MINELRES: Fwd: ERIO: Positive Dialogue between Romani and European Union representatives

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Thu Jun 19 18:18:15 2003

Original sender: Roma Network <romale@zahav.net.il>

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From: ERIO <erio-brussels@skynet.be>
Avenue Edouard Lacomble 17, 2nd floor
B-1040 Brussels

Tel:  + 32 (0)2 733 34 62
Fax:  + 32 (0)2 733 38 75
E-mail: erio-brussels@skynet.be


"Positive Dialogue between Romani and European Union representatives"

June 16, 2003

Today, at its offices in Brussels, the European Roma Information Office
(ERIO) held a first successful meeting between European Romani
representatives (from both accession and member states) and members of
the European Parliament on the "Future of Roma Policy in Europe".

MEP Anna Karamanou spoke on the complexities of the problems that
European Romani communities face, as well as the opportunities for
concrete co-operation and integration of Roma based on the European
Union's institutional position and resources. She recognized the chronic
socio-economic problems that Roma face, whilst at the same time,
emphasizing legal and cultural factors (anti-Gypsyism) that inhibit
successful integration of Roma. 

Also present was Ulla Sandbaek, an MEP who recently returned from
Slovakia. Ms. Sandbaek raised the issue of the post-accession scenario,
when member states will be responsible for accessing regional funding,
and in addition, she emphasized the problem of local authorities’
reluctance to secure funds for Romani projects. 

The Chair of ERIO, Miranda Vuolasranta suggested an effort be made
within European Union bodies to monitor more effectively the use of
funds specially earmarked for Romani communities. During the dialogue,
Rudko Kawczynski of the Roma National Congress raised the issue of the
humanitarian crisis facing Romani refugees from Kosovo, in particular,
the current situation on the Macedonian-Greek border, where over 600
refugees, many of them women and children, have been camped for one
month, and denied protection from the international community. On
Thursday, June 19th, 2003, the European Parliament will hold a special
session on the situation of Kosovo's refugees. 

In response to many of the points raised in the discussion, the MEPs
present agreed to take further concrete actions to sensitize European
political bodies about Roma by: 
- proposing an information campaign to educate Europe about it's Romani
- creating an informal working group on Romani issues within the
Parliament (the secretariat for this proposed group would be in the
- raising the situation of the Roma refugees on the Macedonian-Greek
border within the Parliament.  

ERIO believes that dialogue and communication form the basis of
effective and positive change in the Romani communities of Europe.

The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) aims at intensifying the
political and public discussion on Roma by providing factual and
in-depth information as well as promoting the rights of Romani citizens
in the whole European society. 

ERIO is neither a fundraising nor a grant-giving organization, but,
rather an advocacy organization which promotes the inclusion of Roma and
their equal participation within European societies.

ERIO executes its activities based on funds provided by Cordaid,
Stichting Doen and Kerk in Actie and has a promise to be funded by the
Open Society Institute as well. 

For more information contact:   
Joeri Hamvas – ERIO administrator 
Tel. + 32 273 33 462