Strasbourg, 16 September 2002 SEE/EO/ROMA (2002) 4
Regional workshop on employment, Bucharest, February 2002
SOUTH EAST EUROPE REGIONAL PROJECT TO PROMOTE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR ROMA
A Stability Pact Initiative supported by the Austrian Government
REGIONAL SEMINAR IN ROMANIA
Bucharest, 22–23 February 2002
(Council of Europe Information Centre)
Document prepared by the Secretariat
DG III – Social Cohesion
Employment service policy and programmes 3
Council of Europe recommendations and guidance 4
Appendix I Participants 8
Appendix II Programme 10
Appendix III Report of the Bulgarian Employment Agency 11
Appendix IV Report of the Croatian Employment Service 16
Appendix V Report of the Romanian National Agency for Employment 19
Appendix VI Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of 21
the Council of Europe on improving the economic
and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and
Travellers in Europe
The project on equal opportunities for Roma is an initiative of the Council of Europe for the Stability Pact for South East Europe. It is supported by the Austrian Government. The objectives of the project are to improve the role of employment services in promoting employment opportunities for the Roma community, to develop regional networks and develop capacity building within the relevant actors. The project consists of four stages: two local training workshops for the staff of employment services and two regional meetings of representatives of employment services and Roma organisations. This document provides a report on the 1st regional seminar which took place in Bucharest in the Council of Europe Information Office1.
The seminar was attended by representatives of employment services and Roma organisations. A list of participants appears in Appendix I. The seminar provided a first opportunity for the participants to meet together. The objective of the seminar was to provide an opportunity for them to share experience and ideas, develop new initiatives and begin to make contacts for future co-operation and joint projects. The seminar programme appears in Appendix II.
Employment service policy and programmes
The participants were all invited to make a short presentation of the general situation concerning Roma communities in their countries and of the employment policy and programmes adopted in their favour and aimed at improving their employment and economic opportunities. This information was supplemented by written reports prepared by the employment services of Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania and circulated among the participants. These reports appear as Appendices III, IV and V respectively.
This information was subsequently discussed in more detail in small groups. The participants were asked to discuss the various initiatives undertaken in their countries to support the Roma community and identify examples of good practice; and in respect of these examples they were to consider why these particular initiatives worked and how they evaluated their success.
Several elements of the policy and programmes of the Romanian National Agency for Employment were considered as particularly interesting and relevant for the region. These included:
- the Action Plan methodology adopted by the Agency for developing targetted programmes
- the appointment of special Roma officers in local employment agencies
- training and retraining courses with an employment commitment at the end
- programmes of public works
- job fairs
- credits for SMEs.
As a second exercise, the participants (still in the same two groups) were asked to identify what they considered to be the major difficulties facing employment services in helping the Roma community. The following were identified:
- lack of ID papers
- low level of education (professional)
- no self-identification as Roma
- repeated refusal to take up job offers
- low communication between the parties
- lack of interest of employers to employ Roma
- high level of unemployment
- hostility among local populations to local employment offices giving priority to Roma
- no data collected on ethnic origins in most countries
- staff not aware enough about the complexity of the issue of employing Roma
- staff in employment offices sometimes have prejudices themselves / bad (negative) experience with some Roma is generalised for the whole group
- staff is not trained enough to act flexibly towards new challenges
- insufficient initiatives and co-operation of Roma themselves
Council of Europe recommendations and guidance
Two Council of Europe texts were presented to the participants: (i) a training and guidance memorandum on equal opportunities for the staff of employment services, and (ii) a recommendation on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe.
(i) a training and guidance memorandum on equal opportunities for the staff of employment services
This handbook was distributed to the participants. It was explained that the handbook had been prepared by a group of international experts from employment services in different member States of the Council of Europe, and that its purpose was to provide a coherent framework of policy and programme development by employment services in order that they can improve their role in promoting equal opportunities for migrants and disadvantaged ethnic groups, including Roma communities.
The handbook provides a series of relevant good practice accompanied by national examples on the following topics:
- Needs analysis – establishing reliable indicators on the local labour market and the local community
- Training staff on equal opportunities
- Staff recruitment and policy
- Influencing employers’ recruitment and employment practices
- Job search and job skills training
- Positive promotion of job-seekers from ethnic minorities
- Evaluating the impact of employment service programmes on the local community.
(ii) a recommendation on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe
Recommendation Rec (2001) 17 on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 27 November 2001. The text is reproduced in Appendix VI. The provisions of the recommendation were outlined to the participants and their attention drawn to the provisions of specific interest to employment services. The participants were then divided into a series of different small groups (two at a time) and asked to discuss what practical steps they would recommend to implement certain provisions of the recommendation. The results of this group work are given below.
