ERGO Network has a new website!

With this newsletter, we present you our new website – more structured, more colourful and with a lot more content than before. We will regularly update the website with news from our members and institutional developments, upload documents, inform about ERGO projects and campaigns and update ERGO’s membership list.

Browse through ERGO’s and our members policy papers and find institutional policy documents on the Resources page.

Find out which organisations belong to the network on the Membership page.

Read more about ERGO’s work in the fields of Monitoring, Networking, Campaigning and Empowering.

We hope that you like the new online portal of ERGO Network and will be a regular visitor.

Antigypsyism at local level – recommendations from Romania

For the first time on 6 September 2017 in Ploiesti, ERGO together with its member Centrul de Resurse pentru Incluziune Sociala CRIS from Romania brought the topic of antigypsyism to the local level. Among the speakers were the Head of the European Commission’s Roma unit from DG Justice, Szabolcs Schmidt, representatives of the Romanian government and key actors from Romania who work on Roma issues.

ERGO’s Director Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova highlighted the importance of bringing up the issue of antigypsism at local level and of supporting institutions to understand its long term effects and its implications.

The mayor of the city of Ploiesti committed to reintegrate Roma people in his region.

Based on their experiences with working on the CLLD process, trainings with Local Action Group and their engagement at local level Asociatia Cris wrote a comprehensive recommendation paper addressed to the Mayor of Ploiesti with the aim of improving the situation of the local communities Mimiu and Catun.

The three main recommendations proposed are:

  • A more coherent design of intervention measures
  • A stronger role and participation of Roma
  • Combatting antigypsyism at the centre of policies.

To read the full paper with detailed recommendations from our member please click here.

4th Dialogue Meeting with Roma and Traveller Civil Society

ERGO took part in the 4th Dialog Meeting of the Council of Europe (CoE) with Roma and Traveller civil society from 18-19 Sept 2017 in Strasbourg. Carmen Tanasie presented our research on the Youth Guarantee from 2016 and our current fact-finding work in the field of Roma youth employment.

The main topic of the meeting was to find ways to ensure that there is a bridge from education to employment for young Roma and Travellers.

Representatives of the Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM) from different countries, civil servants of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, experts, international organizations such as ILO and about 20 representatives of Roma and Traveller civil society took part in the meeting.

For one and a half days the participants discussed initiatives and projects of different organisations and institutions and identified possible solutions to improve the transition of young Roma from education to employment.  The participants agreed for example that Roma entrepreneurship is one of the possible solutions to end discrimination and exclusion of Roma on the labour market.

The Council of Europe together with the civil society representatives formulated 9 recommendations that are still under revision and will be presented at the upcoming CAHROM meeting in October.

Roma civil society working group meeting in Brussels

From 20-22 September, ERGO’s members involved in our Annual Work Programme under DG Employment, met in Brussels for their third Roma Civil Society Working Group Meeting. Important issues were on the agenda: The group gave input into ERGO’s work programme on employment and social inclusion for the next four years, evaluated the cooperation of the past years together with an external evaluator and built relations with desk officers of the European Commission Directorate Generals for Employment and Social Affairs and Regional and Urban Policy.

ERGO’s members from Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia are cooperating with the ERGO Network secretariat in Brussels since 2014 in the framework of the project ‘Roma Included: Roma recognised as equal stakeholders in the policies targeting them’. In 2017, the organisations continue to coordinate national Roma coalitions in their countries, build the capacity of grassroots NGOs and Local Action Groups to benefit from the community-led local development process and take part in a common research project on Roma youth employment. The results of this year’s work will be disseminated by the end of the year.

Calling the European Parliament to sanction hate speech

ERGO Network sent an open letter to the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, to express our unease about racist speeches against Roma people, equal citizens of the EU, which were delivered by MEPs Mara Bizzotto and Angelo Ciocca during the plenary debate on International Roma Day, April 6, 2017.

These speeches happened even though the European Parliament clearly prohibits the use of defamatory, racist and xenophobic language in parliamentary speeches in January and increased the sanctions against MEPs using hate speech. Mr Korwin-Mikke’s discriminatory remarks towards women in March, for example, led to his 10 day suspension from parliamentary activities and 30 days loss of daily allowance. However, these rules were not applied in the case of the MEPs Mara Bizzotto and Angelo Ciocca, neither in the case of the British MEP, Tim Aker who stated that Roma immigrants from Eastern Europe would come to the UK as labour migrants and “alienate” the country.

These antigypsyist statements coming from MEPs elected to represent the interests of their constituencies – including Roma – at the EU level are in contradiction with the respect to human rights and fundamental freedom, democracy and rule of law has and have a direct impact on integrity of Roma people.

Such statements must not be without consequences. This defamatory racist language in the European Parliament has to be strictly ostracized in all cases. We are deeply concerned that if such actions are not handled according to the Rules of Procedure provided by Article 11 (3), this trend might see a further increase in the run up towards the upcoming European elections in 2019 and also increase the use of antigypsyist rhetoric at national level. Therefore, it is vital that the Parliament upholds its rules of procedure and also sends a clear message to national parliaments that the use of racist language and hate speech against minorities is not tolerated in a society where all people are equal under the values of the European Union.

ERGO also supports the proposal to set up a permanent monitoring system in the Parliament to report the use of discriminatory language and behaviour and to support the consistent application of the Parliament’s rules and relevant sanctions. Such a system could provide support for the Bureau in future incidents, which are unfortunately likely to reoccur.

You can find the letter to Antonio Tajani here.