ERGO Network for European Roma
There are many cases where we see lack of understanding and respect between Roma and non-Roma, leading to widespread stigmatization and hatred. An estimated 10 million Roma live in Europe. Many of them are not treated as equal citizens in their countries due to widespread discrimination. Roma suffer from low employment, low education levels, housing problems and health care issues.
With our grassroots partners, we are running groundbreaking campaigns for a positive Roma identity, reaching out to non-Roma, addressing discrimination and advocating supportive policies for change. With our campaigns, we're building networks, leadership, cooperation and knowledge that strengthen Roma to become equal stakeholders in society.
Interested in joining our grassroots campaigning work? Please contact us here, join our campaigns or read more.
Integrated approaches for Roma: outcomes of case studies in 5 EU member states
Integrated or comprehensive strategies are slowly but surely becoming more prominent in national, and in particular in EU policy approaches to Roma inclusion. Results are mixed however, and integrated programmes do not always reach communities on the ground. A series of case studies undertaken by ERGO Network members in 5 EU member states looks at experiences with LEADER and Housing interventions in the previous programming period and formulates recommendations for 2014 – 2020.
Fieldwork for the case studies was done in the summer and autumn of 2014. Results and main conclusions were presented at the Hearing ‘Cohesion for all?’ on Wednesday 3 December in the European Parliament. The meeting was co-organised by ERGO Network and the Decade for Roma Inclusion-secretariat and hosted by Soraya Post MEP.
A synthesis paper, ‘Integrated Approaches for Roma Integration’ provides an overview of the main findings of the case studies and presents concrete recommendations for national and local actors and structural fund managing authorities. You can download it here
Cohesion for all? Hearing at the European Parliament
ERGO Network meets Commissioner Jourova
On Thursday 22 January, European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourová received ERGO Network at her cabinet in Brussels, to discuss the contours of the Roma agenda for the coming years. The Commissioner articulated a clear commitment to bring results in the area of Roma integration across the EU. She also indicated a strong wish to do this in dialogue with civil society and learn from successes and failures in the field. Read more in ERGO News.
On 9th November we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall fall and of the Iron Curtain that separated west from east Europe. On this occasion, ERGO Network is organising a number of different events to draw public attention to today's existing physical and mental walls against Roma. Click here for more informations and registration
Seminar on Minority Issues in Tsiblisi - Georgia
ERGO Network is glad to open the call for 7 young Roma activists (18 – 30 years old) for the training Seminar on Minority Issues. The Seminar will gather together 40 young Leaders of Jewish, Armenian and Roma Backgrounds in Tsiblisi – Georgia from October 21st to 26th 2014. Read here the call
ERGO Network calls for you, young Roma, to take action, denounce and share with RomaReact.org the walls that you face in society impeding you to become equal citizens! Participate and share it with your friends! Read here the terms and conditions
In March, ILGA-Europe and ENAR launched an Appeal for an election campaign free from discrimination and intolerance, urging European parties to condemn discriminatory or intolerant remarks during the European Parliament election campaign. ERGO later joined the campaign. An online form enables the public to report discriminatory or intolerant incidents during the campaign. This report compiles submissions received so far. Read Here the full report
From May 9 until May 11 the European Parliament invites 5.000-10.000 young people from all over Europe to Strasbourg for the European Youth Event 2014. The European Youth Forum and many youth organizations organize workshops, discussions with politicians, and a youth festival. ERGO Network, Phiren Amenca and ternYpe will participate with a delegation of twenty young Roma and non-Roma to the Youth Event read more
On the occasion of the 16 of May, the Roma Resistance Day and of the European Elections on 22-25 May we call our members, partners, allies, to resist, to take common action and to mobilize people for a “Wall Free Europe” through common actions Read more
On the occasion of the International Roma Day, ERGO Network joins ENAR and ILGA-Europe initiatives to monitor hate speech made by politicians during electoral campaigns for the European Parliament elections as part of the newly released “Wall Free Europe” Campaign read more
On April 4th, 2014 the European Commission organizes its 3rd EU Roma Summit in Brussels. This will be a high political event, with President of the European CommissionBarrosoand 5 Commissioners being present. This high political event, however, is not organized with neitherfor Roma read more
ERGO Annual Member´s Platform Meeting: With Roma About Roma
As the 2013 ERGO Network platform meeting in Brussels comes to a close, the 50 participating representatives from more than twenty organizations travel home to process two days of heavy reflections. The meeting, held from November 25th to 26th, gave rise to some inspiring presentations of concrete initiatives and future plans, but also fostered direct communication between activists and EU-level officials through two public conferences and one session about a new Commission program. Read about all event here.
