Join our team! European Solidarity Corps in ERGO Network

Call for European Solidarity Corps placement in ERGO Network

ERGO Network is looking for an enthusiastic and active young Roma who would like to join our office team in Brussels for 12 months in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps.

  • When: September 2020 to August 2021
  • Where: ERGO Network office in Brussels, Belgium
  • Who: Young Roma professional between 18 and 30
  • Deadline for applications: 30 June 2020

During the 12 months in ERGO, you will learn about international advocacy, help us organise international meetings and events and get actively involved in Roma activism and international Roma networks in Brussels.

Your main tasks will be:

  • Communication and visibility: contribute to the update of the ERGO Network and RomaReact websites and social media channels; development of creative approaches and publicity work to promote our activities and mission and a positive image of Roma.
  • Researching and reporting: Assisting ERGO’s research work e.g. on cases of inequality and antigypsyism all over Europe.
  • Advocacy and policy: Support ERGO staff in EU advocacy work on poverty reduction, social inclusion and antigypsyism; attend debates, hearings and meetings with other stakeholders to challenge stereotypes and racism, build partnership with Roma and non-Roma organizations from Belgium and other European countries.
  • Meetings and seminars: Assist in the organisation of meetings, events and international seminars of ERGO Network and its partners, e.g. our Advocacy Academy, Annual Members Meeting etc.

Your profile:

  • Young Roma between 18 and 30 years living in an EU member state or Macedonia or Turkey
  • Good English language skills, both oral and written
  • Computer literacy (experience with Microsoft office package and social media)
  • High motivation to learn more about Roma activism and advocacy work and to contribute to a small but very active European NGO
  • Previous involvement in Roma or (pro) Roma NGOs will be considered an advantage
  • Reliable, well organised and with attention to detail

You will work not more than 38 hours per week, including your language course. Working hours will be from Monday to Friday between 9:00 – 17:00. However, working hours can be adapted to your needs and the activities you will be involved in.

We aim to support young people who are enthusiastic about our cause and want to gain experiences that can be later transferred to national or local NGOs. We especially welcome applications from people who are motivated to challenge stereotypes, antigypsyism and racism and who show an open attitude for a unique learning and life experience, as well as a volunteer spirit of creativity, initiative, responsibility and independence.

We offer:

  • An allowance of 1049 Euro that includes money for accommodation, meals, local transport, language course and pocket money
  • Travel costs to Brussels (a lump sum depending on the distance to Brussels)
  • Health insurance for the whole year
  • On-arrival training with other Solidarity Corps volunteers, and lots of learning and development opportunities with ERGO Network and our partners
  • An exciting and unforgettable experience, working for an international organisation in an international city!

How to apply:

Please send your motivation letter (1 page) and CV (max 2 pages) by 30th June 2020 to

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

Mustafa Jakupov:


Post 2020 EU Framework must be top priority in Covid-19 response

Appeal to the European Commission and the European Council to make the post-2020 EU Strategic Framework for Roma Equality and Inclusion a top priority in its Covid-19 response

Download the pdf version.


April 22, 2020

Honorable President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen

Honorable President of the European Council, Mr Charles Michel

On behalf of the European coalition of Roma and pro-Roma organizations, we call on the European Commission and the European Council to prioritise fundamental rights and the protection of the most vulnerable when redefining the EU agenda in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, we urge EU leaders to address the following three priorities in order to ensure the equal treatment, safety, well-being and equality of Roma communities and thereby contribute to ameliorating the pandemic situation for all Europeans:

