Update! ROMACT Conference - Brussels, 2-3 October

Commissioner Andor and Ulrich Bunjes, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues meet local authorities to discuss first results of the ROMACT programme in favour of Roma inclusion

At the European Commission’s initiative, mayors from cities in Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are meeting in Brussels today and tomorrow to take stock of progress and lessons learned in integrating Roma at the local level, in particular with the support of ROMACT, a joint programme of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

The conference will give mayors an opportunity to explain how they promote inclusion of Roma and how ROMACT supports their efforts to overcome inequalities between Roma and non-Roma citizens in their municipalities. Mayors will present some of their successful practices, including the following projects:

In Naples (Italy) the municipality has installed water pumps at the entrance of each Roma settlement. Access to water is of fundamental importance to improve the living conditions of Roma. Children can wash before going to school and the hygiene of the whole community has improved.

In Gyulaj (Hungary) the Mayor plans to build social housing. The municipality will provide the ground, students from Pécs University are drawing the building plans and EU funding will support the project. A mason brigade will be created, supported by the Hungarian public works scheme and the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, to repair existing houses with the participation of the Roma.

In Jarovnice (Slovakia) the local government launched a project called Roma Civil Guard (Watch) to improve safety and lessen small criminality in the Roma settlement. The municipality has also started to build social housing for the most disadvantaged inhabitants in the Roma settlement.

In Varna (Bulgaria), the local government will allocate municipal funding for the creation of a community centre in the Asparuhovo district, next to a social housing estate for disadvantaged groups built with the financial support of the European Regional Development Fund. The community centre will support the social integration of Roma and non-Roma living in the district. The municipality will also train and hire two health mediators.

In Valea Seaca (Romania) the Mayor started to provide ID cards to Roma people. The local government has also allocated municipal resources to pave roads and provide electricity and sewage in the village of Palamida. It has also initiated a second chance programme, supported by the Roma Education Fund.

Background

The ROMACT programme is jointly funded by the European Commission and the Council of Europe. It was launched in October 2013 in about 40 municipalities in 5 countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Italy) and will run until 2016.

In addition to mayors, a member of each Community Action Group (CAG) formed through the ROMED process of empowerment of Roma in each municipality will attend the conference and report back to the CAG on discussions and commitments expressed.

National Support Teams implement both the ROMACT and ROMED projects simultaneously in co-operation with national and local Roma NGOs. The teams help Roma communities, through the Community Action Groups created in ROMED, and local authorities generate projects which could be sustainable and respond to the most urgent of the needs of Roma. They also facilitate the access of local authorities to EU funds. The ROMACT programme – at the heart of the Conference held in Brussels 2-3 October 2014 - supplements the ROMED programme, another programme co-funded by the European Commission and the Council of Europe and which aims to improve local democracy through mediation with Roma communities.

Conference documents

Conference leaflet

Agenda

Speakers' list

Registered participants

/// Conference livestreaming! ///

European Commission Press release available in all EU languages

EC Press release (EN)

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