ERGO Network’s Annual Members Meeting 2021

ERGO Network’s Annual Members Meeting 2021

Having the ongoing pandemic in mind, this year’s ERGO Network Annual Members’ Meeting took place once more online.

This year’s AMM started with the Data Collection Working Group on the 3rd of December, led by Isabela Mihalache, Senior Policy Officer, helping the participants to understand better the role of data collection in the delivery of our advocacy work. The focus was on the monitoring and data collection under the new EU Roma Framework, the new Roma Civil Monitoring, as well as brainstorming on the needs of Roma Civil Society to engage effectively in the monitoring of national Roma strategic frameworks.

From 6-7 December 2021, ERGO Network met on Zoom with the membership to share updates, and facilitate learning and exchange.

The first day started with a welcome from Director Gabriela Hrabaňová, Board co-chair Stanislav Daniel and vice-chair Adriatik Hasantari, highlighting the energy, flexibility and collectiveness of the members once again and their motivation to work under such uncertain conditions.

During this day, the ERGO strategic pillars 2021 were presented and participants attended breakout rooms designed to provide them with updates and highlights of 2021. Each of the rooms, moderated by staff and members of ERGO Network, tackled ERGO’s core working areas, such as advocacy for strong Roma policies, Roma social inclusion and poverty policies, as well as projects such as Romani Women – Power of Change.

The second day kicked off with the Employment Working Group. Amana Ferro and Carmen Tănasie from the ERGO Network Secretariat in Brussels provided participants with updates regarding the state of play of current and upcoming employment work, covering the main EU policy frameworks and the specific actions under the Youth Guarantee and ERGO Network’s Employment Campaign. Members then exchanged about their work and priorities on Roma quality employment.

This session was followed by the Governance Working Group led by director Gabriela Hrabaňová, where updates about the new ERGO, move of the seat of the organization officially to Belgium and procedures were shared.

Towards the end of the day, the membership had the opportunity to work on a new communication strategy with ERGO’s new communication officer Ana Rozanova. This was followed by a presentation about the new initiative and campaign called “Decade against Antigypsyism” presented by Mustafa Jakupov, policy and project coordinator at ERGO. Members had the opportunities to familiarize themselves with the idea and brainstorm about the kick-off next year.

This year’s Annual Members’ Meeting concluded with wishes for the forthcoming holiday season and hopes for meeting in person. Also, the members were reminded about the next day and ERGO Network’s online roundtable “Funding of bottom-up approaches: Ways forward to support Roma inclusion”, organized in the framework of the project “New Solutions to Old Problems”.

ERGO Network’s Learning Academy

ERGO Network’s Learning Academy

What are the key challenges in organising Roma communities? How do you identify a successful local leader?

These were two of many questions discussed during ERGO Network’s Learning Academy in Varna, Bulgaria in September 2021. The Academy gave the partners of the project “New solutions to old problems – exchange of new types of approaches in the field of Roma integration” a chance to finally come together face to face after 18 months of online meetings.

The participants of the Academy shared their knowledge on leadership, community organising and building trust. The discussions were documented by the team of visual recorders 500 Markers, who have put the outcomes into these two videos.

What are the challenges in organising Roma communities?

Is it the lack of trust?
Antigypsyism?
Or maybe the people who use the community for self-interest?

These are the challenges. But what are the solutions to them?

What is a leader? How do you recognize one? And even more important – how can we develop local leadership qualities?

This video is based on the workshop on community organizing delivered by Marina Tota from the European Community Organizing Network.

The videos were created as a part of ERGO Network’s Learning Academy. The Academy is funded by the European Commission through the EaSI programme of DG EMPL and is part of the project New Solutions To Old Problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma integration”, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.

 

ERGO Network Annual Policy Conference 2021

Implementing the EU Roma Strategic Framework. Roma access to Minimum Income

This past 23 November, ERGO Network organised its Annual Policy Conference, once again online. This year’s was dedicated to exploring how to improve Roma access and take-up of adequate minimum income schemes, as well as taking stock of the implementation of the EU and National Roma Frameworks.

Access to adequate minimum income and social protection is the cornerstone of the European Social Model, and it needs to be guaranteed also for Europe’s Roma. In a cash-based economy, providing people with sufficient financial resources is a necessary pre-requisite for fighting poverty and social exclusion, as well as for enabling individuals to reach their full potential and to access rights and opportunities on the labour market and in society. During the recovery from the devastating economic crisis due to the pandemic, this is today more important than ever.

The event launched ERGO Network’s research report on “Roma access to adequate minimum income”, based on five national case studies carried out in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. The main findings and recommendations aim to kick-start a debate on how to improve the adequacy and take-up on minimum income and social protection by Roma in Europe, including in the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, and the foreseen Council Recommendation on Minimum Income (2022).

