Strasbourg, 6 April 2004 MG-S-ROM (2004) 5

GROUP OF SPECIALISTS ON ROMA, GYPSIES AND TRAVELLERS
(MG-S-ROM)

17th meeting
Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg

29-30 March 2004

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LIST OF DECISIONS ADOPTED BY THE GROUP

I. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA AND THE PREVIOUS REPORT

      The Group adopted the annotated agenda of the 17th meeting [MG-S-ROM (2004)1 rev], as well as the report of its 16th meeting [MG-S-ROM (2003)14] after correction of figures in para. 12 - as proposed by Mr. Drobež (Slovenia).

      The Chair requested member states, which have not yet followed the procedure as regards the nomination of their Specialist, to send as soon as possible at least two CVs to the Secretariat for nomination by the CDMG.

II. DRAFT RECOMMENDATION ON IMPROVING THE HOUSING CONDITIONS FOR ROMA/GYPSIES AND TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE

    The Group took note that an ad hoc working group had met on 27 February 2004 to discuss amendments proposed by governments, non-governmental organisations and representatives of Roma and Travellers. It took note of the meeting report and of the new draft recommendation [MG-S-ROM (2004)2].

    Following additional amendments and discussion during the meeting, the Group adopted the appended Draft Recommendation on Improving the Housing Conditions for Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe. The revised draft recommendation was sent with new reference [MG-S-ROM (2004)6] by the Secretariat to the CDMG for discussion and/or approval at its next meeting to be held in Strasbourg on 12-14 May 2004.

III. DRAFT RECOMMENDATION ON APPROPRIATE ACCESS OF ROMA AND TRAVELLERS TO PUBLIC HEALTH CARE

    The Group took note of written comments submitted by Bulgaria and Germany concerning the Draft Recommendation on appropriate access of Roma and Travellers to public health care.

    The Group took note of the proposed amendments and suggestions made during the meeting by the Secretariat of the Health Division, as well as by members of the Group,

    The Group fixed a deadline (15 April) for member states to submit additional written comments. Following this deadline, the Secretary of the MG-S-ROM will meet with the Secretariat of the Health Division in order to revise the aforementioned draft recommendation. The new revised version will be forwarded to the Group for discussion and/or approval at its next meeting.

      IV. FORCED RETURN OF ROMA TO SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

    The Group took note of the presentations made by Mr. Alan Phillips, author of the report “Roma returnees to Serbia and Montenegro”, whose responsibility?”, who highlighted the main conclusions of his report and of a recent visit to Serbia and Montenegro. Mr. Klaus Krainz, Chair of the Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Legal Aspects of Territorial Asylum, Refugees and Stateless Persons (CAHAR), informed the Group about the draft opinion adopted by CAHAR regarding Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1633 (2003) - Forced returns of Roma from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, to Serbia and Montenegro from Council of Europe member states.

    The Group held a general discussion on the subject and adopted the appended provisional opinion [MG-S-ROM (2004)7].

      V. DRAFT RECOMMENDATION ON POLICIES TOWARDS ROMA/GYPSIES IN EUROPE – INCLUDING A CHAPTER ON MONITORING AND EVALUATION

    The Group took note of written amendments submitted by Bulgaria and Germany concerning the Draft Recommendation on Policies towards Roma/Gypsies in Europe.

    The Group took note of the power-point presentation made by the Chair concerning “Government policies and strategies towards Roma communities in comparative perspective”, as well as of the Co-ordinator’s presentation concerning amendments to various draft recommendations received from other sectors of the Council of Europe.

    The Group held a general discussion and decided to include in the draft recommendation a third chapter “Monitoring and evaluating the strategy” in addition to existing chapters “Developing the strategy” and “Implementing the strategy”.

    A preliminary set of recommendations on monitoring and evaluation shall be proposed to the Group after the holding of a Seminar on Monitoring and Evaluation of Governmental Policies towards Roma and Travellers to be held in Strasbourg mid-June.

    The Group also agreed that Council of Europe already adopted or upcoming specific recommendations on Roma and Travellers will be – following comments received from other sectors - revised and harmonised and eventually appended to the Recommendation on Policies towards Roma/Gypsies in Europe.