  1. An immediate European humanitarian response should coordinate and allocate sufficient resources to all vulnerable groups, in particular marginalized Roma communities and all racialized minorities, making sure they are reached in all Member States and enlargement countries.
  2. The European Covid-19 Recovery Plan should fully take into account the needs of vulnerable Roma communities, and define them as a priority group in all mainstream policies and measures, including in economic aid and recovery, social protection, health care, housing, education and employment.
  3. A post-2020 “EU Strategic Framework for Roma Equality, Social and Economic Justice and Combating Antigypsyism” must constitute a top priority in the Covid-19 response of the EU, Member States and Enlargement countries in order to comprehensively address the structural exclusion, inequality and vulnerability of Roma communities, that was dramatically exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Post-2020 European Roma Coalition signals its concerns about the negative consequences of a possible delay of human and minority rights initiatives, including the post-2020 EU Roma Strategic Framework, due to COVID-19. Such a delay will have a tremendously negative effect on the human rights and protection of vulnerable groups such as Roma. The Coalition calls on the European Commission and Council not to risk the safety, well-being and equality of 12 million Roma in the European Union and Enlargement Countries in a hasty decision to save resources.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, under the social distancing and public health measures, many Roma working in the informal sector lost their sources of daily income (such as working in private fields, collecting and selling scrap metal, small traders, market sellers; those working in the arts and culture, as musicians, cultural producers, artisans etc.). Rampant antigypsyism, including hate speech by the media and racist violence against Roma is increasing rapidly in many Member States and Enlargement Countries, particularly in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. In addition, measures of confinement are being applied disproportionately by some authorities, who argue that Roma communities are responsible for spreading the virus more rapidly,  (e.g., in Bulgaria and Romania mayors organised checkpoints to control the movement from and to Roma neighbourhoods, including by sealing checkpoints with concrete in Kazanluk, Bulgaria to make the neighbourhood accessible only through the checkpoints).

There is a real danger that, as we move globally deeper into an imminent economic and humanitarian crisis, the needs and concerns of minority groups will be overlooked by governments. European and international efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus and mitigate its long-term economic and social consequences should start with addressing racial inequalities and achieve social justice for all.

Now more than ever, Europe needs a prompt, robust and binding post-2020 EU Roma Strategic Framework for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Combating Antigypsyism that prioritises minimum adequate standards, targets and indicators in the areas of education, employment, health, social protection, housing and fighting antigypsyism, and that includes equally Enlargement and Neighborhood Countries to guarantee a level playing field in the access to basic rights and services. A delay in the adoption of the EU Roma Strategy because of the Covid-19 pandemic is not justified, since social inequalities and racism against Roma to date are now impacting disproportionately on Roma who live in squalid conditions, without running water, without income and food supplies, and at a much higher risk of infection and spread of the coronavirus. Prioritising the EU Roma Strategy is not only a moral and human rights duty towards Roma, it is also the right way to contain and minimise the impact of the pandemic for millions more citizens and residents that need EU support to push their Member States and Enlargement Countries to take action. [Follow the CSO response on the Roadmap] Moreover, delaying the adoption of the EU Roma initiative creates a risk that the future European framework as well as the consequent national Roma inclusion strategies will not be adequately integrated into the designing and implementation of the new cohesion policy or the post-crisis recovery policy.

The post-2020 European Roma Coalition with the support of

Central Council of German Sinti and Roma

Center for Policy Studies, Central European University (CEU)

European Network Against Racism (ENAR)

European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF)

European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network

European Roma Information Office (ERIO)

European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC)

European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)

Fundacion Secretariado Gitano (FSG)

International Roma Youth Network, TernYpe

Phiren Amenca International Network

Roma Active Albania (RAA)

Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (REDI)

Romani Week 2020 – POSTPONED

Romani Week – Romno Kurko 2020

The following event is postponed due to the Corona virus outbreak, most likely to June.


This year’s Romani Week in the European Parliament will take place from 23-26 March and will include a large range of events, from the annual Breakfast with Members of the European Parliament and young Romani, to discussions on making EU funds and financial instruments work for
Roma, the presentation of a report on environmental injustice and many more.

The Romani Week is hosted by several MEPs and co-organised by the European Parliament, the European Commission and Roma civil society.


OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

ERGO Network voices major steps to take to achieve true leadership and participation and to combat antigypsyism at the 2019 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Our Policy and Research Coordinator Jelena Jovanovic recently took part in the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) annual human rights conference: the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM). She read a statement on Roma participation and leadership and presented the work on developing concrete measures to combat antigypsyism, measures the Alliance against Antigypsyism proposes to the EU institutions and EU Member States as well as Candidate Countries.

