Commissioner Jourová, awarding Andalusia prize for the EU Capital of Diversity and Inclusion: Roma are hardest hit during crises
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Values and Transparency and EC Vice-President, has presented the Commission's awards for the European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity. The winners from five Member States - Croatia, Germany, Romania, Spain and Sweden - were awarded for their work to build a fairer society by supporting diversity and integration in terms of gender, racial and ethnic origin, religion and belief, disability, age, LGBTIQ rights, and integration of Romani people.
The aim of the award is to highlight cities and regions throughout the EU that lead by example on inclusion policy. The winner in the category of cities over 50 000 inhabitants for their strategies to promote diversity and integration is Cologne, Germany, followed by Gothenburg, Sweden and Barcelona, Spain.
Croatia's Koprivnica is the winner in the category of cities with less than 50 000 inhabitants for their strategy for supporting people living with disabilities, followed by Germany's Ingelheim and Antequera, Spain. The cities of Andalusia in Spain, Grindinari in Romania and Gothenburg again in Sweden won special awards for including Romani people.
"The last two years have been a particularly difficult period for us. We've experienced global pandemic, and currently we are witnessing war returning to Europe. It has been proven all the more that in times of crisis, vulnerable groups are particularly hard off, and I mean the biggest European minority here, the Roma," Jourová said in her speech at the ceremony, adding that out of a total of 82 applications received, 26 applications had been for the category of the inclusion of Romani people.
"Today we are expressing appreciation for these cities that are setting an example for the protection of the dignity and freedom of everybody in our communities. When we celebrate these winners, we commemorate the importance of initiatives supporting the values that represent our Union at every level," said Jourová, who expressed the Commission's appreciation to Andalusia especially for supporting Romani people in it centers for education, showing them positive role models and making use of mediators who are themselves Romani.
"This is a great inspiration for others," Jourová added, who also dedicated her speech to the 2020-2030 EU Roma Strategic Framework. “We congratulate all the winners of these first European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity, as well as all 82 local authorities that responded to the Commission's call to promote and support diversity. Today, they have shown in the best possible way how to promote equality and diversity together and how we can do our best to be inclusive of all,” said the Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli.
The European Commission announced the new award at the end of last year under the name "European Capitals of Inclusion and Diversity". The prize is announced to support towns, municipalities and regions that develop specific activities supporting equal opportunity, diversity and inclusive approaches even in times when in some parts of Europe, the tendency to bigotry, discrimination and intolerance is rising in society.
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