Urgent Call to stop the decline of Roma Civil Society
Hereby, we the undersigned, call upon the European Commission, donors and stakeholders involved in the inclusion of Roma to take the necessary measures to ensure that EU policies, funding priorities and projects fulfil the objective of helping Roma become equal European citizens.
The inclusion of Roma remains a litmus test for some of the core European values: democracy, human rights and social inclusion. Equal Roma rights and citizenship are high on the list of EU priorities. Unfortunately, much remains to be done for the Union's strategies to yield the expected results, while the reality at the local level still provides a picture of inequality and discrimination. The exclusion of Roma represents a serious threat for the well-being and stability of European societies. Not the least, increasing exclusion in some of the newer Member States will continue to contribute to Roma migration towards Western Europe.
Roma inclusion policies have not led to the expected results, not only due to an absence of political will, but also due to the lack of fine-tuning to the realities of the local level, as well as to inadequate Roma expertise on the structures and functioning of intergovernmental organisations and on the manner to approach the donors that finance Roma projects. Low rates of funds absorption in most Member States with a significant Roma population should prompt EU institutions to engage in a debate over the reform of the current EU programmes in the field. European Funds have failed to produce a significant difference in the life of the Roma communities and have even proven detrimental to some of the Roma NGOs.
The fast disappearance of credible watch-dog Roma organisations is one such example. These watch-dog NGOs are paramount for the EU Roma Framework Strategy to function properly. The signatories of this document believe that all stakeholders should be committed to providing long term support for a sustainable professional and independent network of Roma organisations, able and willing to monitor and evaluate the activities of major intergovernmental organisations, national governments, and EU institutions.
With this joint appeal we would therefore like to call on the European Commission to launch a Roma Community Programme. In this context, we ask on the European Commission to:
• Launch a targeted strand, within the EU 2020 programming period, that shall be destined to under-represented groups, including Roma;
• Involve Roma Civil Society in the design of this Community Programme, preferably following the model of the Citizenship Programme or Youth in Action (EACEA).
We would also like to ask donors to commit themselves to supporting this Community Programme, during all its phases, including design, development, and implementation. We furthermore appeal to the Roma Civil Society to unite and constructively provide input for enhancing this Community Programme.
This joint appeal is initiated by:Ruus Dijksterhuis Director ERGO Network
Belgium/Netherlands, Valeriu Nicolae President Policy Centre for Roma and
Minorities Romania, Lili Makaveeva Director Integro Association Bulgaria,
Adriatik Hasantari Director Roma Active Albania, Mustafa Jakupov Director RROMA
Macedonia, Kumar Vishwanathan Director Vzájemné Soužití CzechRepublic, TernYpe
International Youth Network, Valery Novoselsky - Roma Virtual Network.
And co-signed by the following Members of the European Parliament:
Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL)
Ioan Enciu (S&D)
Jean Lambert (GUE/NGL)
Czech - Česky