ERGO Network presents its Annual Report for 2012
As no other, ERGO Network and its members experience that Roma inclusion is an uphill struggle. Although we look back on a successful year, in which we tested innovative approaches for Roma empowerment (like the RomaReact online and offline campaign) and continued to play an influential role in the European advocacy together with the European Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC), we observe that many of the grassroots oriented organizations we work with struggle for survival. The current funding landscape cripples them to play a forceful role.
Minimum Measures for Roma Participation in the EU and MS policy processes
Different Roma society actors gathered on June 26th to discuss how Roma can become respected stakeholders (on ground) in the process of shaping, implementing and monitoring policies and programmes targeting them and to draft a joint proposal towards the European Commission (EC) and Member States (MS). This resulted in this joint proposal.
Read the all document Minimum Measures for Roma Participation in the EU and MS policy processes
Roma: Commission calls on Member States to step up efforts on integration
The European Commission has called on Member States to deliver on their commitments to ensure equality and to do more to improve the economic and social integration of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma. The call follows the Commission's progress report released today which shows that Member States need to do better in implementing their national Roma integration strategies submitted under the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies. Follow the article to see the video ERGO Network is featured on Round Table with European Commission.
Roma NGOs Pushing for the Roma agenda with VP Reding, EC
ERPC calls on the European Commission to ensure greater Roma participation and more effective measures to combat discrimination. ERGO Network met with Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and László Andor, EU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Employment and Inclusion at the consultation Round table with the Civil Society. Rear more in ERPC Press realease.
European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network (ERGO) staff and members walked out, last Friday, on a European Commission (EC) conference with the aim of signalling to the organizers and speakers that systematically ignoring Roma people and Roma experts during the process of formulation of policies targeting the Roma is unacceptable.
ERGO Network and Amnesty International are calling for your contribution to the RomaReact interactive map for the contest “My story, my rights” with the aim of highlighting the voices of young Roma on the European map. Share your story with the world, make everyone see, through your own eyes, who the Roma are, and help us fight anti-Roma prejudice and discrimination.
The contest is open on 12 March and will close on 30 April 2013.
For more information about the contest and how to apply read more on RomaReact.org .
Hereby, we the undersigned, call upon the European Commission, donors and stakeholders involved in the inclusion of Roma to take the necessary measures to ensure that EU policies, funding priorities and projects fulfil the objective of helping Roma become equal European citizens.
Mind the Gap - Digital Divide and Roma Empowerment
Brussels, Belgium, 04.12.12. “Mind the Gap – Digital Divide and Roma Empowerment” public event “bringing Roma realities to Brussels”, organized by ERGO Network and hosted by Ion Enciu, Member of European Parliament (MEP). Meeting was part of the annual ERGO Members meeting, this year dedicated to the RomaReact, a new digital platform.
Many of ERGO members represented mostly by Reactors, Roma youngsters who are building the digital Roma movement, enjoyed their first visit at the headquarters in Europe. Meeting in the Parliament was also an occastion to celebrate the winners of the first RomaReact.org contest titled MAKE A CHANGE /in the life of a Roma/. The cash prize for the contest was donated by Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Union in charge of the Digital Agenda and ERGO Network. Read more about the event.
Open "Contest 2012: Make a Change"
RomaReact.org announces Make a Change: Open Contest 2012, a video and photo contest made possible by a donation from European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes. The contest is individuals above the age of 16 who live in European Union countries, Albania, Macedonia or in Turkey.
RomaReact.org is looking for agents of change in Roma communities—mainly young people from Roma communities who become successful in the non-Roma world, either through education or business entrepreneurship. RomaReact is an interactive website building a global online community seeking social change and justice.
Challenge stereotypes and influence others! React to what is important to you! Your opinion matters!
