"Intensive exchange on Roma Education" during first Alliance-Event in Budapest
10/01/2013 - On 17-18 December 2012, the Council of Europe's European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, together with the joint Roma mediators programme ROMED, organised its first activity during its test phase – an international workshop on "Inclusive Education: Local Policies and Practices", which took place in Budapest, Hungary.
This workshop acted as part of a mapping exercise, aiming to identify existing experiences and good practices in the field of inclusive education for Roma, in order for them to be promoted and developed into sustainable policies. The workshop brought together municipal authorities and those who work at grassroots level from Oulu (Finland), Vänersborg (Sweden), Hódmezovásárhely (Hungary), Murska Sobota (Slovenia), Veldhoven (Netherlands), Sheffield (United Kingdom) and Niš (Serbia), who are working in the field of education for Roma. It was also attended by members of international organisations such as the Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation and the European Roma Rights Centre as well as the Hungarian CAHROM-Member and the NGOs "Chance for Children Foundation" and "Romaversitas" who are working in Hungary."
During the workshop, the participating municipalities were given time to make short presentations on specific questions, such as the key challenges, measures applied, the impact and sustainability of these measures. The participants also had a chance to discuss good practices and the applicability of these practices in other geographical regions and social environments.
"I observed an intense exchange between the participants during the workshop, which hopefully will lead to strong international cooperation, help to build synergies and support the municipalities in their work in improving the situation of Roma in Europe," stated Ana Rozanova, Programme Manager of the Alliance, after the meeting.
The workshop also included a field trip to the after-school centre Ferencvarosi Tanoda, which was co-organised with the Roma Education Fund.
Summary of the joint Alliance-Event on Housing in December 2012
10/01/2013 - The Institute of Rehousing and Social Integration (IRIS), part of the Regional Transport, Infrastructure and Housing Government of the Autonomous Region of Madrid, in collaboration with the Council of Europe's European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, convened an 'International Seminar on Public Policies of Housing for Roma' in Madrid on 17th December 2012.
The purpose of the seminar was to present the results of the study, carried out by IRIS and the University of Warwick, entitled "Leaving the slums behind: Impact Evaluation of IRIS Pro-Integration Housing Programme" concerning the regional government policy aiming to rehouse Roma families from shanty towns. In addition, representatives of different European cities were invited to the Seminar in order to share their experiences in the field of housing policies for Roma and to give contributions to the discussion regarding problems encountered, solutions provided and lessons learnt, with a view to adopting recommendations to be taken into account by other cities.
The seminar was attended by the Alliance representatives of Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Lisbon (Portugal), Beyoglu/Istanbul (Turkey), Veldhoven (Netherlands), Torino and Settimo Torinese (Italy), Tirana (Albania) and Region of Yorkshire (United Kingdom), Madrid and Malaga (Spain) as well as by 9 other Spanish cities and towns and a representative of the European Commission (Regional Policy).
As a result of the seminar, the IRIS intervention model was acknowledged to be one of the most successful programs for the integration of the Roma minority in Spain through the access to housing and could be transferred to other European cities and regions.
Participants expressed a general appreciation of the opportunity, to gain some knowledge of several successful examples of housing projects like IRIS-Madrid Pro-Integration Housing Programme through the Alliance networking. Their wish was to have Madrid seminar replicated with the support of leading cities which have effective policies in particular sectors such as housing.
The Seminar is to be considered as a consultative activity part of the start-up phase of the CoE's European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion with participating cities which have developed housing interventions for Roma following an integrated and inclusive approach.
European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion launches its first events
07/12/2012 - The European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion will organise two international events in December 2012.
The theme of the international seminar on 17 – 18 of December 2012 in Budapest will be education policies for Roma, with a focus on inclusive education in mainstream schools and the provision of education in Romani language and culture. The meeting will bring together the city and regional authorities and players, in order to exchange views, benefit from discussions and attend a field-trip. This experience aims to draw-up a set of specific guidelines to be used both by the participating cities and regions, and to be shared with other authorities who are interested in the activities of the Alliance. It shall also provide the key stakeholders with more information on both approaches, the best ways of applying them and key challenges.
The second event will be an international seminar co-organised with the Spanish Institute of Rehousing and Social Integration (IRIS), focusing on public housing policies for Roma which will also take place on 17 of December 2012 in Madrid. Spanish and European cities will have an opportunity to share their experiences and to participate in the discussion regarding problems encountered, solutions provided and lessons learnt, with a view to adopting recommendations that could be taken into account by other cities. IRIS and the University of Warwick will present a new study, concerning the impact of the policy applied by the regional government on the relocated families and the IRIS intervention model which will possibly be reproduced and transferred to other cities and regions of the European Union.
Congress President meets President of the Coalition against racism
09/10/2012 - On 9 October 2012, Congress President Keith Whitmore had an exchange of views with President of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR), Deputy Mayor of Toulouse (France) Jean-Paul Makengo. The ECCAR President presented the work of the 105-member Coalition founded by UNESCO in 2004, pointing out that several coalition cities are also represented in the Congress. Discussions focused on building possible synergies between ECCAR and Congress activities. It was agreed to pursue co-operation, in particular through the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.
Implementation plans for European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion achieve international support at Strasbourg Meeting
26/09/2012 - Representatives of European cities and regions, EU institutions, international Roma networks and NGOs gathered on 25 September at the Council of Europe Headquarters in Strasbourg for a consultation meeting to discuss the role and action of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion. This meeting provided the participants with the opportunity to exchange experiences and practices from the field, discuss proposals for cooperation and ways to increase Roma participation in the processes. Some successful models of inclusive Roma policies at local level in different European countries were presented, such as, amongst others, an innovative project in the field of employment from the Austrian city of Graz, resettlement and housing practices in the Italian city of Turin and the Spanish region of Madrid, or projects in Lyon where the focus was put on access to school.
