In the wake of Roma expulsions from France, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) Forum for Roma Inclusion met in Vienna on 9-10 September to renew their ongoing efforts to abate Roma exclusion and step up actions to promote European values. ‘What is happening today to Roma communities could happen tomorrow to any minority community,’ said Christian Petry, Chair of the Forum.
The Forum also praised the European Parliament’s Resolution of 9 September on the situation of Roma and on freedom of movement in the European Union and its commitment to Roma rights, appealing to the urgent need for an EU Roma strategy to be developed.
The unacceptable and dramatic events of the summer have led the Forum to redouble its efforts to help ensure an urgent but sustained Europe-wide strategy of inclusion. Recognizing the need for a concerted European response to recent violations of European values and rights, the Forum is increasing its resources to target four priority areas: investment in the crucial period of early childhood through integrated policy measures; promotion of schemes to promote entrepreneurship among Roma young people and later transition into working life; training of journalists and media experts to combat anti-Roma stereotypes; and supporting the work of school mediators, who act as an interface between schools and the Roma community.
The Forum invites foundations to engage more closely in this important issue, which affects not only Europe’s largest minority but also the integrity of European rights and values in the long term.
For an article by José Manuel Fresno on the situation of the Roma in Spain, plus comments from European foundation leaders Bernard Rorke, Costel Bercus and Lisa Jordan, click here.