy frameworks on minorities are depending on political will and societal climate.  For Roma the situation is even more difficult, as there is no home country standing behind them to support the growth of their cultural heritage and language or to ensure the full recognition and protection of their rights. The European Union is the safeguard that brings hope to many.

Minimum standards for minorities should ensure rights to both ethnic and national minorities. They should also pay attention to intersectionality, especially when it comes to discrimination of LGBTI and people with disabilities.

During the hearing, Gabriela Hrabanova furthermore expressed the importance of addressing antigypsyism as core problem for the exclusion of Roma. “Antigypsyism is not explicitly recognized in the relevant policy and legislative documents and antigypsyist crimes are often not seen as such by the responsible institutions”, says Hrabanova. As stated in the European Parliament Resolution on fighting Anti-Gypsyism from 2015 and in the LIBE Committee Report on Anti-gypsyism from 2017 the situation of Roma is worsening and there is a need for urgent action to ensure the remedy of the centuries’ long discrimination and marginalization.

Member states should take both proactive and reactive measures to safeguard equal access of members of minority groups to services, goods, information, etc. and to provide mandatory trainings to duty-bearers.

But importantly, there will be no achievement without real and systemic consultations of minority groups at local, regional and national level to prepare, run, monitor and evaluate both minority specific and mainstream programmes in order to ensure their inclusiveness and non-discrimination.

Will the EU include Roma in the so-called ‘Union that protects, empowers and defends’?

Will the EU include Roma in the so-called ‘Union that protects, empowers and defends’?

The European Commission entitled its proposal for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework ‘A budget for a Union that protects, empowers and defends’, but will it really defend all its citizens? While we remember the victims of the Roma Holocaust on 2nd of August, racist crimes against Roma still continue in Europe today.

Approximately 12 Million Roma are European citizens, and according to the Fundamental Rights Agency, 80% of them are at risk of poverty. One in three Roma are victims of harassment and 20% of non-Roma would not like to have a Roma colleague.

Antigypsyism, a specific form of racism against people who are perceived as Gypsies, is today the most widespread and socially accepted form of racism and is the basis of the social exclusion and poverty of Roma people.

In 2011 the EU adopted a Framework in order to improve Roma inclusion, but its mid-term review in 2017 showed a very little progress and highlighted the importance of focusing on antigypsyism in the next EU Roma Framework. It confirmed that ‘fighting antigypsyism and stereotypes by targeting majority society is a pre-condition for generating political will and for the success of any Roma inclusion intervention.’

Also in 2017 the European Parliament adopted a report on the “Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism”, highlighting the persistent antigypsyism in politics and societies across Europe, despite the efforts undertaken under the EU Roma Framework and the legislative framework against discrimination, hate speech and hate crime.

Is there an end to the Genocide of Roma in Europe?

However, while we commemorate the Roma Holocaust on 2nd of August, today’s reality proves that extreme efforts are still needed to combat antigypsyism across the EU. More than 70 years after the end of World War II, antigypsyism finds its expression in a series of hate crimes. These crimes are hardly followed up, their racist character is often ignored and they meet little outrage by the majority society.

The following are only the most widely reported crimes of the last few months – we can believe that they are not the only ones:

  • A 13-year old Roma girl in Amfissa, Central Greece was shot by a local businessman on June 4, 2018. The man drove by the Roma camp and fired with a shotgun at the inhabitants, killing the young girl.
  • In July 2018 in the outskirts of Rome a 14-month old Roma baby girl was shot in the back while being in her mother’s arm. The man who shot her with an air rifle from his balcony claims it was an accident as he was cleaning his gun.
  • In July 2018 a 21-year old Romani man was beaten up by skinheads in a pub in Žilina, Slovakia. The skinheads were screaming “We will kill you, Gypsy scum”. According to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), a policewoman who came with the ambulance said: “The town center is not for Gypsies, but for whites.”
  • In July 2018 In Greece, a Roma man was shot in the face by his non-Roma neighbor who claims the reason was an argument about leaves flying into his garden. (source: http://www.newspallinis.gr/2018/07/blog-post_83.html?m=1)
  • Just outside the EU’s borders, in Ukraine, 23-year old David Popp was murdered in his sleep in the frame of several anti-Roma pogroms by neo-Nazi gangs .

At the same time, Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior of Italy, asked for a census of Roma and regretted that he could not just kick them all out of the country; but even this, or hate speech in the European Parliament, regular evictions of Roma from their homes or the demand for segregation of Roma children in school by non-Roma parents do not cause any bigger concern by decision-makers and citizens in the EU.  These cases of extreme racist violence, however, should lead the EU institutions to take real action.

Will next EU Programming Period include more than a lip service to combatting antigypsyism?