Learn more on RomaReact.org webiste.
"It is my pleasure to present you the Annual report of ERGO Network for 2011; a year of interesting developments. In April, the European Commission launched the European Roma Framework Strategy that aims to focus on improving policy design and policy implementation in the Member States. This created expectations and new dynamics among the people and organisations involved in Roma inclusion. ERGO Network strongly believes that the Framework provides a chance for enhancing equal citizenship for Roma." says in the preface of the Annual Report Ruus Dijksterhuis, Executive Director of ERGO Network. Read more or download the Report.
Six months of silence of the Roma Unit
ERGO Network sent early this week an Open letter to the Viviane Reding, the Vice President of the European Commission about the lack of action and the lack of communication with the Roma civil society in last six month since the 6th EU Roma Platform. More about the letter and its attachament, find here.
Pre-launch of RomaReact.org – mapping online platform challenging stereotypes and prejudices Roma people face in today´s Europe
ERGO Network pre-launched unique website RomaReact.org at the occasion of the Day of Europe on May 9, 2012. RomaReact.org is an interactive multimedia mapping platform building a global online community seeking social change and justice by engaging both Roma and non-Roma to share their stories and report on Roma realities to challenge stereotypes and prejudices. Full information about the pre-launch read here. The see the website to go RomaReact.org.
International Roma Day Action
Brussels, 6 April 2012 - ERGO Network ahead of International Roma Day on 8 April, joined European Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC) and other Roma civil society organisations from across Europe in a call for greater commitment and effort on Roma inclusion and in the fight against anti-Gypsyism and racism. It is important that EU member states take responsibility for their citizens' safety. Full joint Press Statement is available here.
What happened to the fight against anti-Gypsyism?
Brussels, 22 March 2012 -There is a lack of targeted measures to combat anti-Gypsyism and of meaningful participation of Roma and civil society in the execution of the National Roma Integration Strategies. This is the main conclusion of a comparative study of the National Roma Integration Strategies launched today by the European Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC) on the occasion of the European Platform for Roma Integration’s meeting in Brussels. The study gathers the views of Roma organisations and civil society on the development processes and implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies in the different Member States, and provides an assessment of the strategies submitted to the European Commission.
ERPC Press Release is available here.
2nd Roma Café: "Digital Rise of Roma Families"
ERGO Network has a pleasure to invite you to the second Roma Café with our special guests Gyula Vamosi, young web entrepreneur and founder of Kaskosan.com, who will be joined through skype by Mustafa Jakubov from Macedonian NGO RROMA and by Silvana Lemos, the Expert on Digital Inclusion from Brazil to discuss topic "Digital Rise of Roma Families". Roma Café will take place on February 29, 2012 from 19 o´clock in Mundo B Bulding, Rue d’Edimbourg 26, Brussels. You are welcome to attend this lively meeting. Read more about the event and the concept of Roma Café.
Review of the National Roma Strategy adopted in Bulgaria
ERGO member Integro Association of Bulgaria wrote a “Review of the National Roma Strategy of Bulgaria” that has been adopted by Council of Ministers in Bulgaria on December 21, 2012.
Strategic aim of National Roma Strategy is related to creating conditions for equal integration of Roma and Bulgarian citizens and of other vulnerable ethnic groups in social and economic life by providing them equal opportunities and equal access to rights, benefits, goods and services, participation in all public areas and improve the quality of life while respecting the principles of equality and non discrimination.
1st Roma Café: "Empowerment of young Roma"
ERGO Network has the pleasure to invite you to our first Roma Café with special guests Adriatic Hasantari and Gerta Xega from Roma Active Albania who will be opening the topic "Views on empowerment of young Roma people". It will take place on January 30, 2012 from 19 o´clock in Mundo B Bulding, Rue d’Edimbourg 26, Brussels. You are welcome to attend this lively meeting. Read more about the event and the concept of Roma Café.
REACT: Results of our campaign now available!
On 28 and 29 November, ERGO Network and partners received activists, stakeholders and policymakers from across Europe for the closing conference of the international REACT-campaign. Over 80 people gathered in Brussels for working groups and debates. The conference ended with a public meeting on Tuesday afternoon, 29 November. Visit www.ergonetwork.org/REACT for a full overview of the rich collection of the material and testminonies from the campaign and see which impact we made.