Speech by John Warmisham
Speech by Andreas Kiefer
Speech by Jeroen Schokkenbroek
Alliance for Roma Inclusion: Consultation meeting with cities, regions and other stakeholders
13/09/2012 - The Congress and the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma issues are organising a consultation meeting with cities, regions and stakeholders of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, in Strasbourg on 25 September 2012. The aim of this meeting is to present the objectives and working methods of the Alliance to potential future partners and discuss possible cooperation and interaction. The decision to establish the Alliance was taken by the participants of the Summit of Mayors in September 2011, who committed themselves to setting up "a framework for co-operation, sharing of good practices, strengthening local and regional capacities for action, identifying specific problems and proposing solutions, and helping to ensure funding for Roma activities at the grassroots level". A Core Group of cities and regions elaborated a conceptual framework for the Alliance and identified immediate needs and priorities for its activities, which will be presented at the consultation meeting.
Mayors Making the Most of EU Funds for Roma Inclusion Awards
06/07/2012 - On 11-12 October 2012 in Budapest, the MERI network awarded mayors for best practices in using EU and other donor funds for Roma Inclusion in the areas of education, employment, health, housing and public utilities. John Warmisham, Thematic Rapporteur of the Congress on Roma/Travellers, took part in the award ceremony, which was held under the patronage of László Andor, EU Commissioner responsible for employment, social affairs and inclusion. The OSI-MERI network aims at implementing projects to integrate and include socially disadvantaged groups at local level, with a special focus on Roma and will work in cooperation with the Council of Europe’s Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, as well as other networks and associations committed to Roma inclusion.
Roma must be ensured access to adequate housing in Baia Mare (Romania)
11/06/2012 - ''Again I must speak out about the housing situation of Roma in Europe'', said John Warmisham, Thematic Rapporteur on Roma/Travellers of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. ''In the past, I have denounced the forced eviction of Roma from various settlements in different Council of Europe member states. This time, I decry the relocation of Roma families to a disused chemical factory in Baia Mare (Romania). The Congress’ Resolution 333 (2011) urges local and regional authorities to replace or improve the quality of existing housing, or to give Roma access to housing with all basic amenities. Relocating these families to these premises not only denies their right to adequate housing but also puts their health at risk and denies them access to a healthy environment.'' ''I encourage the authorities of Baia Mare to find adequate housing for the Roma population. And I call on all local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe member states to work towards the implementation of the recommendations addressed to them by the Congress in its Resolution 333 (2011). It is only in this way that we will improve the situation of social exclusion within European society faced by Roma.''
Presentation of the Alliance at the Assembly of European Regions meeting in Vienna
8.05.2012 The future "European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion" was presented to the participants of the Conference on Equal Opportunities, organised by the Assembly of European Regions in Vienna on 8 May 2012, as an example of a promising pan-European project in improving the situation of Roma. In particular, the emphasis was made on the Alliance's added value, its potential as a partnership network and the wide scope of its future activities. The presentation was a timely occasion to remind participants of the importance of close co-operation with younger generations and to encourage those regions concerned with Roma inclusion to express their interest in participating in the activities of the Alliance.
Encouraging results to the Congress' questionnaire on Roma
15.05.2012 In order to better define the mandate and future activities of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities sent a questionnaire in early April to regional and local authorities in Europe, with the aim of collecting information on their concrete needs, priorities and interests in the field of Roma inclusion. So far, more than 100 municipalities and regions have replied and some 90% among them expressed their interest in joining the Alliance. (more...)
Belvil evictions, Serbia: Reaction from Congress Thematic Rapporteur
27.04.2012 - ''It is time to bring an end to the forced evictions of Roma in Europe'', stressed John Warmisham, Thematic Rapporteur on Roma/Travellers of the Congress, reacting to the eviction of the Belvil Settlement in Belgrade. ''The Belgrade City Authority’s eviction of Roma from the Belvil Settlement is contrary to international human rights law and the Congress’ Resolution 333 (2011) which urges local and regional authorities to replace or improve the quality of existing housing, or to give Roma access to housing with all basic amenities." (more...)
Keith Whitmore: "Dialogue at grassroots level is of fundamental importance to avoid discrimination of Roma people"
05.04.2012 - In view of International Roma Day on 8 April, President Whitmore, underlined the role of territorial self-government bodies for the implementation of inclusive and socially responsible Roma policies: "Since in many Council of Europe countries, the local and regional authorities are in charge of housing, social care and educational establishments, local politicians do have a specific responsibility in this respect." (more...)
John Warmisham: ''I encourage cities and regions to join the Alliance and make this project a success''
22.03.2012 - ''The Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, which is in the process of being put together, will be a very concrete follow-up to the Summit of Mayors on Roma'', John Warmisham, Congress thematic Rapporteur stated during the debate held on Wednesday 21 March. Its main objectives will be to improve local and regional capacity for project implementation and to help secure funding for these projects, in particular from EU and international donors. (more...)
Core Group : preparing for the launch of the European Alliance
22.02.2012 - The members of the Core Group of cities and regions of the European Alliance for Roma inclusion, who held a first meeting on 9 December 2011 to exchange their preliminary ideas on the main issues related to the development and functioning of the Alliance, gathered in Strasbourg for a second round of discussions. The launching of the Alliance is planned in September 2012. (more...)