Western Balkans summit

Declaration on Roma integration in the EU enlargement processs signed at Western Balkans Summit

The sixth annual summit within the Berlin Process Initiative for European integration of Western Balkans states was held between 3rd and 5th of July 2019 held in Poznań.

At the initiative of North Macedonia, the Western Balkan countries signed a Declaration on Roma integration in the EU enlargement process as a pledge for their reiterated commitment to continue and enhance efforts for full equality and integration of Roma through implementation of specific set of measures in the areas of employment, education, housing, health, civil registration and non-discrimination.

With the Declaration they pledge to achieve the following objectives:

  • A. Employment: Increase the employment rate of Roma in the public sector to the rate proportional of the participation of Roma in the overall population; Increase the employment rate among Roma to at least 25% percent;
  • B. Housing: Wherever possible, legalize all informal settlements where Roma live; or provide permanent, decent, affordable and desegregated housing for Roma currently living in informal settlements that cannot be legalized for justified reasons;
  • C. Education: Increase the enrolment and completion rate of Roma in primary education to 90 percent and the enrolment and completion rate of Roma in secondary education to 50 percent;
  • D. Health: Ensure universal health insurance coverage among Roma to at least 95 percent or to the rate equal to the rest of the population;
  • E. Civil Registration: Ensure all Roma are registered in the civil registries;
  • F. Non-Discrimination: Strengthen the government structures to protect against discrimination and establish a specific sub-division for non-discrimination of Roma within the formal non-discrimination bodies to process complaints by Roma, provide legal support to alleged victims and identify discrimination schemes, including institutional and hidden discrimination.

Governments of the Western Balkan countries understand that progress on Roma integration is progress towards enlargement. The participation of strong Roma civil society organizations from the countries of the region was crucial.
National Roma civil society organizations from the Western Balkan countries have been strongly represented in the Summit, and their presence was of crucial importance to this process. Sitting alongside the government representatives, the message they sent is that the Roma civil society organizations in the Western Balkans have grown and are consolidated to be considered a partner in the activities and actions towards Roma integration, but also showing that Roma civil society organizations may play an important and critical role in the monitoring and guiding governmental institutions in their Roma inclusion processes.


RCC also introduced the results of the Balkan Barometer 2019, which showed “modestly optimistic” regional perceptions and attitudes across a wide array of social, political and economic factors impacting life in South East Europe.

Most Roma-friendly Mayor

Regional campaignMost Roma Friendly Mayor

We are launching the 2019 call for the regional campaign for the most “Roma Friendly Mayor” in the framework of the project “Joint Initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey“, implemented jointly by Roma Active Albania and ERGO Network. The campaign aims to increase awareness of and change attitudes towards Roma inclusion and contribute to overcoming the many barriers on the way.

An important part of this campaign is the “Most Roma Friendly Mayor”competition, which is simultaneously implemented in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The award-winning mayors from Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, The Republic of North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey will participate in a special event in October 2019 in Brussels to meet a high representative from the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement (DG NEAR).

The campaign will strengthen the dialogue between municipalities and Roma communities and make best practice examples visible. The selection of the “Most Roma Friendly Mayor” can help  communities to make their vision a reality on how municipalities and the Roma community can come together and engage in a dialogue on an equal level.

The campaign will focus on positive examples of Roma integration. Moreover, the selection criteria will emphasize the project philosophy of empowerment, mobilization and equal dialogue between local authorities and Roma communities between 2018 and September 2019.

The competition will be open from April 8th until September 6th 2019. An independent jury will be established and select the winner of the contest based on the given questionnaire.

The partners of the project “Joint Initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey” will carry out local information sessions to further brief the interested municipalities on the campaign and competition.

Application documents:

  • The completed application form
  • Articles, news, reports, protocols or any document that support your responses in the application form
  • Feedback /assessment from the Roma community regarding the municipality
  • Pictures

The application form can be mailed to: info@raa.al or to any of the implementing partners until September 6th 2019, local time 23:59.

 For general inquiries you can also contact info@ergonetwork.org or check the facebook page of the event.

Partners:

This activity is implemented in the framework of the project “Joint Initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society on the Western Balkans and Turkey” (JIERCSWBT), financed by the European Union.

2017 ERGO Network Annual Report

2017 ERGO Network Annual Report

ERGO Network’s annual report for 2017 is now available. Read the  2017 ERGO Annual Report and learn how ERGO Network and  its members introduced and pursued numerous initiatives to fight antigypsyism and to empower Roma in 2017. In addition the annual report 2017 presents the initiatives undertaken by ERGO to ensure networking between, and capacity building of member organisations. The report contains relevant information and graphs on the achievements and progress made to strengthen the Roma community. ERGO Network will definitely keep the wheel rolling to support the implementation of more and better measures for Roma.

Read the  2017 ERGO Annual Report

Local Dialogue Meeting in Bijeljina, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Local Dialogue Meeting organised by ERGO Member OTAHARIN

Through ERGO Network’s project Strengthening Roma NGOs as transparent and independent watchdog organisations in the framework of the  Joint initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey our member OTAHARIN organised a Local Dialogue Meeting with the city administration in Bijeljina on 31 May 2018.  The city was represented by Milan Lazić (Social affairs) and Ljubiša Stanišić (Office for National minorities). From the civil society side, the organisations Otaharin, WA Romkinja and the youth organisation “Senat mladih OMOTE” were present with their representatives Draga Joković, Sabira Hašimović, Fatima Džanić and Mladen Đurić.

Different topics to discuss

A wide range of topics was covered during the intensive meeting between the civil society and local authorities’ representatives:

  • Organization of working group meeting for drafting a Local Action Plan
  • Proposal for renovation of streets in Roma settlements (asphalting and lighting installation)
  • Initiatives of young Roma through support of CARE International (renovation of objects of social vulnerable families)
  • Environmental problems near residential buildings for Roma near the canal Dašnica
  • Problems with documentation of Roma families to solve housing issues
  • Problems with families abusing the facilities they received in terms of renting an apartment for other family
  • Problems with families who received objects for living, but still force children to beg
  • Suggestions for the organisation of a youth camp within the project implemented by Otaharin
The meeting resulted in the following recommendations:
  • Organise a meeting of the working group for reviewing the Local Action Plan with the presence of the Mayor
  • Collect necessary information about the target group and their community in order to establish a plan for solving problems of asphalting and lighting (Streets: Bogdana Zimonjića, Baje Pivljanina, Ilije Garašanina, Vojvode Petra Pojovića i Ratka Perića)
  • In order to solve environmental problems near residential buildings for Roma, it is necessary to find out what the company received on the tender for maintenance
  • Make a call for citizens to donate used furniture, clothes and similar things in order to support social vulnerable families  (joint initiative of Otaharin and city administration)
  • Define relationships in terms of how much and what can be done in case of unregulated housing documents of Roma
  • Define mechanisms for controlling life in buildings built for Roma due to housing problems (non-living and rent to other families) and non-payment of maintenance money – work on changing contracts and rules for obtaining an apartment – include a centre for social work
  • Organise a meeting of the working group for the protection of children to resolve problem of begging.
  • Proposal of cooperation with the armed forces for maintenance of a youth camp in Bijeljina

The meeting was organised with financial support of the International Visegrad Fund and the IPA Civil Society Programme of the European Commisison.

ERGO Network

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