The Key Messages of the report are:

  1. In 4 out of 5 countries, minimum income benefits are inadequate.
  2. Governments favour a punitive approach over personalised, inclusive support.
  3. Complex application processes and requirements deter many Roma from applying.
  4. Public Employment Services are ill-equipped to deal with Roma applicants.
  5. Roma minimum income recipients are stigmatised and face antigypsyism.
  6. Roma communities and civil society must be involved as equal partners.
  7. EU action is needed: a Framework Directive, a European Year, better control of EU funds

After advocating effectively for the adoption of a strong EU Roma Strategic Framework up to 2030, it is essential to now continue to monitor its implementation and the adoption of corresponding National Frameworks in EU Member States and Western Balkan countries. Unfortunately, the targets set out in the framework are often too low or non-ambitious, and while participation is made more visible than in the previous period, there are very few commitments made in this area, and the implementation of the EU framework remains entirely up to national governments.

The second part of the event took stock of the status of adoption of the National Roma Strategic Frameworks and the engagement and participation of (pro-)Roma civil society in the drafting of the National Roma Frameworks. In the absence of a binding character of the EU Framework, the event assessed how serious is the commitment of governments to tackle antigypsyism and improve living conditions of Roma, while it also emphasised the role of the Roma civil society and the Roma Civil Monitor in monitoring the National Roma Frameworks, and that of Equality Bodies in enforcing the fight against discrimination and antigypsyism.

The event ended with concluding remarks on the need to increase complementarity between the EU Roma Strategic Framework and the EU Action Plan Against Racism in tackling antigypsyism and racism against Roma by Member States, as well as ensure better synergies between different relevant EU frameworks, and increase the emphasis on social rights as more effective means to tackle antigypsyism, poverty and social exclusion of Roma.

The conference was very well attended with over 60 participants, and it brought together ERGO Network national members from the grassroots level in many European countries, as well as other national practitioners, European civil society organisations, EU policy-makers from the European Parliament and the European Commission, and other stakeholders.

If you attended this event, or watched the recording, don’t forget to let us know what you thought about it by filling in this Evaluation Form. Thank you!

See more:

– Agenda of the event

Full recording of the Facebook livestream

– ERGO Network minimum income research report

– Photo album

Conference Report

Visuals provided by 500 markers.

For more information about this event, please don’t hesitate to contact us: info@ergonetwork.org

ERGO Network’s Event on Funding of Bottom-up Approaches

Funding of bottom-up approaches:

Ways forward to support Roma inclusion

9 December 2021, 10am – 12pm, Online

Join us in our discussion on bottom-up approaches to funding for Roma Inclusion!

Background

In the past 20 years, Roma communities across Europe have seen very few improvements to their living situation, even though many public and private, international, and national funding programmes were aimed at Roma inclusion and empowerment.

One of the reasons for the lack of success of such funding programmes is the application of a top-down approach that does not consider the realities and voices of Roma at the grassroots level and comes with a heavy administrative burden.

All evaluations of the last EU Framework for National Roma Integration acknowledged that Roma communities needed to be involved in project design, implementation, and evaluation to bring about change.

This now needs to be translated into better funding programmes and regulations of public and private donors, including using more national resources for smaller projects, a prioritization of bottom-up approaches, and more support for Community-Led Local Development (CLLD).

With this event, we aim to raise donors’ awareness of the importance to give more support to bottom-up approaches, to finally improve the living situation of Roma communities on local level.

Objectives

The event will serve to launch ERGO Network’s new Analysis of funding for bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion, shedding light on the importance of bottom-up approaches and assessing funding programmes targeted at Roma inclusion.

The main findings and recommendations aim to kick-start a debate with policy makers, donors, and civil society on how to design more effective funding programmes that can lead to a real change for local Roma communities.

Participants

The conference will bring together EU policymakers from across the institutional spectrum, donors, ERGO Network members, civil society from the grassroots level, as well as other relevant EU and national stakeholders.

We’re looking forward to counting you among the participants, so that together we can build positive, sustainable, evidence-based policy solutions that work!

 

This event is kindly supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.

The project “New solutions to old problems – exchange of new type of approaches in the field of Roma integration” is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation.

Save the Date for ERGO’s Annual Members Meeting 2021

When: 6-9 December 2021

Where: Zoom Platform

Please save the date for ERGO’s Annual Members Meeting.

We will be looking back and ahead of us, building on the milestones we reached with our work until 2021, analysing where our expertise lies and how it can be generated for a greater impact.

What is it that ERGO Network wants to be engaged in during the next years? What is the follow up of our strategy building, how we ensure that the European policy making is translated on the national level? To answer all these questions we rely on the input from our members.

In this Annual Members Meeting will work under motto Think European, Promote Nationally, Act locally – to make the change!

Introducing the Decade Against Antigypsyism

The meeting will provide the first step to foresee the implementation of our new strategic pillars, while building a solid ground for our 4 years Framework partnership program with DG Justice and going beyond it.

Times of the meeting

Our Annual Members Meeting 2021 will be held online at the following times (all Brussels time):

Monday 6 December 2021

13:00-17:00 – Updates, sharing and learning

Tuesday 7 December 2021

10:00 – 11:30   –  Working groups

13:30 – 16:00  –  Building membership capacity and exchange

Wednesday 8 December 2021

09:30-13:30 – Vision for ERGO

Thursday 9 December 2021

10:00-12:00 – Round table on fundraising

The agenda will be shared in the coming weeks. 

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Tel: +32 (0)2 8931049

info@ergonetwork.org

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