How to implement paragraph 1
Roma/Gypsy communities and organisations should participate fully in the processes of designing, implementing and monitoring programmes and policies aimed at improving their economic and employment situation
- provide translation in Roma language during meetings
- translation of the documents related to Roma to achieve full participation and access of Roma NGOs
- respect of culture, customs and traditions of Roma people
- ensure desimination of documents among local employment services
- appoint a person to deal with Roma issues in each local agency
- the State should stimulate and advertise agreements between Roma and pro-Roma NGOs and state authorities, local employment services, employees also in the process, preparation, trainings, monitoring, impact)
How to implement paragraphs 7 and 8
Anti-discrimination legislation should be made more effective, bearing in mind that Roma face both direct and indirect discrimination. Therefore NGOs providing legal assistance to Roma/Gypsies should be supported.
In the fight against discrimination, awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of job-seekers to equal access to the labour market could be launched. Information campaigns on the rights of employees in the workplace should also be supported.
- recognise the existence of the problem of media, public information
- prepare concrete and effective plans and activities aimed at improving the political participation of Roma
- better organisation of Roma in view of competitive representation
- state institutions should be open to co-operatation with Roma
- Roma NGOs to initiate proposals for legislative change
- partnerships should be encouraged between non Roma and Roma NGOs
- Roma should create positive models in Roma communities (for the public)
How to implement paragraphs 12 and 17
Governments should promote equal opportunities for Roma/Gypsies on the labour market particularly through non-discriminatory policies and approaches on the part of national employment services.
Particular emphasis should be placed on providing Roma/Gypsy women with opportunities to enter in the labour market and to gain access to income-generating and self employment activities that would interest them.
- for general human rights protection governments should provide special positive measures (affirmative actions towards Roma) when they design long term, mid term and short term
- governments have to provide an effective system and mechanism of sanctions in the cases of discrimination
How to implement paragraph 15
The employment of Roma/Gypsies at all levels of the public sector should therefore be promoted and partnerships with local Roma/Gypsies be established, in order to provide them with on-the-job training. If necessary, strategies need to be developed to improve the employment potential of Roma/Gypsies through training in generic skills.
- together with Roma representatives establish criteria and make them public
- lower the criteria of selection – positive discrimination as in order to equalise the Roma access to jobs
- training of selected Roma persons according to job
- involving Roma representatives in drafting national programmes
- providing/creating new jobs at the public sector for Roma
- employed Roma to provide periodic reports on their achievement (evaluation)
How to implement paragraph 33
Governments should introduce positive incentives such as grants and mentoring support to encourage young Roma/Gypsies to complete their secondary education and to attend higher education institutions or take up apprenticeships. They should also consider means to improve low levels of qualification and participation in higher education on the part of Roma/Gypsies.
- special fund for grants
- preparatory (extra) lessons for students
- book loans
- compensatory courses
- to make a retest (to review the special situation of Roma children who have been placed in mental care institutions)
- training for teachers in order to develop multicultural understanding
How to implement paragraph 41
Roma/Gypsies should be given information about their rights and responsibilities in the employment field, about the different forms of help available from administrative bodies and about the functioning of social protection systems. Such information, which should be provided by public administrative bodies in co-operation with NGOs, should enhance the social and economic integration of Roma/Gypsies.
- face to face individual approach
- press, media (all forms)
- written and oral explanations of rights and responsibilities
- network based on co-operation between NGO (interpreter) and government
- NGOs as a means of feedback (circle – Roma, Government, NGO)
In discussing implementation, it is important to be more focussed on how change is to be achieved. In the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes in favour of Roma, particularly where these are undertaken at local level, it is important that representatives of both employment services and Roma organisations understand how these stages are undertaken and by whom in order to better consider ways of involving representatives of the Roma community.
The participants from both “sides” welcomed the opportunity to discuss together the important issues with which they are all concerned. The meeting provided an opportunity for developing exchanges and sharing information at different levels, both within countries (between Roma and Employment service representatives from the same country), between countries (with representatives of both national Roma and Employment Services making contact with their counterparts in other countries). Although the participants were not all necessarily responsible for policy-making, they agreed that their meeting together was a useful and constructive step in a process towards change and the achievement of a better working relationship.
