The European Citizens’ Panel (ECP) project, launched in January 2006, is part of NEF’s cluster of initiatives on ‘Strengthening Democracy’. It is supported by the Fondation Bernheim, the Carnegie UK Trust, the Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer, the Fondation de France, the Evens Stichting, the Fondation pour les Générations Futures and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust,
The aim of ECP is to encourage a bottom-up contribution from citizens to the discussion on European policies affecting rural areas. Nine regional-level citizens’ panels took place in seven member states and two neighbouring countries (Romania and Switzerland) in 2006 and 2007.
On 2 April 2007, ten delegates nominated by each regional panel came together for a pan-European event during which citizens presented their key policy recommendations to European policymakers. These concern all aspects of life in rural areas, ranging from agriculture and transport to citizens’ participation, education and youth.
Roma Education Fund
The Roma Education Fund (REF) aims to help close the gap in educational outcomes between Roma and non-Roma. Policies to this end include desegregation of educational systems. The Evens Stichting, the Freudenberg Stiftung, the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Remembrance and Future Fund support REF through NEF.
A high-level conference in Budapest in early April brought together over 300 participants, drawn from governments, international organizations, foundations, Roma NGOs and educators, to take stock of REF’s achievements during its first two years. Representatives from REF and Roma NGOs spoke about success stories but also about major barriers that still exist in accessing education, overcoming stereotypes, and measuring the change in educational achievements of Roma.
Since 2005 REF has given grants to 67 projects in 13 Central and Eastern European countries, amounting to approximately €10 million.
For more information
For a full list of citizens’ recommendations as well as other documents, go to http://www.citizenspanel.eu
For a report and recommendations from the REF conference, go to http://www.romaeducationfund.hu