First Roma and Travellers Forum Plenary Assembly to be held at Council of Europe from 13 to 15 December: Press release

Strasbourg, 08.12.2005 - The Council of Europe is to host the first ever session of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, bringing together Roma representatives from 42 of the Council’s 46 member states.

The Forum, which will be held from Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 December, aims to be a first step to integrating the estimated 12 million Roma who live in Europe, many facing extreme poverty, a life span up to 15 years under the average, and the highest child mortality in Europe.

Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis and the Permanent Representative of Romania and present chair of the Ministers Deputies Ambassador Gheorghe Magheru will attend the opening ceremony, along with Finnish Ambassador Ann-Marie Nyroos and French Ambassador Gilles Chouraqui. (13 December in the Palais de l’Europe, Room 1, at 15.00).

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Josep Borrell Fontelles are also expected to attend.

A press conference will be held on 15 December at 13.15 – 14.00 in room 1.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) is the largest and most inclusive Roma and Travellers organisation in Europe. It is the only international Roma institution which brings together international and national Roma and Travellers umbrella organisations, community leaders and representatives of NGOs, governmental advisory bodies and political parties.