      VI. STUDY ON THE SOCIAL RIGHTS OF NOMADIC POPULATIONS IN EUROPE

    The Group took note of the presentations made by the consultants concerning their study on the social rights of nomadic populations in Europe, which included a statistical chart and a proposed draft recommendation [MG-S-ROM (2004) 4].

    The Group requested that member states, which have not sent their replies to the questionnaire yet, send them to the Secretariat as soon as possible, so that the consultants could complete their statistical analysis.

    The Group held a general discussion, focusing on the methodology used by the consultants, and proposed that the 4th phase of the study (see study outline MG-S-ROM (2002) 17 rev) be pursued, i.e. organising before the next MG-S-ROM one or maximum two fact-finding visits to member states, preferably to member states with a relatively large nomadic population. The Group insisted that the current study should be completed by thorough research work on existing documents and reports concerning access to social rights of Roma and Travellers.

VII. EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY FUND

    The Group decided to postpone the discussion on this topic to its next meeting.

VIII. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

      A) The European Forum for Roma and Travellers

      The Group took note of the information provided by the Coordinator for Activities concerning Roma/Gypsies about the most recent developments concerning the European Forum for Roma and Travellers, i.e. the adoption of the draft statutes of the future forum, as well as the discussion at the level of the Working Party as regards the draft agreement between the Council of Europe and the Association (Forum), as well as about financial aspects.

      B) The situation in Slovakia

      The Group took note of the presentation made by the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic about recent incidents involving Roma communities and the police forces in Eastern Slovakia, and explanations provided about the implications of the new social policy for the Roma population. The Group received the list of thirteen measures adopted by the Slovak government on 25 February 2004 in order to deepen positive effects on material need benefits on some group of population and their on-going implementation was distributed to the MG-S-ROM members.

C) The situation of Roma in the context of EU enlargement, including migration

        The Group postponed the discussion on this topic to its next meeting.

      D) Other themes chosen for 2004 (role of local and regional authorities in implementing national policies for Roma, Romani culture and language)

    The Group postponed the discussion on the development of the initiative to set up a network of municipalities dealing with Roma issues adopted by the Congress for Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to its next meeting.

    The Group took note of Ms. Raykova’s proposal that the MG-S-ROM should convene an ad hoc working group to discuss cultural identities of Roma and Roma-related groups, as well as terminology used by the Group. The Chair, however, reiterated the Group’s position not to address identity in its work, as it would not fit in its mandate, and to keep for the time being the use of “Roma, Gypsies and Travellers”.

    The Group was informed by the Secretariat of the intention of the Council of Europe to hold a follow-up seminar on cultural and linguistic issues in late 2004, to which MG-S-ROM members will participate. The Group was invited to read Ms. Raykova’s report and submit to the Secretariat any topics to be addressed more specifically during the Seminar.

    The Group was also informed of the Secretariat’s intention to change the name “Roma/Gypsies Division” under the “Migration and Roma/Gypsies Department” into “Roma and Travellers Division” under the “Migration and Roma Department”.

    The Group took note of presentations made by various participants (Specialists, representatives of international organisations, and representatives of other sectors of the Council of Europe. A compilation of written information will be circulated as an appendix to the full meeting report.

IX. GROUP’S WORKING METHODS

        The Secretariat collected thirteen replies to the questionnaire concerning the Group’s working methods. Those participants who have not yet replied to this questionnaire are kindly requested to send the replies by fax (+33 3 88 41 27 31) to the Secretariat.

      The Group will hold a discussion on this topic at the beginning of its next meeting, following election of chairmanship and vice-chairmanship of the Group.

X. ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE NEXT MEETING

      The Group accepted the invitation of the Slovak Government to hold the 18th meeting of the MG-S-ROM in Kosice (Slovakia) around 21-24 November. Members of the Group were kindly requested to inform the Secretariat if these dates are acceptable.

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Appendices:

      - draft recommendation on Improving the Housing Conditions for Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe [MG-S-ROM (2004)6];
      - provisional opinion of the MG-S-ROM concerning Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1633 (2003) 1 on Forced Return of Roma from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo, to Serbia and Montenegro from Council of Europe member states [MG-S-ROM (2004)7];
      - annotated agenda of the 17th meeting of the MG-S-ROM;
      - final list of participants of the 17th meeting of the MG-S-ROM.