The next EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework is currently negotiated. It is now time to dedicate sufficient resources to combatting antigypsyism through a strong EU Roma Framework that has the fight against antigypsyism at its core. Addressing the social policy areas of employment, education, housing and health is crucial for their social inclusion, but will not be enough to end Roma exclusion when hate crimes remain completely unchallenged.

With the Race Equality Directive, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Articles 2 (rights of minorities) and 10 (combatting discrimination) of the Treaty of the European Union, a strong legal basis exists for the EU to combat antigypsyism. The next MFF is the chance for EU policy-makers to give more substance to these commitments and to do everything in their power to make sure that Roma will not have to face a new genocide.

Roma inclusion in the SDGs: Call for experts

ERGO Network is contracting an external consultant to prepare a report on the Sustainable Development Goals as a tool for Roma inclusion

 

Download the complete call for an external consultant.

Roma in the Sustainable Development Goals

Since the universal acceptation of the Agenda 2030 in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets stimulate action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. All UN Member States are asked to work towards fulfilling the SDGs until 2030. They are thus an important advocacy tool for civil society in order to push their governments and international institutions towards ending poverty and hunger, protecting the planet and fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

ERGO Network intends to include the SDGs in its work with Roma and pro – Roma grassroots organisations across Europe.

Role of the consultant

We are searching for an external consultant who will prepare a report on the role of the Sustainable Development Goals in the field of Roma inclusion and combatting antigypsyism. Specifically, the consultant is expected to prepare a report of approximately 20 pages in English including the points given in the attached call.

Profile

  • Proven knowledge about Roma and sustainability issues, specifically the Agenda 2030
  • Experience working with civil society organisations in the fields of advocacy and capacity-building
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Proven research and analytical skills
  • Ability to work independently

Contract and budget

The independent evaluator will be subcontracted to fulfil part of the work programme in the Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment. The expert has no rights vis-à-vis the European Commission.

The expert shall be paid for the execution of the activities and services a fee of 3,000 EUR, all taxes and VAT included.

Timing

The deadline for the first draft of the report is 1 November. A final version should be finished, after feedback from the ERGO Secretariat, by 15th December.

Application procedure

Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following documents:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • Sample writing (at least 2 pieces)

We will select the expert according to the principle “Value for money”. Please send your application to info@ergonetwork.org, by August 20th 2018, 23:59 CET.

For further questions, please contact Christine Sudbrock (c.sudbrock@ergonetwork.org, +32 2 893 10 49)

 

 

Call for consultant for external evaluation

Call for external consultant

Download the Call for external consultant.

We are searching for an external consultant to assess the achievements and lessons learned of the Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment (2018-2021) entitled ‘Roma Included in Social Europe’.

The expert will be contracted for the evaluation of the first year of the work programme – 2018 – but we foresee a longer-term cooperation for the whole duration of the Framework Partnership Agreement for annual evaluations in order to improve our work through the consultant’s feedback and recommendations. This longer-term cooperation is subject to receiving the annual operating grant of DG EMPL and the success of the cooperation in the first year.

Specifically, the evaluator is expected to:

  • Conduct interviews with ERGO members participating in the implementation of the FPA as well as with ERGO staff in order to assess how well the objectives of year 1 have been achieved and how well the management structure of the work programme functions.
  • Conduct one evaluation visit to Hungary in order to interview organisations participating in the FPA.
  • Draft a report describing lessons learnt and providing recommendations for improvement for the next three years of the FPA.

Profile:

  • Excellent knowledge of evaluation methodology and experience with programme evaluations
  • Expertise on Roma issues and policies on European Union and member state level
  • Experience working with civil society organisations in the fields of advocacy, capacity-building and network building
  • Excellent writing skills and ability to concisely summarise evaluation results for different audiences
  • Excellent research and analytical skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Additional language skills desirable

Conditions

The evaluation will be conducted from September to December 2018, with the final report expected for the end of December 2018.

Times for the evaluation visit and interviews will be agreed together with ERGO staff and partner organisations.

Contract and budget: The independent evaluator will be subcontracted to fulfil part of the work programme in the Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment. The expert has no rights vis-à-vis the European Commission.

The expert shall be paid for the execution of the activities and services a fee of maximum 5,000 EUR, all taxes and VAT included. The expert is expected to pay her or his own travel and accommodation to Hungary (2 days) and Brussels (2 days).

Application procedure

Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following documents:

  • CV, highlighting past similar assignments
  • Motivation letter, including proposed methodology

We will select the expert according to the principle “Value for money”. Please send your application to info@ergonetwork.org by August 20th 2018, 23:59 CET.

A detailed project summary can be provided upon request.

For further questions, please contact Christine Sudbrock:  (c.sudbrock@ergonetwork.org)