Which steps towards European policies against antigypsyism
The aim of the seminar, organised by Open Society European Institute on 15 November 2016, was to explore how successful policy initiatives around education and reconciliation can be systematized and disseminated throughout Europe by fighting antigypsyism.
The event gathered representatives of governments, European institutions and Roma civil society to discuss in which direction policies designed for Roma are going and how they foresee to combat the negative rhetoric against Roma.
The Deputy Director of ERGO Network, Gabriela Hrabanova, highlighted the importance of the civil society’s role in monitoring hate speech and discrimination by having the tools to address and fight antigypsyism at the local level. She stressed the importance of independent watchdogs organizations in Europe, which, when it comes to Roma discrimination, are missing. In support of those arguments, ERGO Network presented the reference paper against Antigypsyism of the Alliance Against Antigypsyism, written in cooperation with experts and endorsed by over 100 NGOs across Europe.
Find out more about the key aspects and dimension of antigypsism – a specific form of racism towards Roma at www.antigypsyim.eu.
The concluding remarks were done by Ethel Brooks – Associate Professor at Rutgers University, who stated “What do governments say about Anti-Gypsyism? What has been done? A lot has been said but now it is time for implementation”, “The time has come to deliver not just to talk”. Another remark made in the conclusions is that there is a need to strengthen the alliances among stakeholders and civil society and to start implementing the existing policies and legislation on human rights and hate speech and build a firm stand of political leaders against Anti-Gypsyism.
A new united Europe for people
ERGO Network is one of 177 European and national civil society organizations and trade unions to sign a common statement calling for a new direction for the European Union.
The statement is directed to the 27 EU leaders who are going to meet for an informal Summit in Bratislava on the 16th of September, where the leaders are supposed to address the growing gap between the citizens and the EU in the wake of the UK referendum.
The common statement has been adopted to show a common position demanding leaders to fight back against populism, social inequalities, climate changes etc.
For more information read the full statement and see a full list of signatories.
On June 27 2016 the European Commission published their Communication on the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies in 2015 and reviews, for the first time, Roma integration measures put in place under the Council Recommendation 2013. The report is based on information submitted by Member States about their efforts made to integrate Roma, supplemented by input from civil society. ERGO Network concludes that the report clearly indicates a lack of action in crucial areas – also in those Member States with a significant number of Roma. Therefore, ERGO Network supports the urgent call of the European Commission on Member States to address the key priorities and step up their efforts.
In this note we present a brief examination of the European Commission’s (EC) assessment and indicate how it can be used by Roma Civil Society in their national advocacy.
The 2016 report consists of two parts: a summary ‘Communication’ – which presents a brief overview of the measures reported by the Member States, in thematic order- and a ‘staff working document’ that presents country-by-country assessments and highlights examples of practices in the various thematic areas.
In the country fiches the European Commission presents the information provided by the Member States along with its own assessment. In many cases, the assessment is critical and points to a lack of action or indicates that Member States still face considerable challenges to realize the potential of the measures they reported. Therefore, although in the first part of the report (the ‘communication’) the overview tables appear praise the Member States for taking certain measures, a closer look at the individual assessment of each country’s performance, shows a much more critical perspective. This critical perspective is also clearly reflected in the Conclusions (pp. 16 – 18) that call on the Member States to urgently address a number of key priorities.
In this note, ERGO Network points to a number of conspicuous gaps in Member States’ performance. Also, we present some critical remarks on the reporting process and framework. It aims to invite ERGO Network members and other civil society actors to highlight the Commission’s assessment and recommendations before national governments, and to attentively read the country-fiches (pp. 37 – 98) to verify the information reported by Member States and, where necessary, supplement the Commission’s assessment with additional critical notes.
Find the full report here: Member states need to step up their efforts