During the working session ‘Roma and Sinti participation in public and political life’, Jelena Jovanovic spoke about participation as a human right and pointed out that committing to the empowerment of a systematically disempowered group to achieve true participation in various societal and political affairs would play a crucial role in advancing democratic governance, the rule of law and socio-economic development. ERGO Network called upon the OSCE Participating States to develop measures with direct Roma empowerment as an objective, to envision and foster quality participation at all levels and all stages of policy making, to develop national policies addressing Roma participation by positive actions, including in administrative personnel, while being conscious that Roma should not only be part of processes narrowly defined as ‘Roma issues’.

We also urged the Participating States to devise tools and resources for empowering grassroots organisations, to develop indicators to measure the frequency and quality of Roma participation and leadership and to contribute to diversifying Roma participation while embracing an understanding that besides ‘women’s’ and ‘youth issues’, Roma women and youth have diverse expertise and should also occupy high level positions. ERGO strongly emphasised that the same understanding should be applied to other social groups on the intersections of different categories of difference such as sexuality, class, disability, geographical location. Marginalised groups’ representation affects other people in similar positions to get more confidence to voice their needs.

During the side event focusing on “Racism, intolerance and violence against Roma and Sinti in the OSCE area”, we explained challenges with regards to legislation, policy development and concrete interventions. Many civil society organisations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, United Nations and other institutions and organisations highlight the persistent antigypsyism at all levels of European society, despite the efforts undertaken under strategies and action plans for Roma and national legislative frameworks against discrimination and hate crime.

ERGO Network called upon OSCE participating states to take stock of the situation and adopt complementary policy measures to respond to the challenges experienced by Roma in Europe. We suggested specific measures in terms of recognising present and historical responsibility and improving institutional frameworks, collecting data and monitoring antigypsyism and enabling access to justice.

You can read here our statements on participation and leadership and on combating antigypsyism and the ODIHR Third Status Report from 2018 focusing on participation in public and political life.


New school year for OTAHARIN

New school year for Otaharin

102 elementary school students in Bijeljina (Bosnia & Herzegovina) received school bags, materials and textbooks from  ERGO Network member Otaharin as an incentive to study well in this new school year.

One of the most important activities of the Association is emphasizing the enrollment of children in the first grade of school. This year, we enrolled 18 Roma children and organized a preparatory program for them during the summer months. Also, as every year, we support 12 high school students through purchasing of textbooks, school supplies and school bags.

Having a baby, needing to beg or to do housework are just some why young people drop out of school early. Our goal is to teach both children and parents that primary education is compulsory and that as many children as possible should return to school. The place for children should be the school, not the streets.

The provision of textbooks, school bags and school supplies was supported by our long-standing partners and donors CARE Deutschland e.V., Save the Children in the North West Balkans and Schüler Helfen Leben.

In September Otaharin also had the honour of hosting a delegation of the Parish of the Protestant Church from Grossberen (Germany).

For more than 15 years, representatives of this parish organise collections for the most vulnerable residents of Bijeljina and Živinice. This humanitarian aid is distributed to people in social need in cooperation with the Red Cross of the City of Bijeljina, the Centre for Social Work in Bijeljina and Otaharin.

The delegation of the Parish pays special attention to the first graders of Roma origin who, in addition to humanitarian packages, are also provided with special gifts for the beginning of the school. This year more than 250 children from the City of Živinice received humanitarian aid.

Our association and many socially disadvantaged families owe great gratitude to these humane people for their dedicated humanitarian work and dedication.

Humanity, as one of the qualities we can rarely feel and see, is shown year after year by our friends, representatives of the Parish of the Protestant Church of Grossberen. For 16 years, these good people have been collecting clothes, hygiene products, school supplies and toys for the socially disadvantaged people in the towns of Bijeljina and Živinice.