Fifteen anti-racist and Roma NGOs call on EU countries to commit to updating their Romani Integration Strategies after 2020
Last week a coalition of 15 anti-racist and Romani organizations called on the Council of the EU and on governments across Europe to pledge to update their Roma Integration Strategies beyond 2020. The European Commission has also submitted a communication regarding such a commitment to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament.
“The Commission and Parliament have clearly positioned themselves for continued investment into Roma Inclusion after 2020. Now is the time for national governments to do the same, to strengthen their fight against antigypsyism and to update and improve their strategies in line with community needs by working alongside Romani civil society,” said Gabriela Hrabaňová, the director of the European Roma Grassroots Organizations network (ERGO).
The Commission's proposal emphasizes crucial elements for improving national Roma Integration Strategies, including the need to include Romani people in mainstream policies, to combat antigypsyism, to involve Romani people in these processes, to address the different needs of diverse Romani communities, to improve the process of data collection, and to clarify the aims of the national integration strategies and the methods used to assess them. “Until now, Roma Inclusion plans in EU Member States and accession countries have failed to include measures to fight antigypsyism, and have largely failed to significantly improve the situation for Roma across Europe,” said Ðorđe Jovanović, President of the European Roma Rights Centre.
The organizations are asking European countries to acknowledge both contemporary and historic forms of antigypsyism as a specific form of racism and to introduce measures to address it. They are also asking for antigypsyist speech in institutions, public discussions and public services to be prosecuted and for the necessary institutional and legal mechanisms to be introduced so that hate crimes and hate speech can be prosecuted.
The organizations are also emphasizing the need for the fight against antigypsyism to become a shared effort, as they perceive it to be one of the main causes of the exclusion of Romani people from society. The EU institutions must arrange for the next budget cycle of the EU (the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027), which is currently being negotiated, to take account of the political priorities of the EU's Framework for the national Romani Integration Strategies.
The list of organizations supporting this call includes the Alliance against Antigypsyism, the Central Council of German Sinti & Roma, the European Network Against Racism, the European Public Health Alliance, the European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network, the European Roma Rights Centre, FAGiC Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluña, the Jaw Dikh Foundation, La Voix de Roms, Nakeramos, Nevo Parudimos, Roma Active Albania, Romanipe, the Roma Education Fund, and the RROMA Regional Roma Educational Youth Association (Macedonia). ROMEA is a founding member of the Alliance against Antigypsyism.
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