On 4 November 2020, the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, together with ERGO Network and Roma Active Albania, hosted a virtual conference on “The new EU Framework Strategy for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation 2020-2030 and the Fight against Antigypsyism in the Western Balkans”. Representatives of national governments and civil society from the Western Balkans discussed with representatives of the European Union and international institutions strategies and measures to combat Antigypsyism and to strengthen the participation of Roma in the Western Balkan countries.
Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office, Michael Roth, emphasised in his greeting address to the participants the importance of combating antigypsyism and the crucial role of the civil society.
During its current EU Presidency, the German Government has committed itself to support the EU framework for the period after 2020 and to strengthen the fight against Antigypsyism as a specific form of racism in Europe.
The new EU framework will not only guide the commitment of the EU Member States, but also define the core policy for the equal rights, integration and participation of the Roma in the accession and neighbourhood countries. A key priority of the new framework is to recognise and combat antigypsyism as a root cause of discrimination and social exclusion. The fight against antigypsyism should be a combined approach, both as a separate task and as a cross-cutting issue in the priority areas of education, employment, housing and basic services, health and poverty.
“In consultation with the governments of the countries in the enlargement process, the European Commission has stated that the new framework is also binding for the countries of the Western Balkans. However, to this day, we still see massive violations of international protection rules and national laws when Roma are discriminated against and stigmatised in the countries of the Western Balkans. The direct involvement of Sinti and Roma self-organisation is crucial for the success of the whole process. In the countries of the Western Balkans there are active and committed self-organisations of Roma, but these need to be strengthened in the long term in order to advance the fight against antigypsyism and to achieve a better inclusion of Roma in their countries “, said Romani Rose in his speech.
The event is being organised in cooperation of two projects: “A new policy with Roma in the Western Balkans”, supported by the German Foreign Ministry and implemented by the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma in cooperation with its partner organisations in the Western Balkans and “Romani Women Power of Change in the Western Balkans and Turkey”, supported by DG NEAR and implemented by Roma Active Albania