Since the holding of this first regional seminar, the second training workshop took place in Cakovec at the invitation of the Croation Employment Service on 27-29 May 2002 and the second regional seminar is planned to take place in Sofia on 3-5 October 2002.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Ahmet MUJIC, (Excused) Council of Roma, c/o Martin Demirovski-Roma officer , OSCE mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pehlivanusha 3/2, 71 000 Sarajevo
Murat PRASO, Adviser to the Director, Employment Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Djoke Mazalica 3, 71000 Sarajevo
Teodora KOTZEVA-YANEVA, Expert at the International Relations Department, Employment Agency, 3 Dondoukov Blvd, 1000 Sofia
Tel: +359 2 987 3395 Fax: +359 2 986 7802 E-mail: email@example.com
Nikolay KIRILOV, Chairman of Roma-LOM Foundation, 71 Pirot Str, Lom 3600, Director of PAKIV – European Roma Fund
Tel: +359 873 07805 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jasenka DURIC, Croatian Employment Service, HZZ – Podrucna sluzba Cakovec, Josipa bana Jelacica 1, HR – 40000 Cakovec
Tel: +385 40 395 741 Fax: +385 40 395 452
Horvat GORDAN (Excused), Sitnice 34, 40315 Mursko sredisce
Adrian TUDORACHE, Head of Department, Directorate for Implementation of International Agreements, National Agency for Employment
Tel: +40 1 303 9855 E-mail: email@example.com
Mr Safta GHEORGHE, President, Roma Employers Association from Romania, 27 Salcetului Street, Sector 4, Bucharest
Mr Florin NASTURE, President, Cultural Centre “O Del Amenca” from Festesti
c/o 19 Buzesti Street, Sector 1, Bucharest
Tel: +40 1 231 4144 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Maria DRAGOS, Head of Office for Active Measures, Directorate for Labour Market Management, National Agency for Employment
Tel: +40 1 303 9850 E-mail: sazvabbucykescy@ro
Joco Klopčič (Excused)
International co-operation, Employment Service of Slovenia
Vera Klopčič, The Institute for Ethnic Studies, Erjavceva, 26, 1000 Ljubljana
Tel: +386 1 200 18 79 Fax: +386 1 2510 964 E-mail: email@example.com
“THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA”
Demirovski LJATIF, Roma Community Centre (DROM), Lokalitey Potok Sereva, 57 A Prizemje
Roma Community Centre (DROM),Lokalitey Potok Sereva, 57 A Prizemje
Tel/fax: +389 31 427 558 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director, Ethnic Foundation on Roma Economic Development (FEDER)
c/o 19 Buzesti Street, Sector 1,Bucharest
Tel: +40 1 231 4144 (office); +40 93 394 745 (home)
Lernia International, Box 1181, S-11191 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Tel: +46 8 701 6525 / +46 70 660 5265 E-mail: email@example.com
Simon TONELLI, Head of Co-ordination Unit: Stability Pact and Assistance Programmes
DG III – Social Cohesion, Council of Europe, 60075 Strasbourg, France
Tel: +33 8 41 21 62 Fax : +33 90 21 49 52 E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Mariana NITELEA, Director, Council of Europe Information Centre, 6 Al Donica Street
Sector 2, 70224 Bucharest, Romania
Tel: +40 (1) 211 68 10 Fax: +40 (1) 211 99 97 E-mail: email@example.com
Introduction of participants
Presentation of the Project and objectives of the meeting
Policy and programmes (morning session)
(i) Presentation and exchange of views on employment policies and programmes in South East Europe on promoting employment opportunities for Roma
Plenary session (presentations by participants)
Employment services (afternoon session)
(i) Identifying good examples of employment service initiatives
Group work and report back in plenary
European experience (morning)
(i) Presentation and discussion of policy and practice in Europe and the Council of Europe training and guidance memorandum on equal opportunities for the staff of employment services
Plenary session (presentations by Council of Europe and consultant)
(ii) Extending European experience in South East Europe
Group work and report back in plenary
New initiatives for South East Europe (afternoon)
(i) Identifying new local initiatives, joint projects and a network to share information and ideas
Group work and plenary discussions
Close of meeting (18.00)
REPORT OF THE EMPLOYMENT AGENCY OF BULGARIA
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS CONCERNING ROMA/GYPSIES AND WAYS OF
IMPROVING THEIR EMPLOYMENT SITUATION
During the past years Bulgaria has undertaken fundamental reforms aimed at building up civil society and market economy. Implementation of these reforms includes stabilization of the government institutions, successful completion of the programme for restructuring and liberalization of the economy, and transformation of the banking system.
During the last ten years labour market developments in the country follow the major tendencies and processes in the development of the country’s economy – restructuring of sectors and industries, privatization, liquidation of ineffective industries and activities, launching new activities. The transition to market economy is characterized by a substantial decrease in labour force demand.
The data of the last three Labour Force Surveys shows a worrying trend towards a rise in the shadow employment in the Republic of Bulgaria. This is confirmed by the fact that many people register at the Labour Offices in order to take advantage of certain benefits or preferences. The Bulgarian Government is making efforts and applying a variety of measures to come over this problem.
According to data of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) unemployment in 2001 dropped in comparison to the previous year. The number of unemployed in December 2001 decreased by 20 532 people as against the same period of the previous year. The average rate of unemployment for 2001 was 17,5 % or 669 610 people. The same figures for 2000 were 18,1 % and 693 481 people respectively. Labour Office data shows that only for the period July – December 2001 the number of unemployed placed in work was 100 218 people, 78 475 of which were hired under MLSP programmes and measures using Labour Office services. The second half of 2001 is characterised as the period of lowest unemployment for the last two years. The reported unemployment rate for 2001 is 0,4 % lower than the forecasted rate. One of the major causes for such a small difference is the shortage of funds to cover active employment programmes and measures during the last year.
The legislation applicable in the field of employment is the Employment Promotion Law (EPL) in force since 01.01.2002. The key principles on which the new law was built are: decentralisation, flexibility of measures, compliance with EU requirements and enhancing entrepreneurship. EPL’s basic aims are the encouragement of employers to create jobs and of unemployed people to engage in proactive job search. The scope of the groups of citizens entitled to preferences has been enlarged. Apart from young people and long term unemployed, single mothers and single adopters, as well as released prisoners are also treated as priority groups. The practice that salaries and social security contributions of employers who have hired unemployed from the priority groups should be paid from the state budget for 12 to 24 months is maintained. In case the hired unemployed person stays at work, an additional period of 9 months is introduced in which the state continues to pay the social security contributions of that person. This is done to create long term employment. As in the old law the unemployed are entitled to receive their benefits in lump, on condition they intend to start their own business. In addition, the state budget will cover part of the expenditures for setting up business – state taxes due, market analysis, development of business project, etc. The registration and benefit reception procedures have remained the same as in the old legislation.
The previously existing right of long-term unemployed to receive 60 % of the minimum wage for up to three months has been waived in order to strengthen their motivation for job search and placement. As a result of EU recommendations, Regional Employment Councils will be created to develop programmes relevant to the region’s needs, which will be submitted for approval at the central level afterwards. The Law has been drafted in line with EU requirements and on the basis of experience of the developed European countries. Upon execution of the rights and obligations provided for in this act no limitations or privileges shall be admitted based on race, nationality, ethnic background, origin, gender, age, religion, political affiliation, membership in trade union organisations or movements, social status, property or health status. EPL has defined, for the first time the term “indirect discrimination”. The Law creates conditions for the up keeping and protection of the labour market through promoting productive and freely chosen employment.
Bulgaria’s employment policy faces the following problems:
· Existing unemployment. The unemployment level in the country is higher than
the one observed in most of Central and East European countries
· Negative impact on the labour market of the structural reform processes
· Mismatch between the vocational qualification profile of the labour force and the
labour market needs
· Uneven distribution of labour force demand and supply by regions.
The priority actions aiming at resolving these problems will be focused on:
· Development of education and vocational training
· Carrying out active policy towards increasing the employment; promotion of
entrepreneurship; support to the groups with disadvantaged status on the labour market – ethnic minorities, young people, long-term unemployed, disabled, etc.
At present several National Programmes targeted towards the Roma/Gypsy communities are under implementation:
1. Literacy-Vocational Training –Employment
The Programme is implemented in accordance with Article 38 of EPL. The main purpose is the promotion of the qualitative characteristics of unemployed persons without the appropriate qualifications and skills in the ethnically mixed regions, by teaching basic literacy, enrollment into training courses and providing suitable employment.
The programme’s implementation involves particular projects developed on a regional basis and jointly realised by local municipal and governmental structures, the social partners, non-profit and Roma organisations. Their work is coordinated by a specially devised Social Advisory Council. The Programme was implemented in the following municipalities: Pernik, Dupnitza, Vyatovo, Provadia, Montana, Kozlodui, Berkovitza, Vidin, Nova Zagora, Bratia Daskalovi, Ihtiman, Lom, Straldzha, Lukovit, Yambol. The total number of people covered by the Programme since the beginning of the year is 288 where 101 of them were put into jobs.
2. From Social Welfare -To-Employment Programme
The Programme is targeted at disadvantaged groups of unemployed, who are clients of the both the Employment and Welfare Service. 5505 participants were included in this programme in the year 2001, of which 2604 unemployed on social benefits, 328 young people, most of them from minority groups, 199 single mothers and 2374 unemployed not on social assistance. Since the beginning of the year 6138 persons were placed into jobs. The allocation of the job placed is as follows: 4486 people were placed into subsidized jobs, 1629 persons on non-subsidized jobs and 23 persons have started independent economic activities.
3. Under the National Temporary Work Programme, providing employment in socially beneficial activities, 16 339 unemployed persons were included since the beginning of the phase, of which 8507 persons since January 2001.
4. The Winter Programme for the period January-April provided additional jobs for the following persons: subsidized or eligible for social assistance ; unemployed with more than 6 months on the labour market and unemployed without previous work experience. The total number of those placed into jobs was 944. The average monthly number of people included during this period of the Programme was 11964, part of them being included at the end of 2000. In November 2001 a new stage of the Programme was launched. In November and December 13578 unemployed persons were included in this Programme.
5. The Beautiful Bulgaria Programme was designed to provide vocational training in construction skills to long-term unemployed and to generate temporary employment, while refurbishing buildings with historical/architectural value, public parks and squares. This Programme has become one of the tools in the fight against unemployment. Since the beginning of 2001 this Programme has provided jobs to 8457 people, of which 7363 were unemployed persons. It is considered that Beautiful Bulgaria is of great benefit to the poorest segments of society, including the ethnic minorities
6. An important sublegislative act was passed in February 2001. Council of Ministers Decree No 47 regulates the allocation of 56,000,000 BGN from the state budget to fund employment and vocational training programmes during 2001 where several programmes were developed on Roma issues.
7. Initiatives of the Regional Employment Agencies (REA) in the Rousse region, targeted at Roma/Gypsies:
· Rousse REA activities aimed at initiating concrete steps for the establishment of the Rousse-based Partnership Centre for working with diverse labour force and its work placement
Labour Office activities regulated in the LUPEP that enable equal access to labour market programmes and measures for all members of the different ethnic groups undergoing an unemployment spell
· Labour Office activities funded externally (not from the Vocational Training and
Unemployment Fund) for development of or partnership in unemployed Roma/Gypsies targeted projects aiming to raise their employability and labour/social integration opportunities
· In 1999, following a decision of NEA’s director, a Council of Europe project was
launched in Rousse REA; the pilot seminar was entitled The Role of PES in Securing Equal Opportunities for Immigrants and Disadvantaged Ethnic Minority Groups on the Labour Market and a second seminar Working with Employers to Promote a Diverse Labour Force in a Market Economy was conducted later on. The participants demonstrated a keen interest in the presentation of Brokerage Citylink, London - an agency assisting ethnic minority members into jobs in the London City.
The Partnership Community Consultation Center for working with diverse qualified youth labour force, including skilled people of Roma origin, was opened in January 2001. The center aims at a twofold effect: ensuring jobs for qualified young people, including those of Roma origin on the one hand, and prevention of external labour migration outlined as a potential problem of the town on the other. Another additional psycological effect is acheved as a result of the serving of all qualified young people in the town in a Center different from the Labour Office . In this way the discriminational element was elliminated that would have been faced if the qualified Roma or other qualified people had been separated. In the long term, after strengthening the Center, another group of clients is to be included – Roma people with lower education. They will be offered psychological assistance and motivation courses.This will provide equal opportunities while applying for a job or motivate them to continue their education. Joint activities with the KUPATE Roma organisation have also been planned. At this stage the Centre works on a community basis; therefore, to enlarge the scale of its operation, active contacts with and funding from the non-public sector should be sought with a view to implementing joint projects. The team of RES Rousse is making efforts to overcome the difficulties by the assistance and help with regular consultations, assured by CE.
The Rousse Labour Office (LO) is a partner in the Municipality Programme for Working with Roma People. The Rousse LO Director is member of the Municipal Social Council for Working with Roma People. Unemployed Roma with higher level of education were given the opportunity to enroll in the Computer Literacy Training organised by the Karitas Donor Organisation as well as in: courses within the projects Beautiful Bulgaria and Beautiful Rousse; courses on Management of Construction Businesses, Small Enterprise Management, Start Your Own Business; the Management of Newly Set-up Business Microproject within the Rousse Regional Employment Programme; training courses financed by the VTU Fund. In addition, the Rousse LO selected the participants for the Economic Development and Ecology Project, implemented by the KUPATE Roma organisation with the financial back-up of the Regional Initiatives Fund.
Rousse LO activities include cooperation with the SEGA Foundation (Start for Effective Civil Alternatives) on adopting good practices for Roma communities development and new ideas for collaboration with local authorities and government bodies; the Labour Office produced a questionnaire to be used in a sociological survey amidst Roma population.
The Rousse LO is represented in the Regional Committee on the implementation of the Framework Programme for Equal Integration of Roma (established at the end of 2000). A number of teams within the Committee will be working on a variety of aspects of Roma social adaptation: economic development, education, culture and health care.
· The Silistra LO is partner for a project funded by the XXI Century Family
Foundation – A Model for Vocational Training and Qualification of Young Men and Women from Minority and Socially Disadvantaged Families
· The Biala LO is partner to Regional Centre for Social Integration NGO in a
project targeted at training and employment of long-term unemployed from minority groups entitled Knowing Today, Being Able Tomorrow
· The Razgrad LO is partner to the Teacher Association of Technologies and the
Open Society Foundation in a project for raising the skills level of Roma, socially disadvantaged and disabled people
· Most Labour Offices are going to engage in partnership in other project targeted
at the Roma community. Registered unemployed of Roma origin have already been included in the vocational training and employment target groups under the Beautiful Bulgaria I and II projects.
There are other measures undertaken by the Employment Agency:
§ Increasing employment by incentives for the first five persons employed by sole traders
§ According to Article 40 of the EPL the Employment Agency, jointly with associations, created to secure employment of unemployed persons in municipalities with high level of unemployment, will develop and implement programmes for revival, restructuring and preparation of sites for privatization and for carrying out socially beneficial activities.
REPORT OF THE CROATION EMPLOYMENT SERVICE
CROATIAN EMPLOYMENT SERVICE
REGIONAL OFFICE ČAKOVEC
IN PROJECTS OF PROMOTING ROMA EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
REPORT PREPARED BY: JASENKA ĐURIĆ
Firstly, we would like to discuss the problem of high unemployment in the Republic of Croatia. At the end of January there were over 400 000 people registered in the unemployment register which amounts to a rate of 23 percent.
It is quite questionable whether in the country where unemployment represents such a tremendous problem giving benefits to any category of the unemployed is justified, especially in such a sensitive issue as the status of nationalities or national minorities.
Neither the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, nor the legislation regarding employment policy allow to give preference to any nationality or minority.
Another obsticle in relation to employment minorities, namely the Roma, is the absence of reliable data on the actual number of the Roma that live in the Republic of Croatia. It appears to be their practice to state other nationality than Roma when asked (e.g. Roumanian, Bajashi,…) so the Roma do not seem to be present in large numbers. Social Care Services can often rely on data contained in the census based on residence. From our experience these numbers cannot be relied upon given the fact that many members of the Roma minority choose not to declare themselves as a Roma or choose to change their surname in order to avoid the connection to their minority. A lot of that has to do with a negative attitude towards them among other inhabitants.
The following reflect a review of the activities in connection with efforts aimed at employing job-seekers of the Roma minority by the Croatian Employment Service. The activities were done within the framework of Public Work oriented mainly on fulfilling needs of broader community, but indirectly they brought the solution to the problem of education and employing the Roma , as well.
The Public Work programmes were implemented in one of the 21 counties in Croatia - the county of Međimurje. According to unofficial records, there are 4400 Roma that live in that county. The Croatian Employment Service, public schools in the areas populated by the Roma minority and different organizations for children with special social needs operated together in partnership. During its realization, the project was supported by some county institutions as well.
Within the Programme of the National Employment Policy implemented in 1998 –2000 and the period of the last tree months in 2001 one of possible project were Public Works. The objective of this project was hiring job-seekers (in those categories that have greater difficulties to obtain one ) for jobs of broader community significance. A few smaller projects were organized within this programme: hiring different professionals to help Roma children with their socialization and education. The need for this kind of programmes originated in the fact that these children do not participate in broader social surroundings. Therefore they do not speak the Croatian language and do not possess basic social skills common for the other children at that age which makes their integration in the pedagogical and education system more difficult.
The following projects were implemented within the Public Works Programme:
5 projects that lasted for eight months in 1999 and 2000
8 projects that lasted for three months in 2001
Twelve members of the Roma community participated in these programmes as helpers to the teacher in their individual work with children and as translators.
These projects succeeded in two important elements:
- fulfilling the need of the Roma minority for integration into wider social enviroment ( for children and helpers)
- strengthening the possibility of employing the members of the Roma minority, thus giving them an opportunity to change the attitude toward them among other inhabitants.
The value of these programmes has been reflected in the amount of interest that wider social environment have shown. To be specific, the local authorities have prepared similar project supported by the Motherhood and the Youth Protection Service in three Roma settlements and organized by pedagogical institutions.
In talks with the members of the Roma minority (presidents of their associations ) there are several goals with priority:
- development of infrastructure and legalization of their (mostly illegally ) built settlements
As this programme has managed to meet two of their basic needs it is needless to assign reasons for similar activities.
REPORT OF THE ROMANIAN NATIONAL AGENCY FOR EMPLOYMENT
The National Agency for Employment has always had a consequent preoccupation towards the improvement of the situation regarding the Roma, thus observing the Decision of Government on the strategy enforced with this purpose.
Starting with the year 2001, the NAE included in the action program for an increase in the labour force employment rate the following target groups: young people, women, disabled persons, long-term unemployed, graduates of social care institutions, persons released from detention, and not least, Roma. For the Roma ethnic minority, the program for employment included 3,725 jobs, through different employment services:
- Job-matching services
- Job Fair
- New job creation through the crediting of the SMEs, in accordance with the Law no. 1/1991
- Employment of the graduates from the 2001 series (EO 35/1997)
- Training - Re-training courses
- Active Measures Program for fighting against unemployment, financed from the World Bank
- Natural persons authorized to develop a self-employed activity
- Persons who sign contracts with block associations
- Other actions.
Although not all these services managed to accomplished the provided objectives, as a whole, the proposed program for the Roma ethnic minority was accomplished, and recorded an outcome of 139%, a total of 5,188 jobs being occupied.
For the year 2002, the National Agency
for Employment elaborated the National Action Program for an increase of the employment rate for Roma, which provides for the 2,350 jobs, through the following services:
Vocational training courses
Allowances for the unemployed who become employed before the end of the unemployment period
Employment of the over-45 years old unemployed or which are the only provider for the family
Stimulation of labour force mobility
Employment of graduates
Creation of new jobs through crediting the SMEs
Consulting services for starting an independent activity
Temporary employment in community public works
The main difficulties encountered by the county agencies for employment, when they tried to help the citizens of Roma ethnic minority to get employed, consisted of the fact that many of them do not have personal Id, not all of them declare their ethnic origin or do not have appropriate studies.
ON IMPROVING THE ECONOMIC AND EMPLOYMENT SITUATION
OF ROMA/GYPSIES AND TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 27 November 2001,
at the 774th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve greater unity between its members and that this aim may be pursued, in particular, through common action in the field of social cohesion;
Recognising that large groups of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe suffer from the effects of long-term unemployment and poverty, which could present a threat to the social cohesion of member states;
Noting that the persistent problems of poverty and unemployment are the result of discrimination against and social exclusion of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers, and are closely interlinked to problems in areas such as accommodation, education, vocational training and health;
Recognising that the labour market will not open up many job opportunities for Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in the near future without pro-active measures;
Considering that the economic problems of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers cannot be overcome unless member states consider equal opportunities as a policy priority for access to the labour market and income-generating activities;
Bearing in mind that policies aimed at addressing the problems facing Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in the areas of employment and economic activity should be comprehensive, based on an acknowledgement that employment is linked to other factors, namely educational and training aspects, accommodation and the fight against racism and discrimination;
Bearing in mind that Roma/Gypsy and Travellers groups are culturally diverse across Europe and that this diversity should be valued and encouraged at national and local level;
Bearing in mind that priority should be given to local action and initiatives;
Bearing in mind that social rights are an integral part of human rights as acknowledged in the revised European Social Charter;
Bearing in mind the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (ETS No. 157);
Bearing in mind Recommendation No. R (2000)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the education of Roma/Gypsy children in Europe;
Bearing in mind Recommendations 563 (1969) and 1203 (1993) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in which mention is made of the educational needs of Roma/Gypsies in Europe;
Bearing in mind Resolutions 125 (1981), 16 (1995) and 249 (1993), and Recommendation 11 (1995) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe on the situation of Roma/Gypsies in Europe;
Bearing in mind General Policy Recommendation No. 3 of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on combating racism and discrimination against Roma/Gypsies in Europe;
Bearing in mind the publication of the book Gypsies and Travellers (1985), updated in 1994, Roma, Gypsies, Travellers, Council of Europe Publishing;
Welcoming the document prepared by the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies entitled "Economic and Employment Problems faced by Roma/Gypsies in Europe" (MG-S-ROM(99)5rev2);
Bearing in mind the Council of Europe "Training and guidance memorandum for the staff of employment services working with disadvantaged ethnic minority communities", as adopted by the European Committee on Migrations,
Recommends that in implementing their policies aimed at improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers, the governments of the member states should:
– be guided by the principles set out in the appendix to this recommendation;
– bring this recommendation to the attention of the relevant public and private bodies in their respective countries through the appropriate channels.
Guiding principles for employment and economic policies concerning Roma/Gypsies and Travellers1. in Europe
I. General principles
1. Roma/Gypsy communities and organisations should participate fully in the processes of designing, implementing and monitoring programmes and policies aimed at improving their economic and employment situation.
2. Governments should fully support empowerment and capacity-building among Roma/Gypsy communities to improve their economic and labour market situation.
3. Governments should promote, with a long-term commitment, employment and economic policies for Roma/Gypsy communities.
4. Central, regional and local authorities should develop flexible structures and approaches, together with communication strategies, adapted to the diverse situations of Roma/Gypsy communities.
5. In order to promote synergies and local partnerships, emphasis should be put on the need to reinforce co-ordination between the appropriate national, regional and local authorities and Roma and pro-Roma organisations. In addition, governments should make sure that international organisations of which they are members ensure effective co-operation and partnership at national and local levels in their programmes for Roma/Gypsies.
6. Area-based and local development strategies should contain clear and specific sets of goals and rules targeting Roma/Gypsy communities.
7. Anti-discrimination legislation should be made more effective, bearing in mind that Roma face both direct and indirect discrimination. Therefore, NGOs providing legal assistance to Roma/Gypsies should be supported.
8. In the fight against discrimination, awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of job-seekers to equal access to the labour market could be launched. Information campaigns on the rights of employees in the workplace should also be supported.
9. The effectiveness of anti-discrimination laws would be improved by placing the burden of proof on the person against whom discrimination is alleged.
10. The collection of labour market information, where legally possible and with the agreement of Roma/Gypsies, should fully respect the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108) to avoid further discrimination and exclusion.
11. Authorities should recognise and legitimise economic activities initiated by Roma/Gypsies and Roma/Gypsies economic contribution to income-generating.
II. Employment policies and access to the labour market
12. Governments should promote equal opportunities for Roma/Gypsies on the labour market particularly through non-discriminatory policies and approaches on the part of national employment services.
13. Where they exist, national action plans for employment should pay particular attention to the labour market problems of Roma/Gypsies and include specific measures to improve their situation.
14. The composition of central, regional and local government should reflect the structure of the communities that it serves, including Roma/Gypsies.
15. The employment of Roma/Gypsies at all levels of the public sector should therefore be promoted and partnerships with local Roma/Gypsies be established, in order to provide them with on-the-job training. If necessary, strategies need to be developed to improve the employment potential of Roma/Gypsies through training in generic skills.
16. Central, regional and local authorities should exercise their power to achieve a similar goal in the private sector, for example, in the framework of labour policy measures, tax relief could be granted to private-sector employers who offer work experience and placement opportunities to Roma/Gypsies.
17. Particular emphasis should be placed on providing Roma/Gypsy women with opportunities to enter in the labour market and to gain access to income-generating and self-employment activities that would interest them.
