New publication: Roma grassroots perspectives on poverty alleviation
In 2018 in the framework of ERGO’s Annual Work Programme ‘Roma Included in Social Europe’ (RIISE), ERGO Network members from Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic conducted seven comprehensive local case studies that contribute to a better understanding of the impact of National Roma Integration Strategies (NRISs) and relevant mainstream measures on local Roma communities. The topic of the case studies was how access to quality education and employment as well as antigypsyism affect Roma people’s economic situation.
We have now published a synthesis report that can serve as evidence concerning implementation of the EU Roma Framework and mainstream social policies on the grassroots level, which can support the EU institutions’ work on making the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality.
The main objective is to fill the gap and bring more perceptions of Roma into Roma-related discourses. Therefore ERGO members explored Roma people’s perspectives on the causes of poverty that can potentially say more about barriers to poverty reduction efforts and implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies and social policies (if any). Fostering participation of Roma in voicing their needs and positions about what causes their economic situation is crucial for our work.
You can read the synthesis report here.
Our Romanian member, Center of Resources for Social Inclusion CRIS in October organised two meetings in Ploiesti with the representatives of 10 Local Action Groups (LAG) from South-Muntenia and South-East Regions and of 2 newly established Urban Local Action Groups from Ploiesti and Campina, within the framework of the Annual Work Programme 2018 supported by the European Commission’s Program for Social Innovation and Employment.
The aim of the meetings was to strengthen the cooperation between Roma civil society from local level and LAGs in regards to accessing, implementing and monitoring of measures affecting Roma communities in the Local Development Strategies (LDS).
The handbook on Training for local stakeholders and Local Action Groups teams on CLLD and how to increase the access to funds available in the LEADER program for Roma developed by Nevo Parudimos, another member of ERGO from Romania, was presented to participants and it was considered to be useful for the implementation of the LDSs.
While improvements have been done since last year’s meetings with the LAGs, by having Roma communities from local level and especially the urban marginalized communities from Ploiesti and Campina included in the LDSs through specific measures, more needs to be done according to the representatives of LAGs.
For example, the Urban LAGs mentione had to refer to the official number of Roma in the two cities according to the late census in 2016 when they developed the strategy. As this number is obviously lower than the reality, the measures targeting Roma in the strategy could have been more than only one or maximum two as it is now.
Therefore one of the main conclusions of the meetings was the need for mapping of the local Roma communities to be recognized, assumed by each ministry, and to be taken into account in the future financial allocations, with Roma among the target groups.
The European Pillar of Social Rights and European Semester as tools for delivering Social Europe
On 2 October, the European Commission’s DG Employment together with the European Centre of Expertise (ECE) in the field of Labour Law, Employment and Labour Market Policies organised a reflection with civil society on the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Semester.
Through ERGO Network’s Annual Work Programme RISE (Roma Included in Social Europe), ERGO Network closely follows the European Semester process as a possible tool to foster the social inclusion and poverty reduction of Roma in the EU, with a special focus on the five countries with the highest Roma population – Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
ERGO Network Director Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova presented ERGO’s work in this area and pointed out the great discrepancies between the poor living situation of Roma in these countries and the attention Roma inclusion receives in the European Semester. Czech Republic, for example, is under the infringement procedure for segregation of Roma children in education, while this topic is not anymore included in the Czech country-specific recommendations. Also Roma employment is not found among the CSRs in any of our target countries, even though Roma unemployment – and particularly youth unemployment – remains extremely high. Around 64% of Roma aged 16 to 24 are not in education, employment and training according to research by the Fundamental Rights Agency – a fact that should be reflected in the European Semester and the European Pillar of Social Rights, but that does not attract any special attention in mainstream EU policies.
ERGO Network chair Stano Daniel and ERGO Network member Katalin Nagy added insights from the Roma grassroots in Hungary and Slovakia to the discussion in order to stress the importance of mainstreaming Roma inclusion in European policies, if the EU really wants to deliver on a Social Europe.
TRANSITION FROM EDUCATION TO EMPLOYMENT FOR ROMA YOUTH – A Key step in Roma Inclusion
On 25-26 September, ERGO Network policy officer Carmen Tanasie took part in an international expert Seminar of the Council of Europe Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM), focusing on the transition from education to employment for Roma youth.
Despite the efforts to expand and improve education for Roma children over the years, as many as 50% of Roma children in Europe fail to complete primary education and only a quarter complete secondary education. Participation in education drops considerably after compulsory education where only 15% of young Roma adults have completed upper-secondary general or vocational education. Without compulsory education completion, many young Roma are unable to meet the basic requirements for vocational education programmes and therefore to find employment. On average 63% of Roma aged 16 to 24 are consequently not in work, education or further training, and 72% of Roma women.
This year’s expert seminar under the Croatian Presidency of the Council of Europe followed up on the recommendations brought forward by the 4th meeting of the Council of Europe Dialogue with Roma and Traveller civil society of 2017, with a focus on vocational education and training. The different panels discussed, among others, second chance educational programmes for school drop-outs, social enterprises as an opportunity for young Roma and travellers, certification of professional skills and reach out of EU programmes for NEEET towards Roma.
Carmen Tanasie presented ERGO Network’s research on Roma youth employment ‘What work(s) for Roma, with a special focus on discussing the question: How successful is the “Youth Guarantee” programme in reaching and creating meaningful opportunities for young Roma? ERGO’s research has shown that most young Roma have never heard of the Youth Guarantee, and are not offered meaningful options for further education or training by the Public Employment Services. She brought forward ERGO’s recommendations on better targeting of the Youth Guarantee towards those hardest to reach so that young Roma can also benefit from EU programmes.
More information on ERGO’s youth employment work: http://ergonetwork.org/our-work/monitoring/youth-employment/
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