New Solutions to Old Problems

New solutions to old problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma integration

Over 1 million Euros allocated for Roma civil society empowerment

A new project of our network has been approved for funding through the EEA and Norway Grants for Regional Cooperation: New solutions to old problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma integration (2018-1-0697) focuses on the priority sectors social inclusion, youth employment and poverty reduction and started in August 2020.

The project brings together ERGO Network members from EEA/Norway Grants beneficiary states, in total 11 partners or one third of all ERGO members! While the project will be led by Nevo Parudimos from Romania, other partners are coming from Lithuania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

The ERGO Network secretariat will support the overall coordination and management of the project and will lead on its EU advocacy activities.

“New Solutions to old Problems” (NSOP) aims at supporting Roma communities in adapting and implementing inclusion and empowerment projects that have already been tried and tested successfully by other partners. At the same time we want to create a more favourable environment for bottom-up approaches to Roma integration, breaking the vicious circle of cynicism that ‘nothing can be changed’.

There has been progress in identifying the causes of social exclusion of Roma, but when it comes to designing solutions, we face a general paralysis on how to tackle the multi-layered challenges. Top down approaches – developed far from the communities – leave little room for innovation. Practitioners agree that grassroots approaches work and bring good results for social inclusion and human rights, but most donors are still reluctant to support such small-scale initiatives.

The results of the project will be partly tangible, partly intangible and are linked to the three work packages Peer2Peer Partnerships, Capacity-Building and Advocacy:

  1. Promoting community-led projects:
  • 10 projects based on community needs that have been identified as good practices in other organisations are adapted and implemented
  • 20-30 good practice examples of local Roma inclusion and empowerment projects are identified and disseminated with ideas for adaptation and upscaling
  • Roma community organising and Roma civil society promoted through film and story-telling
  1. Increased capacity of Roma CSOs:
  • Staff of Roma CSOs trained in project and organisational management
  • Toolkit on project and organisational management for CSOs published
  • Transparency and accountability criteria implemented by CSOs
  1. Favorable funding environment:
  • Study on importance of bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion produced and disseminated
  • Analysis of funding programmes on Roma inclusion conducted and disseminated
  • Donors more aware of the importance of bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion

Check out the project website for more information and follow our facebook page for updates!

Call for revised Council Recommendation on Roma

In the context of the adoption of the new EU Strategic Framework on Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation by the European Commission, ERGO Network has sent a letter to the European Council, the German EU Presidency and the European Commission to call for the adoption of a revised Council Recommendation on Roma under the German Presidency and to share ERGO Network’s recommendations for essential elements and thematic targets of a strong Post 2020 Framework.


Dear President of the European Council, Mr Charles Michel,

Dear Federal Minister of the Interior of Germany, Mr Horst Seehofer,

Dear Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr Hubertus Heil,

Dear Commissioner for Equality, Ms Helena Dalli,

26 August 2020

In the context of the adoption of the new EU Strategic Framework on Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation by the European Commission, ERGO Network would like to welcome the initiative of the European Commission to accelerate and revise the Council Recommendation on Roma and call on the German Presidency to adopt it without delay during the German Presidency chairmanship of the EPSCO Council.

While we have been supporting, as you know, a binding EU Strategic Framework for Roma equality, inclusion and participation, we are aware of the lack of political feasibility of such an initiative at this present times. We reiterate therefore the important role of the German Presidency, and the European Commission in ensuring that the future EU Roma Framework and national Roma strategies include common minimum standards and targets combating structural and systemic antigypsyism and discrimination and ensure equality of rights and access to goods and services, in line with EU law and policies and international human rights commitments endorsed by all EU Member States. We consider that in line with its priorities on overcoming the consequences of the coronavirus crisis for the long-term as well as economic and social recovery, should actively promote the boosting of the Roma inclusion process, across all the EU Member States, by initiating the discussions in the Council working groups, leading to the adoption of a Council Recommendation on Roma.

With view to the upcoming European Commission Communication on the EU Roma Framework and the Council Recommendation, we take the opportunity to share with you our contribution for the two policy processes.

We count on your commitment and tenacity to keep these items high on your agenda and your negotiations with Member States.

I remain at your disposal, should you have further inquiries.

Gabriela Hrabanova,

Director, ERGO Network


Download the letter.

Download the Annex: Essential elements and thematic targets 2020 EU Roma Framework