The Alliance against Antigypsyism demands clear commitment of European Parliament President Tajani against antigypsyism  

                                

 

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 29 October 2018

The Alliance against Antigypsyism demands clear commitment of European Parliament President Tajani against antigypsyism

 

Brussels, 29 October 2018 – European Parliament President Antonio Tajani criticised the Italian government’s plan for a citizenship income in an interview on Italian public broadcaster RAI earlier this week, and said that “the citizenship income will end up in the pockets of Roma, of foreign citizens — from the EU and non-EU — and certainly not in those of many Italian citizens.”

The Alliance against Antigypsyism criticizes that such statements fuel antigypsyism in the public discourse, and demands a clear commitment of European Parliament President Tajani against antigypsyism.

Romani Rose, Chair of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, said: “The statement of Parliament’s President Tajani confirms how deep-rooted antigypsyist stereotypes are in European societies and institutions. Even unconscious linguistic images often lead to the exclusion of minorities and consolidate antigypsyism in society. In 2015, the European Parliament recognized the Holocaust against the 500,000 Sinti and Roma in Nazi-occupied Europe and adopted a clear strategy to combat antigypsyism in its October 2017 resolution. Political leaders and representatives have an important responsibility for the cohesion of our society. Therefore, it would be a sign of political responsibility that President Tajani proclaims unequivocally the fight against antigypsyism as a constitutional and democratic task.”

Gabriela Hrabanova, Director of the European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network, underlined: “Mr Tajani’s narrative is a reflection of antigypsyism as the norm in the political discourse. This is especially dangerous ahead of the EP elections and elections at the national and local level. It is a contradiction that the EP asks Member States to implement the Framework Decision, transpose and enforce the Racial Equality Directive, and most recently calls on Member States to ban neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups, while it keeps othering Roma who have been European citizens for centuries. These kinds of statements also undermine ongoing work at EU level on fighting antigypsyism.”

Michaël Privot, Director of the European Network Against Racism, said: “Mr. Tajani’s racist comment just shows how mainstream politicians can legitimise racist and xenophobic discourses put forward by far-right and neo-fascist groups instead of rejecting them. It is high-time that the European Parliament’s President tackles racist speech both within and outside his own house. This means both taking disciplinary measures against Members of the European Parliament who use hate speech against Roma and other minorities and initiating public condemnation of hate speech in Member States.”

Although some members of the European Parliament denounced the comments and demanded a public apology, the leadership of the European People’s Party, of which Mr Tajani is a member, did not condemn the statement and Mr Tajani has to date not publicly apologised.

 For further information, contact:

 

ERGO Network: Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova, Executive Director, g.hrabanova@ergonetwork.org

Tel: +32(0)2 893 10 49

Central Council of German Sinti and Roma: Jonathan Mack, Policy Officer, jonathan.mack@sintiundroma.de

Tel: +49 (0) 6221 981101

European Network Against Racism (ENAR): Georgina Siklossy, Senior Communication and Press Officer, georgina@enar-eu.org

Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 – Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531

 

 Notes to the editor:

 

  1. The ‘Alliance against Antigypsyism’ is a coalition of organisations that promote equality of rights for Roma and combat antigypsyism on institutional and societal level. The aim of the Alliance is to advance understanding of antigypsyism as a specific form of racism, and to strengthen the political will and institutional mechanisms in order to tackle antigypsyism in Europe. The Alliance is coordinated by the European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network, the European Network against Racism (ENAR) and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma.
  2. European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2018 on the rise of neo-fascist violence in Europe (2018/2869(RSP)),http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2018-0428+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN

Registration: Conference & ERGO Network’s 10 Years Anniversary Party

                                  Conference & ERGO Network 10 Years Anniversary Party

  Register here by 26 November 2018

ERGO Network has been working actively to use bottom-up and partnership-based approaches such as Community-Led Local Development to engage Roma people more actively in shaping the future of their local communities. Involving Roma themselves in the development, implementation and evaluation of programmes creates trust between authorities and Roma, contributes to more effective needs-based approaches and avoids misuse of funds.

At ERGO Network’s Conference, we will discuss the potential of local partnerships between Roma communities and other stakeholders and give recommendations from the Roma grassroots level on how to strengthen local partnerships through the next EU programming period.

Download the concept note and agenda here.

The conference will be followed by ERGO Network’s 10 years anniversary celebration, with food, bubbles and Roma live music!!

The European Pillar of Social Rights and European Semester as tools for delivering Social Europe

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

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/

Realising the rights of Roma women in Ukraine

Realising the rights of Roma women in Ukraine

On 17-18 October, ERGO Network director Gabriela Hrabanova spoke at a conference on ‘Realising the rights of Roma women in Ukraine’, organised by UN Women in cooperation with ERGO Network member Roma Women Fund Chiricli.

The conference brought together Ukrainian Members of Parliament, government representatives and members of the judiciary with local decision-makers, MEPs, UN officials, civil society organisations and grassroots Roma women to discuss the multiple discriminations of Roma women and provide recommendations for the elimination of discrimination.

According to UN Women, the estimated 100,000 – 200,000 Roma women are the most socially excluded and marginalized group in Ukraine. They are discriminated for being Roma, for being women and for being poor.  Roma women have limited access to education, health care, do not participate in public and political life and live under constant threat to their security. These problems become even more severe through the lack of ID documents – in some areas of Ukraine only 15% of Roma have passports, a situation that obstructs them to access social services, education and official employment.

“In our work with Roma activists in Ukraine, we sometimes feel their fear they cannot have an impact. Roma rights activists should not feel isolated. A great number of experts and activists from the around the world, as well as from Ukraine, are present in the Parliament today, to support Roma activists and to build a network which can be empowering, and strengthen our joint advocacy efforts” – Anastasia Divinskaya, Representative of UN Women Ukraine.

ERGO Director Gabriela Hrabanova stressed that mainstreaming gender equality alone is not enough, there needs to be a special focus on empowering Roma women and to include them in designing strategies targeting them, so they are able to fully participate in society.

The participants gave gender-specific recommendations to national, regional and local authorities to address the pressing needs of Roma women and to ensure their equal rights and opportunities.  They should inform the new approach of the current and future legislation or policies that promote rights of Roma.

Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev