JOINT COUNCIL OF EUROPE/OSCE-ODIHR/EC PROJECT “ROMA UNDER THE STABILITY PACT”

Contract reference : B7-700/2000/T-2000/053B


PREPARED BY THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND
SUBMITTED TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

January 2002

INTERIM NARRATIVE REPORT

∑ This report must be completed and signed by the person responsible for the project and counter-signed by the legal representative of the contractor who has signed the contract with the European Commission.
∑ The information provided below must correspond to the financial information that appears in the financial report.
∑ Please complete the report using a typewriter or computer (if you have an e-mail address, this model can be sent to you electronically, if you send a written request to this effect).
∑ Please expand the paragraphs as necessary.
∑ The European Commission reserves the right to reject any incomplete or badly completed reports.

1. Name of contractor and of her/his legal representative:

Contractor: Mr Jean-Louis LAURENS, Director of Strategic Planning, Council of Europe.

2. Name and title of the person responsible for the project:

Person responsible for the project: Ms Gabriella BATTAINI-DRAGONI, Director General of DGIII-Social Cohesion, Council of Europe.

Project manager (element level): Mr MichaŽl GUET, Migration and Roma/Gypsies Department, DGIII-Social Cohesion, Council of Europe.

3. Title of the project:

Council of Europe/OSCE-ODIHR Project “Roma under the Stability Pact”, hereafter called “the Project”.

4. Reference number of the project:

B7-700/2000/T-2000/053B.

5. Start date of the project:

1st January 2001 (duration: 18 months).

6. Country (ies) in which the project takes place:

Bilateral activities:
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

Multilateral activities:
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Slovenia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro).

A. Contractual Compliance

1. Has the project been carried out as foreseen in the terms of reference of the contract so far? If not, please explain how and why the original proposal has been modified, including the dates that any addenda were requested and received.

The general terms of the contract have been so far respected and activities carried out in accordance with the objectives fixed in the Project description (chapter 4).

The Project is originally a joint proposal from the OSCE-ODIHR and the Council of Europe, which received the political and financial support from the European Commission. It is carried out in close co-operation with the OSCE-ODIHR (contact: Mr Nicolae Gheorghe) and in consultation with the Special Co-ordinator for the Stability Pact (contact: Ms Nives Malenica). The European Commission delegations in the targeted countries have been invited to attend the activities and often took an active part in the discussions (see parts B1 and E1 of this report). The European Commission in Brussels (DG1A B3) is informed on a regular basis through the publication of Newsletters.

More specifically, a few activities have been slightly modified (see part B below), in order to take into account new political priorities and situation since the drafting of the Project description (in particular the fall of the Milošević regime, the call for assistance of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Montenegro, and the crisis in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”). Slight modifications in the proposed activities occur also as the result of the conclusions and outcomes of previous ones. It is indeed important to take those into account in terms of added value for follow-up activities. Without modifying the general terms of the Project, a certain degree of flexibility is necessary, particularly in the context of the unavoidable ups and downs of the democratisation process in the Balkans.

However, it shall be underlined that these are minor changes and concern primarily activities (to be) financed by the Council of Europe own contribution to the Project.

2. Has the provisional budget of the project been respected so far? If not, please explain any changes that have occurred.

There have been very little changes in the budget lines corresponding to the European Commission contribution (please see the financial report attached).

This is not the case for the Council of Europe contribution, which had to be partly reallocated as a consequence of the delay in the signature of the contract (see part A3 below). This had some consequences on a number of activities and on staff cost:

a) Activities

The case study in Tuzla Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the reference 6.2.3.1, and two contact visits in Croatia and in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” were carried out in late 2000 (as foreseen in the Project description), i.e. prior to the signature of the contract with the European Commission. They were financed through Council of Europe own financial resources (ADACS, Roma/Gypsies Special Account) - but different from the funds originally allocated to the Project. Indeed, the Council of Europe maintained its commitment under the contract with the European Commission by providing for the total duration of the Project in 2001-2002 a total contribution of € 62,042.

As a consequence, those activities foreseen in the contract but which were financed already in 2000 by Council of Europe own contribution released € 6,734, i.e.:
- € 4,722 released from the case study in Tuzla Canton (re: 6.2.3.1), carried out in November 2000;
- € 2,012 released from the funding of two (out of four) contact missions carried out in September and December 2000.

b) Staff costs

Similarly, the Project description envisaged that the Council of Europe would finance two-month salary (9,878 €) so that the Project manager could be recruited already in 2000 in order to prepare the implementation of the Project activities and establish preliminary contacts with future partners (international organisations, authorities, Roma NGOs and activists). During the duration of the project, i.e. 18 months, the Project description indicates that the Project manager will be financed by the European Commission contribution as from the starting date of the joint programme (1 January 2001).

c) Consequences

As a consequence of the necessity to recruit the Project manager already in 2000 and the implementation of some of the activities financed by the Council of Europe prior to the starting date of the contract with the European Commission (1st January 2000), a total of about 16,400 € was spent by the Council of Europe in 2000 for the Project (out of a maximum of 16,612 € allocated for those budgetary items). This means that in reality the Council of Europe contribution for this Project for the period 2000-2002 should reach at the end of June € 78,654 (about 24% of the total costs).

The released funds have been entirely used in 2001 to finance activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro (see the summary of additional activities 9, 11 and 12 below), which were not primarily envisaged in the Project description but which had been requested in the meantime by the authorities as a necessary follow-up of some Project activities (for example the Conference for Croatian Roma NGOs - see B1) or which had been requested by our implementing partners (the OSCE-ODIHR and OSCE missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro). Before taking the decision to finance such additional activities, Council of Europe made sure that they fitted in the Project goals.

3. What dates did you request and receive the advance payment for the project?

12 February 2001: the Council of Europe signs the Grant Agreement (Contract) and requests the advance payment for the Project (132,356 € out of a total of 248,169 €);

7 March 2001: advance payment received from the European Commission for the Project.

B. Project Activities

1. Please list all the activities since the beginning of the project to date. For example: Activity 1:
Conference at town X with Y participants for Z days.
Topics covered: A.
Reason for modification from planned activity (if applicable).
Assessment of the results of this activity:

Twelve activities have been implemented to date within this Project (two others are under way) and are summarized below in chronological order (this does not include activities to be held in January and February 2002, which are in the final process of preparation – see B4 below). Details about follow-up have been also added since Council of Europe feels important to make sure that all activities in a specific country are somehow related to each other and that the results or conclusions of one activity can be used for the next one (added-value). In some cases, the follow-up concerns other countries of the region. More information concerning expenditure is available in the financial interim report.

Activity 1 (1st out of 4 contact visits – financed from CoE extra contribution in 2000)
Title: Conference “State Policies toward the Roma in Macedonia”.
Dates and Place: Skopje, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, 13-14 October 2000
Participants: 1 Secretariat mission.
Partners: Project on Ethnic Relations (PER), OSCE-ODIHR.
Aims and topics covered: this first visit of the Project manager to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” aimed at establishing preliminary contacts with governmental authorities and with Roma NGOs and activists of this country in preparation of future activities planned within the joint CoE/OSCE-ODIHR/EC Project on Roma under the Stability Pact. A number of issues to be addressed in the agenda were closely related to the Council of Europe part of the Project (i.e. designing a comprehensive government policy toward the Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, or the impact of the Kosovo war on the Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”).
Modification from planned activity: none.
Assessment of the results: in view of the objectives, the meeting was disappointing in a sense that most of the high-level official participants left after the first session, which made it very difficult for the Roma participants – and for the project manager - to discuss crucial topics of the agenda. Nevertheless, this mission was useful to establish contacts with Roma activists.
Follow-up: one of the proposals made by Roma participants at this Conference was to establish an inter-ministerial Commission on Roma issues with the active participation of Romani representatives. This proposal meets one of the objectives of the joint Project. The establishment of such a commission will be taken up and pushed forward in 2002 on the occasion of various round tables with governmental representatives and Roma NGOs.
Expenditure: average cost per contact mission budgeted: 1,006 € – spent: 1,148.89 €.
Documents/reports available: PER publication from the Conference (available in English).
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Activity 2 (reference: 6.2.3.1 - financed from CoE extra contribution in 2000)
Title: Case study regarding the situation of Roma communities, as well as Roma internally displaced persons and refugees in the Tuzla Canton, FBiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Dates and Place: November 2000 (8-days visit), Tuzla Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants: 1 consultant.
Partners: OSCE-ODIHR, OSCE mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNHCR.
Aims and topics covered: The main objective was to assess the situation and needs of Roma local communities, as well as Roma internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees in the Tuzla Canton (FbiH) and Bijeljina area (Republika Srpska), Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Modification from planned activity: originally the case study was supposed to focus exclusively on the Tuzla Canton, but it was felt judicious and more politically-balanced to cover also the neighbouring area of Bijeljina, where lives one of the largest Roma community of Republika Srpska.
Assessment of the results: The consultant accomplished his work in the time limit and identified, through interviews with Roma individuals, a number of daily problems, particularly in the fields of property, housing, and education. He conducted during the same period for the OSCE-ODIHR a monitoring exercise of the participation of Roma in the November presidential elections. This is a clear example of the complementary aspect of Council of Europe and OSCE-ODIHR work in the region and within this Project. Retrospectively, it was a good choice to recruit Mr Martin Demirovski as the consultant for this survey since he was appointed in September by the OSCE-ODIHR as a Roma Officer in the OSCE mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr Demirovski has been involved in the organisation of several activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the joint CoE/OSCE-ODIHR/EC project and will promote the establishment of an advisory board for Roma issues in this country in 2002.
Follow-up: the results of the survey made by the Consultant has been distributed as a catalogue of Roma daily problems at meetings organised in Bosnia and Herzegovina in March and November 2001 and will be used to help Roma representatives of the future Advisory Board on Romani Issues to come up with factual information and data about the present situation in Tuzla and Bijeljina areas.
Expenditure: budgeted: 4,722 € - spent: 3,921 USD (about 4,3346 € out of the ADACS 2000 programme).
Documents/reports available: consultant’s report (15 A4 pages in English).
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Activity 3 (2nd out of 4 contact visits –financed from CoE extra contribution in 2000)
Title: Seminar “Legal Aspects of the Rights of National Minorities”.
Dates and Place: Zagreb, Croatia, 4-5 December 2000.
Participants: 1 Secretariat mission.
Partners: Government Office for National Minorities of the Republic of Croatia.
Aims and topics covered: The main objectives of this mission were to present the joint Project at this regional seminar, which was attended by governmental representatives and members of minority groups from most of the countries of South Eastern Europe, and establish contacts with some delegations. The discussions focused inter alia on the participation of national minorities in decision-making processes and bilateral agreements.
Modification from planned activity: none.
Assessment of the results: Though there were few Roma representatives attending the Seminar, certain issues were touched upon, such as the respect of the diversity of Roma organisations and political parties, the non-discriminatory participation of Roma in decision-making processes or the need among Roma NGOs to self-elect representatives to become official interlocutors for the government in the framework of mixed interministerial commissions/advisory bodies. The project manager had an occasion on the margin of the Seminar to discuss the schedule and implementation of activities under the Joint Project with the Office for Minorities, which is the main official interlocutor for the Project in Croatia.
Follow-up: Apart from establishing useful contacts with delegations of Stability Pact targeted countries, the discussion on the participation of Roma in bilateral/multilateral agreements retained the interest of the project manager, who proposed this topic for a working group at the OSCE Conference “Equality of Opportunities for Roma and Sinti: translating words into facts”, organised in Bucharest on 10-13 September 2001. As a consequence of the interest shown for the subject, a brainstorming meeting between Roma and international experts, governmental officials and international organisations will be held in Strasbourg in mid-February 2002. This meeting will be co-organised and co-financed by the Council of Europe DGIII-Social Cohesion, DGII-Human Rights and the OSCE-ODIHR.
Expenditure: average cost per contact mission budgeted: 1,006 € – spent: 1,067.50 €.
Documents/reports available: meeting report to be obtained from the Croatian organisers.
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Activity 4 (3rd out of 4 contact visits – financed from the CoE contribution to the Project)
Title: Conference “The Status and Perspectives of the Roma in Serbia”
Dates and Place: Belgrade, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 16 February 2001.
Participants: 1 Secretariat mission.
Partners: Project on Ethnic Relations (PER), Forum on Ethnic Relations (FER), OSCE-ODIHR.
Aims and topics covered: this first visit of the Project manager to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia aimed at establishing preliminary contacts with governmental authorities and with Roma NGOs and activists of this country in preparation of future activities planned within the joint Project. A number of issues to be addressed in the agenda were closely related to the Council of Europe part of the Project (status and participation models). The status of the Roma in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was discussed in the light of the future adoption of a Law on the Protection of National Minorities.
Modification from planned activity: none.
Assessment of the results: Debates concerning crucial issues, such as the representation and participation of Roma in the emerging democratic society in Serbia, were highly interesting. This mission was also useful to establish contacts with Roma activists and authorities.
Follow-up: The Secretariat was informed that a follow-up meeting will take place at local level in April 2002. The Roma Adviser of the Federal Minister of National and Ethnic Communities took contacts with the Council of Europe to propose bilateral activities (so far not foreseen in the Project), such as an information campaign among Roma communities about the necessity to register as Roma in the coming population census, or a Conference between Roma and authorities about the establishment of an inter-ministerial commission for Roma issues at the federal level - as proposed in the draft federal law on national minorities.
Expenditure: average cost per contact mission budgeted: 1,006 € – spent: 1,426.76 €.
Documents/reports available: PER publication from the Conference (available in English).
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Activity 5 (reference: 6.1.1.1 - financed from the EC contribution to the Project)
Title: Multilateral Meeting of Governmental Officials Responsible for Policies toward the Roma.
Dates and Place: CoE European Youth Centre, Budapest, Hungary, 23-24 March 2001.
Participants: 19 participants [Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”] + 2 Secretariat.
Partners: European Commission Delegation in Hungary, OSCE-ODIHR.
Aims and topics covered: The main objective of this meeting was to enable key officials responsible for Roma issues to exchange experience, familiarise themselves with other legislation and mechanisms of co-operation, as well as to build working relationships in the region on Roma issues.
Modification from planned activity: The activity expenditure was lower than initially budgeted due to the fact that no interpretation was needed (two delegations were accompanied by interpreters), and because the Council of Europe Youth Centre provided us with meals and accommodation at very low rate. When establishing the list of participants, it was felt useful to invite a representative from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, as they do have an interesting experience in the elaboration of strategies for Roma.
Assessment of the results: This was the first activity following the signature of the contract with the European Commission. It inaugurated the joint CoE/OSCE-ODIHR/EC Project on Roma under the Stability Pact. Countries of Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic and Slovakia), which have in recent years adopted national strategies/programmes for Roma, openly presented examples of good practices but also the limitations of their own “models”. International organisations present insisted in the establishment of mechanisms/structures for active and equal participation of Roma in the process of elaboration, adoption, implementation and monitoring of such strategies.The meeting was considered useful by a number of delegations in terms of receiving information and advice from countries, which have experienced the establishment of such policies in the recent years. Croatia confirmed its willingness to adopt such a programme for Roma. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia also insisted in the adoption of national legislation providing the Roma with a clear status of minority. It was important for international organisations, and Council of Europe in particular, to stimulate the development of a regional approach to Roma issues. It could be regretted that some delegations who had been invited (Bulgaria, Greece) did not show up.
Follow-up: The meeting was also used to prepare future activities under the joint project, namely in Croatia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. The latter suggested some modifications to the joint project description and proposed for instance a round table between Roma and relevant ministries limited to the field of education.
Expenditure: budgeted 16,944 € - spent: 9,153.20 € (see the interim financial report for comments about the difference between foreseen and real costs).
Documents/reports available: a questionnaire on policies toward the Roma was sent to each delegation. Replies were collected and put together in a synthesis (50 A4 pages in English).
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Activity 6 (reference 6.2.3.3 - financed from the CoE contribution to the Project)
Title: Round-table on the status of Roma and the implementation of the framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, preceded by a training of Roma NGOs.
Dates and Place: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 28-29 March 2001.
Participants: 41 [9 officials from State and Entity levels, 11 Roma representatives, 1 CoE Secretariat, 9 other representatives of international organisations (OSCE-ODIHR, UNHCR, OHR, CoE Office in Sarajevo, CoE Local Democracy Agency, OSCE mission), 3 international experts (RNC, ERRC, Advisory Committee of the framework Convention), 5 representatives of international or local NGOs/institutions, 3 interpreters].
Partners: OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, CoE Office in Sarajevo, OSCE-ODIHR.
Aims and topics covered: The two-day event consisted of a training on 28 March organised for Romani representatives from across Bosnia and Herzegovina. Discussions focused on the framework Convention and the consequences of its implementation for Roma. On 29 March, representatives of various State and Entity Ministries, the State and Federation Ombudsmen, international organisations and local NGOs gathered to concretely identify necessary steps to improve the position of Romani communities. Mechanisms to assist governmental authorities in implementation of the framework Convention were also discussed, as well as the status of Roma under the State and Entity constitutions.
Modification from planned activity: The total number of participants was higher than originally estimated but international participants and observers covered their own expenses (except meals). The expert from the International Romani Union (IRU) could not attend. One interpreter in Romani language was from “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
Assessment of the results: The Roma participants adopted a series of (probably not concrete enough) recommendations connected to articles of the framework Convention, which were later distributed to the relevant ministries at all levels and international organisations for consideration and action. The need for increased political participation of Roma at all levels was highlighted as a key element in combating the disadvantages and discrimination affecting Roma communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants recommended that the current constitutional status of Roma be included in the discussions of the Federation and Republika Srpska Constitutional Commissions. The State Ministries for Human Rights and Refugees and for European Integration, in particular, supported the establishment of a National Advisory Board for Roma Issues with a mixed representation.
Follow-up: The immediate follow-up was the preparation of the meeting report consisting of the 27 recommendations elaborated and discussed at the round table. These recommendations were sent to the relevant ministries, accompanied by a joint letter from the OSCE mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Council of Europe (unfortunately little feed-back was received from this mailing). The decision was taken – supported by the State Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees - to organise another meeting in 2002 to discuss the establishment of an Advisory Board for Roma Issues (see below).
Expenditure: budgeted: 10,825 € - spent: 11,420.60 €.
Documents/reports available: Meeting report consisting of 27 recommendations (6 A4 pages available in English, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian); press release.
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Activity 7 (4th out of 4 contact visits – financed from the CoE contribution to the Project)
Title: Regional Meeting of Roma NGOs of South-Eastern Europe.
Dates and Place: Bucharest, Romania, 28-30 April 2001.
Participants: 1 Secretariat mission.
Partners: Romani CRISS, OSCE-ODIHR, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania.
Aims and topics covered: The main objective was to launch the OSCE-ODIHR part of the Joint Project and share information with Roma from the region, focusing on two basic principles: the partnership between international organisations, Roma NGOs and authorities and the transfer of expertise “from Roma to Roma”. The Romanian authorities gave an overview of the Stability Pact aims and structure.
Modification from planned activity: none.
Assessment of the results: The meeting brought together about 60 participants: Roma NGOs and elected Roma representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Romanian authorities, officers in the OSCE field missions and international organisations (European Commission, Council of Europe, UNHCR, OSCE-ODIHR). The participants agreed on several proposals, including the organisation of trainings for local Roma mediators, the development of Roma networks both at national and regional level, to develop trainings for Roma women, to assist the organisation of round-tables with all Roma NGOs in targeted countries, to assess the participation of Roma in local and national elections, to create a position of Roma contact point within local OSCE missions, to support production and dissemination of neutral information about Roma, to assist the setting-up of new civic associations, etc. The project manager took part in this meeting – as Mr Nicolae Gheorghe of OSCE-ODIHR did at the launching meeting of Council of Europe part of the joint Project in Budapest - to show that this joint project means close co-operation between the partner organisations and also partnership with all other actors.
Follow-up: a number of the proposals stated above have been already implemented (please contact the OSCE-ODIHR in Warsaw for further details – nicolae@odihr.osce.waw.pl). Another concrete follow-up to this meeting was the creation of a mailing list where Roma and other partners of the Roma Project under the Stability Pact can exchange information: Roma_StabilityPact@yahoogroups.com
Expenditure: average cost per contact mission budgeted: 1,006 € – spent: 900.63 €.
Documents/reports available: meeting report available in English, Romanian and Romani from Romani CRISS (criss.stability@dnt.ro).
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Activity 8 (reference: 6.2.1.2 - financed from the EC contribution to the Project)
Title: Think Tank between Governmental and Local Authorities of Croatia and International Experts on the National Programme for Roma.
Dates and Place: Zagreb, Croatia, 8-9 June 2001.
Participants: 26 [10 governmental representatives, 4 representatives of local authorities, 4 international experts from Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain and the United Kingdom, 1 CoE Secretariat, 1 EC delegation in Croatia, 2 OSCE missions, 1 representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office in Croatia), 3 interpreters.
Partners: Office for Minorities of the Government of Croatia, European Commission Delegation in Croatia.
Aims and topics covered: The objective of this meeting was to hold a brainstorming session with government officials in order for them to hear about other countries’ experience in the field of national strategies for Roma and better articulate their own position. The Office for National Minorities presented an outline of the national comprehensive programme for the improvement of the situation of Roma in Croatia. Six priority areas were identified and separately discussed: citizenship and residence issues, housing, education, social welfare, health care and employment. The Office also referred to a number of concrete actions such as introducing water and electricity in Romani settlements. The General Rapporteur, Ms Ina Zoon, underlined the substantive and procedural issues in the elaboration of national strategies placing emphasis on the participation of Roma, the comprehensiveness, the mixed approach and the anti-discrimination focus. International experts presented the experience of Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the experience of the United Kingdom (Reading Council) in inter-ethnic relations policy at local level. Mr Enrique Aguado-Asenjo from the European Commission Delegation stated that the incorporation of the Race and Equality Directive (EC Directive 2000/43/EC) in the Croatian legislation is of utmost importance.
Modification from planned activity: In addition to ministerial officials, the co-organisers considered useful to invite representatives of local authorities. The Hungarian civil servant was accompanied by an interpreter. An expert from Bulgaria was also added to the list in order to provide a wider exchange of experiences. Despite these additional costs, the estimated budget was not exceeded.
Assessment of the results: Though the Croatian Government is determined to elaborate a comprehensive programme for Roma, it did not adopt yet any formal decision in this sense. Some of the ministries present (education, health, reconstruction) have expressed their willingness to develop Roma sector-based policies. Almost all participants mentioned lack of information and reliable data as one of the biggest challenges. In that respect, the survey on obstacles to non-discrimination of Roma to be carried out in Croatia under the Project is of utmost importance. The consultant recruited to conduct this survey is Ms Ina Zoon, the general rapporteur of this round table.
Follow-up: The meeting report was circulated to all interested parties, including Roma NGOs. Ms Ina Zoon, as a consultant, has had opportunities to meet again a number of the ministerial representatives when conducting fact-finding visits in Croatia to draft the survey.
Expenditure: budgeted: 12,530 € - spent: 11,778.09 €.
Documents/reports available: Meeting report written by the General Rapporteur and approved by the organisers and the experts (15 A4 pages in English and Croatian).
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Activity 9 (additional activity financed from CoE and OSCE-ODIHR contributions)
Title: National Conference of Croatian Roma NGOs on the National Strategy for Roma.
Dates and Place: Zagreb, Croatia, 29-30 July 2001.
Participants: About 60 (representatives from 36 Roma NGOs from various geographical areas, European Commission Delegation in Croatia, OSCE mission to Croatia, Council of Europe Secretariat, international and local Council of Europe consultants).
Partners: OSCE-ODIHR, European Commission, Croatian Roma Organising Committee (mainly the Croatian Roma Union and the Women’s Organisation “Better Future”).
Aims and topics covered: The three major aims of this meeting were: 1) to bring together most of the Roma NGOs, which are active in Croatia; 2) to launch a debate on the governmental initiative and make them work together and elaborate their own recommendations for the strategy; 3) to obtain that Roma NGOs elect representatives among themselves to work with the government on the different chapters of the strategy.
Modification from planned activity: Following the Multilateral Meeting in Budapest, it was decided together with the Office for National Minorities of the Republic of Croatia that the Council of Europe and the OSCE-ODIHR would organise a Meeting of Croatian Roma NGOs to discuss the Governmental outline and to promote the self-organisation of Roma as future partners for the elaboration and implementation of this programme. Possibilities of integrating Roma participation throughout the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of the national strategy should be further discussed by Roma organisations and governmental authorities at a mixed Round table, to be held in February 2002. It is hoped that the frame of this co-operation will be settled by the end of this year. An evaluation Round table is indeed foreseen in the Project description by the end of June 2002.
Assessment of the results: The two first objectives have been met: most of the Croatian Roma NGOs attended the meeting and despite long-standing conflicts between some of the NGO leaders, a list of concrete and articulated recommendations concerning the six priority chapters identified by the Government (citizenship and residence regulations, education, housing, social welfare, health care, employment) has been adopted by consensus. Other areas of interest have been identified such as youth, gender issues, culture and media. However, due to strong divergences among several Roma leaders, no decision could be really taken as regards Roma representatives who should participate in future bilateral talks with the government on the strategy, though some participants volunteered at the meeting.
Follow-up: As a consequence of the non-satisfactory response to the third objective, it was decided in agreement with the two Roma NGO co-organisers, that the final report and recommendations would be circulated in Croatian to all participants. Their written approval of its contents was requested and the question was put to each of them whether they are willing to participate in the elaboration of the strategy as volunteers, or even more, as representatives in mixed Roma/official commissions if such commissions are established by the government. About 50 names of volunteers were received (including from Roma who could not participate at the Conference), a number of them having also expressed the wish to be active in mixed commissions. In conformity with the Roma Project description, a joint round table between Roma representatives (to be nominated among the volunteers) and governmental and local authorities should be co-organised in 2002 by the Council of Europe and the Office for National Minorities of Croatia to put together their conceptions of the national programme, to have a first overview of priority areas and to discuss institutionalised forms of co-operation between Roma and governmental/local authorities.
Expenditure: spent from extra CoE fundings: 7,439.59 € (see part A2 for further details).
Documents/reports available: Meeting report and recommendations (18 A4 pages available in English and Croatian).
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Activity 10 (reference: 6.2.1.3 - financed from the EC contribution to the Project)
Title: Survey on obstacles to equality of opportunities for Roma in Croatia in the fields of health care, housing, social welfare, citizenship and residence.
Dates and Place: Croatia, September 2001-February 2002.
Participants: 1 international consultant (Ms Ina Zoon) and 1 Croatian lawyer (Ms Lovorka Kušan) in charge of assisting the main consultant in drafting the survey.
Partners: none.
Aims and topics covered: The consultants’ role is to identify direct and indirect discriminatory provisions facing Roma in existing national legislation of the Republic of Croatia related to health care, social welfare, housing, citizenship and residence and to conduct a survey on obstacles to equality of opportunities for Roma in these fields, as well as to propose adequate recommendations for legislative change or modification of administrative practices. Modification from planned activity: none (the fields of research have been agreed upon with the main consultant).
Assessment of the results: the results of the survey will be assessed when the report is submitted. An intermediary report should be available in the coming days.
Follow-up: The final report shall be submitted by the end of February 2002 and should include specific recommendations, which will hopefully be taken into account in the drafting of the national strategy for Roma. Preliminary results of the report shall be presented to and discussed with both Croatian authorities and Roma representatives at the round table on the national strategy for Roma to be held on 18-19 February 2002.
Expenditure: budgeted: 18,585 € - spent so far: about 18,600 € (the 2nd fact-finding visit took place on 18-24 January 2002 and the consultants’ report is being finalised).
Documents/reports available: an interim report should be ready soon. The final report will be available at the end of February. Available in English, it will be translated into Croatian.
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Activity 11 (additional activity financed with contributions from the CoE, the OSCE-ODIHR and the Roma Participation Program – OSI Budapest)
Title: Assembly Meeting of Roma NGOs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by a Meeting between Roma representatives and Authorities on the Establishment of an Advisory Board for Roma.
Dates and Place: Vogošća, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9-12 November 2001.
Participants: About 35 for the Assembly Meeting: 30 representatives from 22 Roma NGOs, international Romani experts from Finland, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Romani interpreters/experts from Hungary and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, OSCE-mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Council of Europe, OSCE-ODIHR (the European Commission Delegation was invited but could not participate). Four Roma representatives have been elected by Roma participants to take part in the following meeting with authorities of State and Entity levels (Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, FBiH Ministry of Health, RS Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees). That meeting was also attended by international organisations (UNHCR, UNICEF, the Office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHR, etc.) and by representatives of the Stability Pact Project Link Diversity.
Partners: OSCE-mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, OSCE-ODIHR, Roma Participation Program (Open Society Institute-Budapest).
Aims and topics covered: This activity was a direct follow-up of the March meeting on the framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (see above). The aims were a) to assist Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina (by bringing Roma NGO leaders into contact with international Romani experts) with the development of a common national platform for Roma; b) to assist Roma with the establishment of a Roma representative body to become the partner of the government in implementing a national strategy on Roma issues; c) to organise a meeting between the Roma representative body and government representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the proposed national platform and the creation of an Advisory Board on Roma Issues.
Modification from planned activity: none (see above about follow-up of March meeting).
Assessment of the results: After three intensive days of negotiations, Roma participants from 22 Roma NGOs developed and adopted a common platform (recommendations in the fields of political participation, education, employment, housing/property, health, refugees and IDPs). They also elected a Roma representative body composed of 9 Roma from various areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina to become the partner of the government in implementing a national strategy on Roma issues (this body was later named “the Council of Roma of Bosnia and Herzegovina”. It shall be registered as a separate NGO and technically assisted by the OSCE-ODIHR). The results from the point of view of Roma participation have been very positive: the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees – after commenting a few recommendations – said that Bosnian authorities had no excuse anymore to work with Roma for the improvement of their situation since the Roma elected their representatives and adopted a common platform, which has been also very much supported by the international actors present. The only major negative aspect was the absence of most of ministerial representatives from State and Entity levels (though most of them had confirmed their participation). The few present however supported the process.
Follow-up: At the meeting of 12 November, the Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Refugees agreed to establish a National Advisory Board on Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina and host its first meeting by February 2002. Interesting developments of interest for Roma should take place in 2002, such as the creation of a Sub-Department for Minorities under the Department of Human Rights of this Ministry, and the preparation of a new population census. In order to prepare the first official meeting of the Advisory Board on Roma Affairs, an international Romani consultant (paid by the European Commission contribution to this Project – activity reference 6.2.3.2) and a local Roma representative paid by UNICEF have been appointed to make an assessment of the situation of Roma in the fields of education and health care (see activities for 2002). The UNHCR, the OSCE-ODIHR and the Council of Europe may organise in 2002 a joint activity for Roma refugees and IDPs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Expenditure: spent from extra CoE fundings: 7,273.80 € (see part A2 for further details).
Documents/reports available: Platform for Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina (6 A4 pages) available in English, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian; recommendations (short summary of conclusions available in the same languages), press release (which mentions the European Commission contribution to this Project).
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Activity 12 (additional activity financed with the CoE own contribution)
Title: Training of Roma NGOs and exploratory visit Meeting of the Network of Roma NGOs of Montenegro.
Dates and Place: Podgorica, Tivat, Niksić, Montenegro (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), 6-9 December 2001 (2nd training seminar on 21-23 December 2001 in Tivat).
Participants: 1 Secretariat mission. Training : about 14 participants from 5 Roma NGOs and 2 trainers. Meeting with Roma network: representatives from Roma NGOs and non-Roma NGOs supporting Roma, OSCE mission, OSCE-ODIHR, Council of Europe, Ministry for National and Ethnic Groups Rights Protection of the Republic of Montenegro.
Partners: Council of Europe Office in Podgorica, OSCE Office to Montenegro, OSCE-ODIHR.
Aims and topics covered: This activity was a combination of various objectives: a) to organise an exploratory visit and establish preliminary contacts with locally-based international actors, Roma NGOs and authorities (Ministry for National and Ethnic Groups Rights Protection) with a view to include Montenegro in bilateral projects in co-operation with the OSCE-ODIHR; b) to assist the OSCE mission to Podgorica upon their request with the financing of two training seminars for Roma NGOs (on project management and fund-raising) organised by the Association for Helps and Support Marginal Society Groups “MARGO Group”; c) to attend a meeting of the informal network of Roma NGOs established by Mr Jan Repa of the OSCE mission to Podgorica; d) to visit a Roma NGO in Niksić and Roma refugee camps in Niksić and Lovanje.
Modification from planned activity: (see above).
Assessment of the results: As far as the training of Roma NGOs is concerned, the trainers reported their satisfaction in terms of active participation and interest from participants, in particular young Roma from Herceg Novi and from Roma participants from Niksić, Četinje and Podgorica). Unfortunately a number of Roma NGO participants from Bar, Berane and Podgorica either did not come turn up or left before the end of the training.
Follow-up: in principle, three other of such trainings should be financed in 2002. So far the Council of Europe has no funds available. The OSCE-ODIHR may recruit a Roma local mediator among the Roma network with the intermediary of the Council of Europe Office in Podgorica. Mr Jan Repa before leaving the OSCE mission suggested to set up a board of advisers on Roma activities consisting of leading Roma and non-Roma representatives, as well as to prepare and finance a project on Roma involvement in daily work of municipal authorities. The OSCE-ODIHR may finance in 2002 a project training for Roma leaders on the topic “negotiating and lobbying”, while the Council of Europe, in partnership with the Ministry for National and Ethnic Groups Rights Protection, may on the one hand organise a meeting on providing local Roma communities with ID cards in the perspective of the next census, and on the other hand establish two advisory boards, one concerning Roma refugees and the second local Roma communities. The support of the Prime Minister shall be sought.
Expenditure: This activity was financed thanks to the additional Council of Europe fundings for the Project – spent: 5,406.51 € (see part A2 for further details).
Documents/reports available: none yet.

2. What problems have arisen and how have these been addressed?

The main problem which arose in 2001 regarding this Project was the impossibility – despite commitments obtained from the Macedonian authorities in March - to organise any activities foreseen under this Project in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” due to the following reasons:
- the attention of our contact persons in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior was comprehensively focusing on the crisis situation that this country faced during most of 2001, and later on the talks within the government about the Framework Agreement and subsequent constitutional changes;
- a number of transfer of posts between different ministries in the second part of the year, which precisely affected our contact persons in the Ministry of Interior and in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
- the necessity to postpone on several occasions the planned round table on education and Roma due to the absence of response from our contact person in the Ministry of Education.
- the feeling that up-coming elections in 2002 somehow prevent any serious commitments from the government regarding the Roma component of the society;
- the feeling that “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” is not very supportive of the Stability Pact activities, and of this Project on Roma in particular.

In those circumstances, the Council of Europe’s mandate – unlike the OSCE-ODIHR’s - was of very limited use under this Project and did not reach its main objectives, i.e. to foster the commitment of governmental authorities to efficiently tackle the problems facing Roma and assist them to elaborate comprehensive policies in partnership with Romani representatives and organisations.

Still the Council of Europe pursued its action concerning Roma issues in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in 2001 by assisting Roma NGOs or local authorities (in particular the Roma mayor of Šuto Orizari) in the submission of projects for funding (Confidence Building Measures Programme of the Council of Europe), by supporting the OSCE-ODIHR in its field action and by preparing as much as possible the implementation of budgeted activities in 2002. For instance, the recruitment of Roma consultants in charge of the legal survey on the forms of discrimination facing Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (reference 6.2.2.4) is under way and preliminary discussion was held with our contact person in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the organisation of a meeting on the impact of the Framework Agreement in terms of decentralised local administration for Roma. However, this proposal has just been abandoned following indication from the authorities that they would like to deal with this matter outside the context of the Stability Pact.

In 2001, the Council of Europe focused its action on Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which major steps were reached toward the adoption of a national strategy, namely through the adoption of concrete recommendations in essential fields and through the self-organisation of Roma as acceptable interlocutors for future mixed advisory bodies. The Council of Europe also initiated bilateral action in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in general, Montenegro in particular, and reallocated some funds to this geographical area.

In terms of budget, it was generally observed that in most cases, the European Commission budgetary requirements for travel expenses could not be respected due to higher travel costs proposed by our travel agency. In order to (partially) limit the budget deficit of this specific budgetary item, most of the meetings were organised over a weekend to benefit from APEX tickets (see the interim financial report for further details).

3. Please list all materials and publications produced during the project to date.

Please see also “documents/reports available” under each activity summarized under B.1.

Three Newsletters, which provide information about Council of Europe activities targeting Roma in South Eastern Europe, and carried out in the framework of this Project and other voluntary contributions, have been so far produced and widely distributed to international organisations, Roma and international NGOs, authorities, experts, students, etc. These Newsletters are made available in English, French and Romani on our Directorate General web-site (http://www.coe.int/T/E/Social_Cohesion/Roma_Gypsies), on the website of the Stability Pact (http://www.stabilitypact.org/) and through the Roma and Stability Pact group mailing-list (Roma_StabilityPact@yahoogroups.com). Efforts are made also to translate working documents and reports in the Romani language so that the Roma involved in the Project can follow all developments in the region and make possible suggestions.

Recommendations in the field of education, health care, social welfare, employment, housing, citizenship and residence issues, political participation and so on, which were drafted and adopted by Roma NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and to some extent in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (focusing on refugee issues) are available in English and local languages. They have been handed over to authorities and should serve as a basis for bilateral talks and joint proposals to improve the situation of the Roma.

Meeting reports are also available (some of them being translated into local languages and available to the public), as well as press releases.

Assessment surveys concerning discrimination facing Roma in Croatia and in the Tuzla Canton of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will very soon (February 2002) be available and translated in the local languages. They should also contribute to improve the situation of Roma when national programmes will be elaborated in the course of 2002.

All these documents mention the financial and political support of the European Commission to this Project. In most cases the joint logo Council of Europe/European Commission appears on the documents (see below).

4. Please give a plan of activities for the financial period between this interim report and the next one.

The agenda for the first semester 2002 is as follows:

End 2001-January 2002 Inventory of obstacles to equal opportunities for Roma in the field of education and health care in Tuzla Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina (reference: 6.2.3.2) to be carried out by a Roma consultant recruited by the Council of Europe (Ms Alexandra Raykova, Bulgaria), assisted by a local Roma (Ms Indira Bajramović) to be recruited by UNICEF. The 1st fact-finding visit was scheduled on 18-23 December 2000 and included preparatory meetings with international partners (UNICEF, World Vision, OSCE mission to Sarajevo and Tuzla), Roma organisations and families, as well as local authorities in Tuzla. The 2nd fact-finding mission, which went deeper in the two selected subjects, was scheduled for 10-18 January 2002. The assessment report (about 15 A4 pages) should be made available by the end of January in order to be presented by Roma representatives at the first meeting of the Advisory Board for Roma Issues hosted by the State Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees.

18-25 January 2002 2nd field mission in Croatia by Ms Ina Zoon and Lovorka Kušan, consultants for the survey on obstacles to equality of opportunities for Roma in Croatia (reference 6.2.1.3) in the fields of health care, housing, social welfare, citizenship and residence. The final report (about 25 A4 pages) should be finalised by the end of February 2002. Preliminary results will be presented at the mixed Round table to be held in February.

January-February 2002 Survey on obstacles to equality of opportunities for Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (reference 6.2.2.4) in the fields of education to be carried out by an expert from Open Society Institute and a local Roma. The final report (25 A4 pages) should be finalised by the end of February 2002 in order to be used for the Round Table Discussion on Roma and Education matters foreseen early March in Skopje.

18-19 February 2002 Round Table in Croatia (reference 6.2.1.1) on the National Strategy for Roma between governmental officials, Roma representatives, international experts and international organisations (Council of Europe, OSCE-ODIHR, European Commission Delegation in Croatia, OSCE mission to Croatia, Council of Europe Development Bank, and to be confirmed World Bank and Stability Pact Co-ordination).

4-5 March 2002 Round Table Discussion on Roma and Education in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (reference 6.2.2.1) in co-operation with the Ministry of Education, Roma NGOs and activists, and international organisations (Council of Europe, OSCE-Skopje, CoE Office-Skopje, UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children, Open Society Institute).

16-19 March 2002 Multilateral meeting in EYC-Budapest of Roma representatives of Stability Pact countries who have been designated to work in mixed Roma/government commissions/bodies on Roma issues (reference 6.1.2).

April 2002 Think tank in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (reference 6.2.2.2) on the establishment of a ministerial commissions on Roma issues with the participation of Roma.

May 2002 Evaluation Round table between Governmental Officials and Roma representatives in Croatia (reference 6.2.1.4).

June 2002 Evaluation Round table between Governmental Officials and Roma representatives in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (reference 6.2.2.5).

June 2002 2nd Meeting of Governmental Officials responsible for policies toward Roma in Strasbourg (reference 6.1.1).

Possible additional activities to be financed through the reallocation of (Council of Europe contribution) funds originally budgeted for the “consultancy on the preparation of a national strategy for Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (activity reference 6.2.2.3):

February 2002 Training seminar in Montenegro of local Roma NGOs on access to personal documentation and citizenship, in co-operation with the Ministry for National and Ethnic Groups Rights Protection.

March 2002 Training “Empowering of local NGOs to raise awareness among and advise those residents and citizens of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” who have personal documentation problems, to be organised in partnership with the UNHCR.

April 2002 Meeting in Belgrade between Federal Yugoslav authorities and Roma representatives on the establishment of an inter-ministerial commission for Roma issues.

5. Please outline any changes to the foreseen activities or timetable, explaining the reasons for these.

Taking into account the current stage of implementation of the Project activities, the following changes may be envisaged:

The revision of the nature and schedule of foreseen activities in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” via the replacement of the “consultancy on the preparation of a national strategy for Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (activity reference 6.2.2.3) – which in principle should be financed from the Council of Europe contribution to the Project - by other activities, such as a Training on “Empowering of local NGOs to raise awareness among and advise those residents and citizens of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” who have personal documentation problems, proposed by the UNHCR and which could be implemented with the OSCE mission in Skopje. The reasons for that is the lack of support of the authorities for this consultancy since they do not intend to adopt a national-wide programme for Roma (they rather opt for mixed commissions with both Roma representatives and governmental officials to adjust policies in the field of education, housing, etc., and also because it leaves no time to really conduct a serious consultancy on that complex subject in the timeframe of this Project).

It is also envisaged to limit the survey on obstacles to equality of opportunities for Roma in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to specific themes (which still have to be agreed upon with the consultants) in order to be more efficient on a shorter period, and to limit the scope of the round-table on education - as requested by the authorities themselves.

A larger number of Roma participants should be envisaged for the multilateral meeting in Budapest (activity reference 6.1.2). The objective is to put together newly appointed/elected Roma governmental partners of South Eastern European countries with Roma who have already acquired an experience in negotiating with their Government (Finland, Bulgaria, Romania, etc.). This should not drastically change the budget costs because the meeting takes place in the Council of Europe Youth Centre where we benefit from reduced prices for meals and accommodation.

A prolongation of the Project of at least two months should be envisaged to make sure that discussions concerning national programmes for Roma initiated in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia in 2001 are advanced enough to be commented during evaluation round tables scheduled for the end of the Project; to leave some time for authorities of these countries to digest and reply to the recommendations of the consultants; to allow extra time for the authorities of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to implement foreseen activities in the Project.

From a technical point of view, we would like to underline that the per-diem applicable for subsistence expenses (meals, accommodation) has increased from 152 € to 158 € in 2002. This may have an impact on the respective budgetary line.

C. Impact and Evaluation

1. What is your assessment of the results of the project so far? Include observations on the extent to which foreseen goals are being met and whether the project has had any unforeseen positive or negative results.

As assessed with details in C2 (impact on target groups) and D2 (relations with authorities) below, the preliminary conclusion that can be drawn so far regarding this Project is that, generally-speaking, the Council of Europe is in the process of meeting its objectives in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. More remains to be done in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

Contrary to initial expectations, results such as the elaboration of a platform of recommendations and the self-election of Roma representatives has been more easily achieved in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in Croatia where inter alia lonstanding tensions between Roma NGOs have slowed down the process. The complex division of Bosnia and Herzegovina in State, Entity and Canton levels was not a major obstacle to reach a consensus among Roma NGOs at the November meeting, but this might be the case to achieve similar consensus among the authorities in 2002. It is hoped that the commitments of 2001 (establishment of an advisory board on Roma issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the adoption of a national strategy for Roma in Croatia) will be achieved, if possible in the time frame of this Project. Detailed recommendations drafted and adopted by Roma in these countries, and consultants’ surveys can serve as tools for future negotiations.

One of the preliminary conclusions is that the Council of Europe contribution to this Project will contribute to the long-term improvement of the overall situation of the Romani communities in the target countries. The present Project is complementary to other actions carried out by various institutions, which include the European Commission action. The duration of this Project will probably be enough to see a consensus among governments and Romani representatives on the design and contents of strategies, at least in the two aforementioned countries. The adoption of such strategies by governments will however happen later. This means that the international community will have to continue putting pressure on these countries after the end of this Project to make sure that the long-term objectives are really achieved and that Roma representatives become equal actors of the implementation and monitoring of these strategies.

In 2002, we intend – together with the OSCE-ODIHR – to focus on the role of local authorities in order to obtain their support for the implementation of new policies toward the Roma. Representatives of local authorities will be invited on a more systematic basis in activities foreseen in 2002.

Furthermore, the Project certainly favours a regional approach of Roma issues and an increase of crossborder contacts between authorities and between Roma NGOs. The Project contributes to the exchange of experience from accession countries of Central Europe, Romania and Bulgaria included. Good practices and lessons from the past and present are analysed by emerging democracies of the region. The transfer of experience takes place both at the level of authorities, and at the level of Roma experts.

2. What has been the impact on both the target group and the target region so far?

The target groups of this Project are two-folds: the authorities of the participating countries and the Roma communities. This Project has also an impact at national and regional levels.

The impact on the authorities depends very much from their willingness to co-operate in the Stability Pact structure and act at their level in the policy-making concerning Roma.

Both in Croatia and in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, national legislation and structures exist to protect the rights of Roma/minorities. However, in practice, there are still discrepancies and Roma continue to face discrimination. Croatia has been so far rather receptive to improving its policy toward the Roma, in particular through the governmental initiative to adopt a national programme. However, we often have the feeling that – as in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro (FRY) for example – only certain ministries/governmental structures are conscious of additional efforts to be made in this field. It is hoped that this Project can provide assistance to these ministries/governmental structures to obtain the support of other parts of the government to achieve the reforms.

The authorities of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, partly due to the crisis situation in 2001, have been very slow – not to say reluctant - in making any concrete move toward the improvement of the situation of its Roma population. On the contrary, from echoes we receive from Roma NGOs, 2001 apparently saw a deterioration of the situation of Roma (in the fields of non-discrimination,inter-ethnic relations, education, etc.).

When discussing with governmental authorities and presenting the objectives of this Project, which are inter alia to push ahead the adoption of programmes for Roma and create institutionalised structures of co-operation, it was observed that the regional character of this Project is a positive element. Governments do not feel “accused” and are more inclined in contributing to a regional approach of Roma issues through adapting their own system to international standards, where needed.

The fact that three main international institutions – the European Commission, the OSCE-ODIHR and the Council of Europe – co-operate in this Project has a stronger impact on governments. The attraction vis-ŗ-vis the European Commmission and the clear intention of many of the countries of the region to become future member states plays an important role.This joint co-operation is also appreciated as it limits the risks of duplication of similar activities.

As far as Roma NGOs of these countries are concerned, this Project is welcome, all the more so because it helps Roma building self-confidence, creates awareness of their daily painful situation and gives them hope for the future. For many Roma NGOs (most of them have been registered over the past ten years), this is a first possibility to meet with international organisations, with other Romani international experts, and even sometimes with governmental officials. However, establishing a good co-operation among them requires constant efforts. Longstanding opposition between Roma leaders is clearly an obstacle to the smooth development of this Project. Slowdown of the process is frequent due to the unwillingness to pursue co-operation, once the meetings are over. Roma NGOs are not always prepared to articulate their claims in a form which is acceptable for the authorities. They often require more time than this Project allows. Paradoxically, it seems easier to work with Roma NGOs in countries where the Roma NGO movement is still recent (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro) than in countries (Croatia for example) where old NGOs need to cohabit and co-operate with more recently established organisations.

The issue of Roma refugees in these countries is also a very important aspect: the few Roma NGOs who defend the interest of Roma refugees do not always have the same priorities as the “autochthonous”Roma NGOs. Their co-operation is usually not very advanced. In most cases, the issue of refugees is dealt with in different ministries, making it difficult to address all Roma issues together when implementing activities.

Among the local Roma organisations, there is a great need to express one’s problems and promote one’s activities. The necessity to adopt a national programme is often too far from their priorities. In this context, the role of international Romani experts, the transfer of expertise between Roma (Roma to Roma approach) is crucial. A lot has been achieved in a few days in Bosnia and Herzegovina thanks to the very active participation of international Romani activists who convinced local Roma NGOs that the governments need a legal/institutional framework, as well as clearly identified and legitimate Roma partners, to adopt measures which will respond to recommendations and problems raised by Roma.

Targeted groups (both Roma and the authorities) have raised a number of questions: “What happens after the end of this Project ? Will there be any financial support from the international community to guarantee that national programmes are really adopted, and implemented ?” Are there any possibilities for Roma NGOs to be financially and technically supported in parallel to the adoption of governmental policies ?”. Some Roma international activists warned that this Project might raise many expectations among Roma in the region, then requiring proposals for follow-up. The authorities of the countries of the region underlined on several occasions that accession countries of Central Europe received large financial support from the Phare programme, at a time when they were elaborating Roma strategies. The Council of Europe would welcome any information from the European Commission concerning any kind of assistance the governments, but also Roma NGOs, can benefit from. For the present time, the Council of Europe message is to reiterate that the Governments shall show their strong commitment to adopt those strategies to benefit from additional support. At the same time, international financial organisations, such as the World Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank, will systematically be invited to the round tables on policies toward the Roma foreseen in 2002. It is hoped that feasibility studies on innovative pilot-projects concerning Roma leading to loan requests to the banks could be decided at those meetings.

The first phase of the Project was to establish good co-operation with Roma NGOs and authorities at national level. In 2002, more transborder contacts at the regional level should take place, namely through the multilateral activities foreseen in the Project.

3. How and by whom have activities been monitored/evaluated? Please summarise the results of the feedback received.

Apart from the post-activity assessment (see part B1 above), there has been a general evaluation of the Project at various meetings of the Stability Pact. This concerns particularly the Working Table 1, Task Force on Human Rights and Minorities, with which the Project is affiliated. Evaluation round tables are foreseen at the end of the Project in Croatia and in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (there might be also a need to hold such an evaluation meeting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, maybe through the assistance of the OSCE mission to this country).The third multilateral activity scheduled in Budapest should also be the opportunity to make a general evaluation of the Project.

The assessment surveys in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and in” the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” will include elements of self-evaluation of the consultant’s work. These conclusions and the consultants’ work will later be commented by Roma and authorities during round tables foreseen in 2002.

The Project manager intends to prepare a questionnaire to be circulated to the participants. However, not all beneficiaries of the Project – or those who participated somehow in its activities – will be present. Therefore, it is also envisaged to request reactions, comments and new proposals via the Newsletter and the Roma and Stability Pact group mailing list. The opinion of international Roma activists, particularly those who participated in the Project, will be of particular relevance for the general evaluation of the Project.

Concerning the feedback from authorities and/or Roma, please see above C.2, as well as D2 beneath.

The planning meeting with the OSCE-ODIHR to be held in early 2002 should be the occasion for a bilateral evaluation of our co-operation with a view to incorporating lessons from past experience in future activities.

D. Partners and other Co-operation

1. How do you assess the relationship between the partners of this project? Give details about the division of responsibilities, transfer of expertise, and overall co-ordination of the partnership(s).

As far as Roma questions are concerned, relations with OSCE/ODIHR, and in particular with Mr Nicolae Gheorghe, Advisor for Roma and Sinti Issues, are excellent and this has been the case for many years. We keep each other mutually up to date with our activities and their results and try as far as possible to co-ordinate them in a logical and concerted way. The same applies to the various missions of the OSCE to the different countries of South-Eastern Europe.

The division of responsibilities is clearly set out: the Council of Europe is responsible for the promotion of adequate policies toward the Roma, and the OSCE/ODIHR is responsible for resolving the various crises affecting the Roma and promoting the participation of Roma and their mutual co-operation. During 2001, we were able to support each other financially and practically on an ad hoc basis: the Council of Europe - from its own funding resources – co-financed meetings and training seminars between Roma NGOs in Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro (FRY) which was more within the mandate of the OSCE/ODIHR. On the other hand, the OSCE financed and organised, in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, activities that are usually relevant to the work of the Council of Europe.

The fact that Mr Gheorghe is Roma while at the same time fulfilling his role as international civil servant, is certainly very useful during the meetings between NGOs and the governmental authorities. His activities were most solicited in 2001 and Mr Gheorghe was frequently present at events. We would have wished, however, that the OSCE/ODIHR could have been more active in Croatia during 2001 for this Project as co-operation is delayed due to longstanding difficult relationships between a number of Croatian Roma NGOs. This slows down the activities which the Council of Europe wishes to organise there with the Croatian authorities. However, we also understand that the OSCE/ODIHR has had to be more active than originally foreseen in other countries of this area, notably in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” thus making it difficult for the OSCE-ODIHR to be present everywhere.

A meeting between the Project manager and Mr Nicolae Gheorghe is foreseen in February 2002 in order to ensure good co-ordination of up-coming activities during the coming semester taking into account the priorities of each organisation and to discuss the need to propose a second joint Project on Roma to the European Commision for funding (such a project, if considered relevant, may have a different scope, target same and/or other countries, propose innovative types of activities, etc.).

As far as co-operation between the European Commission and in particular its delegations is concerned in the countries of the Stability Pact, see comments under E1.

2. How would you assess the relationship between your organisation and state authorities in the project countries? How has this relationship affected the project?

The project concentrates mainly on three countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

Relations with Croatia, in particular with our official partner the Governmental Office for National Minorities, are very productive. In fact, for 2001, the calendar of activities was completely fulfilled, for reasons that the Project aligns with the governmental initiative which is to adopt a national programme for Roma. The meetings and the field work undertaken in 2001 within the Project, have served as a preparatory phase for the elaboration and adoption of this Programme. The next step is to put in place a good partnership between the authorities and the Roma NGOs. This gives the Project a special objective which is, that by the end of June, a draft national programme for Roma, to be further developed by the Croatian government in partnership with Roma representatives, will be set up.

The often legitimate claims of certain Roma NGOs to feel discriminated, the lack of will from a number of Roma NGOs to co-operate with each other, and the fact that some Roma leaders sought to use their participation in our activities to advance their personal interests at local level, led to frictions with the Croatian Government. Nevertheless, the situation seems to have improved and the Governmental Office for National Minorities will host a round-table with Roma representatives and officials in February 2002.

The two consultants, who have been asked to prepare a survey on forms of discrimination which the Croatian Roma are subject to, sometimes face a lack of co-operation on the part of certain ministries when they try to collect facts or documents, which could highlight whether the accusations are legitimate or not. This slows down the work and explains the slight delay in the submission of their report.

As far as Bosnia-Herzegovina is concerned, the contacts are often indirect as the organisation of the activities are mainly the responsibility of the OSCE mission to Sarajevo and in part by the local Office of the Council of Europe. It would not be surprising to conclude that the desire of various ministries (in particular the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees and the Ministry for European Integration) to see national strategies established for Roma and adequate structures of cooperation is held up by a lack of interest for the subject area at the Entity and Cantonal levels. The insufficient presence of official representatives at these two levels at the meeting held last November (inspite of written confirmations) is very revealing of the problems which the State authorities and partner organisations are confronted with in 2002.

As far as the authorities of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” are concerned, despite good individual commitments to develop co-operation, the political instability did not favour discussions concerning minorities other than the Albanian minority. Contrary to the OSCE/ODIHR, whose mandate is to act in crisis situations, the Council of Europe activities were not able to take place owing to a lack of contact from the part of authorities. It is unlikely that any round table between Roma NGOs and the authorities with a view to clarifying policies toward Roma can be organised prior to the next census and elections, scheduled for Spring 2002. Thus it would be necessary to request an extension of at least two months for the Project in order to accomplish some progress in this country.

On the other hand, contacts have been established with the authorities of the federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in particular with the ministries concerned by Roma issues at federal level and in Montenegro. This could result in bilateral co-operation in the framework of this Project with identical activities (round tables on the adoption of a strategy and the establishment of co-operation structures with Roma), notably through the use in 2002 of funds, which were initially allocated to “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, should the European Commission have no objection to this change.

E. Other

1.Visibility: how is the visibility of the EU contribution being ensured in the project?

The visibility of the EU contribution is being ensured on a regular basis through the following different means:

a) the logo used for joint programmes between the European Commission and the Council of Europe appears inter alia on paper heads of programmes, lists of participants, recommendations adopted in the framework of this Project, reports, legal surveys - together with the logo of the OSCE-ODIHR and the logo of the Stability Pact (see cover page of this interim report). Logos of other partner organisations or authorities may be added as well.

b) the aforementioned logos also appear on the Council of Europe Newsletters for the Project "Roma under the Stability Pact". These Newsletters are widely distributed to anyone interested by the Roma Project within the Stability Pact (international organisations, governments, NGOs, institutes, experts, activists, students, etc.).

c) the newsletters and some of the meeting reports – which mention the European Commission contribution to the Project – are regularly put on the web-site of the Stability Pact (http://www.stabilitypact.org search “Roma”!.

d) on the occasion of interviews with the media, the project manager specifies that the Project has received important funding from the European Community.

e) last but not least, the European Commission delegations are invited to participate in the activities. In this respect, the active participation of Mr Enrique Aguado-Asenjo of the EC delegation in Zagreb to all activities should be underlined, as well as Mr Michael Lake’s and Mr Ron Korber’s of the EC delegation in Budapest. The EC delegation in Skopje has been informed and invited to participate in other activities. The EC delegation in Sarajevo was also informed and invited for activities organised in March and November 2001.

The European Commission delegations are kept informed of any reports or follow-up.

2. Has the grant helped secure new sources of funding for the project? Please give details.

The grant of the European Commission has not helped secure new sources of funding as such. Other donors, such as the government of Austria and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, contributed to Roma Project activities in the context of the Stability Pact but their contributions were dealt with separetely. For information, the German financial contribution of 51,000 € was entirely spent in 2000-early 2001 for Roma projects in Kosovo, in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and in Bulgaria. The Austrian contribution of 43,500 €, which focuses on the access of Roma to employment services, is currently being spent at local and regional levels involving inter alia Slovenia, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

However, the fact that the European Commission financially supported this Project was of great importance for recipients (governments, Roma NGOs and activists). It certainly helped obtaining the support of other ad-hoc partners, such as the UNHCR, UNICEF, Open Society-Soros Foundation, etc. - see the description of activities above).
More recently, the World Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank have been invited to take part in activities to get direct information concerning the adoption of national strategies for Roma and to favour the development of Roma projects.

3 Please add any further information that would help the Commission to make a balanced evaluation of the project to date.

The European Commission may wish to contact Mr Nicolae Gheorghe,Advisor on Roma/Sinti Issues at the OSCE-ODIHR (tel.: +48.22.520.06.00, ext.41.43; email: nicolae@odihr.osce.waw.pl) or Ms Nives Malenica, Expert at the Special Co-Ordinator’s Office of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe (tel.: +32.2.401.87.17; email: nives.malenica@stabilitypact.org) to obtain further information concerning the implementation of this Project by the Council of Europe.

Date: 30 January 2002……………… Location: Strasbourg………

Name of the person responsible for the project:
Ms Gabriella BATTAINI-DRAGONI
Director General of DGIII-Social Cohesion
Council of Europe

Signature: ……………………………………………………………………………………

Name of the legal representative of the contractor:
Mr Jean-Louis LAURENS
Director of Strategic Planning
Council of Europe

Signature: ……………………………………………………………………………………

APPENDIX


JOINT COUNCIL OF EUROPE/OSCE-ODIHR/EC PROJECT “ROMA UNDER THE STABILITY PACT”

Contract reference : B7-700/2000/T-2000/053B

INTERIM FINANCIAL REPORT
PREPARED BY THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE AND
SUBMITTED TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

January 2002

Council of Europe

F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

Tel.: +33 (0)3 90 21 49 63

+33 (0)3 88 41 21 66

Fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 31

E-mail: michael.guet@coe.int

nelly.tasnadi@coe.int

http://www.coe.int/T/E/Social_Cohesion/Roma_Gypsies