III. Income-generating activities
18. Governments should remove barriers to the creation of small businesses in order to enable the development of Roma/Gypsy small and/or family enterprises.
19. Governments should also set up a legal framework for social enterprises, which can often provide a means of labour market and economic integration for excluded groups.
20. The development of income-generating activities by Roma/Gypsies should be supported by the following principles: partnerships between Roma and non-Roma NGOs, a bottom-up approach to policy and programme design, wide participation of all parties concerned, Roma and non-Roma co-operation, equal opportunities between women and men, accountability and transparency.
21. Central and local government and administrations should be aware of the possibilities for Roma/Gypsies to generate income in the fields of provision of services and production (including tourism, recreation, culture, transport, environmental repair, new aspects of recycling and disposal, agriculture and animal husbandry, etc.).
22. Governments should support the establishment of intermediary structures for initiatives at local level by providing assistance in research and assessment of local needs and resources, project development and management of business initiatives.
23. Authorities should offer incentives to encourage public services to sign contracts with Roma/Gypsy businesses to provide services.
24. Central and local authorities should support the introduction and development of local exchange and trading systems, credit unions and other alternative financial instruments.
25. Local authorities and NGOs should be encouraged to promote the creation of sustainable networks between industry and Roma/Gypsy projects, both at regional or national and at European levels.
26. Access of Roma/Gypsy trading organisations to foreign markets by co-operation with fair trade organisations should be promoted.
27. Governments should guarantee a fair stake in all privatisation processes to Roma/Gypsies, for example by facilitating effective and legal access to land for agricultural activities by setting up community land trusts.
IV. Financial instruments
28. Governments should be encouraged to provide long-term budgetary support for Roma/Gypsy development and income-generating programmes.
29. Financing strategies should include the support of Roma and pro-Roma/Gypsy organisations operating in the field of employment and income-generating activities at local, regional, national and international level.
30. Member states should participate in bilateral and multilateral exchanges and European and international development programmes targeting Roma/Gypsies in central and eastern European countries (and where possible making financial contributions to them).
31. Central and local agencies should be given the necessary legal and budgetary means to support Roma/Gypsy community development initiatives.
32. International funding channels, such as the European Union, the World Bank, the Development Bank of the Council of Europe, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and the UNDP, play an important role in providing resources, including grants and loans, for new policies and programmes. Funding projects should foster Roma participation, co-operation between government and civil society, the decentralisation of public administration sectors, and the provision of services by NGOs. Funding channels should also introduce some flexibility into their conditions in order to promote the development of community programmes and income-generating activities.
V. Training and education
33. Governments should introduce positive incentives such as grants and mentoring support to encourage young Roma/Gypsies to complete their secondary education and to attend higher education institutions or take up apprenticeships. They should also consider means to improve low levels of qualification and participation in higher education on the part of Roma/Gypsies.
34. Anti-discrimination training of persons involved in recruitment decisions in the private and public sectors and in national employment services should be encouraged. Training should combine information on statutory obligations and on good practices in governmental and company policies, with respect to equal treatment.
35. Roma/Gypsy culture and identity should be introduced as an integral part of the design and delivery of vocational education. For example, a system of accreditation should be developed for skills in traditional crafts and trades and regarded as equivalent to official qualification standards.
36. Vocational training programmes for Roma/Gypsies should respond to local or regional needs, for instance the improvement of Romani neighbourhoods, and to employment opportunities. Preference should be given to on-the-job training and product development. Market research should be part of the training.
37. Employment programmes (also referred to as public support programmes), including adult literacy training, should include the enhancement of skills and training as an integral part of their design to help improve the long-term employment prospects of participants.
38. The authorities should promote the recognition of skills and economic contributions of Roma/Gypsy communities (see paragraph 11).
39. Governments should set up qualification programmes targeting young Roma/Gypsies in the field of new technologies and knowledge.
40. Central and local authorities should support local leadership training for Roma/Gypsies, including economic, business, and management dimensions.
VI. Information, research and assessment
41. Roma/Gypsies should be given information about their rights and responsibilities in the employment field, about the different forms of help available from administrative bodies and about the functioning of social protection systems. Such information, which should be provided by public administrative bodies in co-operation with NGOs, should enhance the social and economic integration of Roma/Gypsies.
42. The member states should encourage innovative small-scale projects and research, in order to find local responses to local needs using available local potential, in co-operation with the appropriate bodies and individuals.
43. Labour market and economic development policies and programmes should be carefully monitored and evaluated. The evaluation of their impact on Roma/Gypsy communities should not only be limited to business success but also consider the wider implications for Roma communities.
44. A clear statement of objectives and the establishment of evaluation procedures are important factors in determining programme success. These elements should be included in the design phase of programmes.
45. Examples of good practice and successful instruments and tools should be documented and disseminated nationally and internationally.
1 Document SEE/EO/ROMA (2001) 1 provides a report of the 1st workshop which took place in Novo mesto, 3-5 October 2001.
1. The present recommendation covers Roma/Gypsies and Travellers, to be referred to as Roma/Gypsies in the text.