Bulgarian media paint biased image of Roma
7 October 2011 - Between February and August 2011 – a group of seven Bulgarian Roma students monitored ten national and local newspapers and electronic media outlets and analysed the way they write about Roma. This week and last week they presented their report and main findings at public events in Plovdiv, Blavgoevgrad and Sofia. “Roma are presented as foreigners, as people who do not belong in Bulgarian society. There is no serious social analysis and reporting regularly mocks Roma as funny characters," says project coordinator Ognyan Isaev. [more]
"Break the silence on violence against Roma"
28 September 2011 - Roma Youth organisations today urge the Council of Europe, European governments and EU institutions to break the silence on the acts of violence against Roma and the rise of extremism, racism and anti-Gypsyism in several European countries. To express their solidarity with Roma in Bulgaria, Hungary and Czech Republic and elsewhere, participants of the International Roma Youth Conference demonstrated in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg today and issued a joint declaration.
Mayors come together for Roma inclusion
23 September 2011 - The Council of Europe this Thursday brought mayors and representatives of local and regional authorities to Strasbourg to discuss their role in promoting Roma inclusion. ERGO Network brought Tsonko Tsonev, mayor of Kavarna in Bulgaria there, together with Zoran Aleksov from Stip, Macedonia, to present their experiences and connect to colleagues from across Europe. Tsonev and Aleksov were the winners of the "Most Roma Friendly Mayor" elections in their countries which was organized by ERGO Network in 2009. [more]
Roma Women activism key to improve health situation
19 September 2011 – With the support of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Brussels, ERGO Network brought four Women Roma activists to the 11th International Women Health Meeting in Brussels. From 13 to 17 September, ERGO Network’s Gabriela Hrabanova, Isabela Mihalache previously from ERRC, Gerta Xega from Roma Active Albania, and Natalia Bernard, social worker from Ostrava, Czech Republic joined over 200 women activists and advocates gathered from across the world. [more]
Track the Process: NGO involvement in Roma Strategies
3 August 2011 - After the endorsement of the EU Roma Framework by the European Council on 24 June, Member States get to work and prepare their so-called “National Roma Integration Strategies”. ERGO Network wants to track how that process is unfolding: in Bulgaria, the government established a working group with civil society representatives under its National Council for Ethnic and Integration Issues (NCEII). Integro Association’s Lili Makaveeva is present. She suggested to organize regional roundtables: not only to make a pertinent problem analysis but also to mobilize stakeholders at the regional and local level. [more]
ERGO Network reinforces team
25 July 2011 - In July 2011 Gabriela Hrabanova - former Head of the Roma Office in the Czech government - joined the team of ERGO Network in Brussels. As Policy Coordinator Gabriela will strengthen ERGO Network’s strategic and programme development, while her extensive experience will greatly contribute to its advocacy in Brussels. [more]
A step in the right direction: EU Roma Framework adopted across the Union
19 May 2011 - In a climate of growing discrimination, violence and harassment of Europe’s Roma population, the European Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC) has welcomed today’s adoption by all 27 EU countries of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. The framework, agreed under the aegis of the Employment, Social Policy, Health & Consumer Affairs Council (ESPCO), commits the 27 member states to systematically tackling the socio-economic exclusion Roma people across Europe are forced to endure. [more]
Bulgarian Prosecutor to tackle early marriages
On 21 April 2011, a spokesperson of Bulgarian National Prosecutor declared on national channel BTV, that the judiciary is confronting the silent practice of routinely adjourning cases of early or forced marriages. The news was welcomed by the Roma women of the Sandanski Mother Center – established with support of Integro Association and ERGO Network. In November 2009 they initiated a petition against the neglect of judicial authorities regarding early marriages in Roma communities. [more]
ERPC: EU Roma Framework Weak on Discrimination against Roma
5 April 2011 - The European Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC) acknowledges the European Commission’s political commitment to Roma inclusion expressed today by the adoption of its EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. However, the Framework falls far short of fully tackling the challenges of Roma exclusion, which are intimately linked to widespread hostility and discrimination against the Roma people. [more]
"You can't fix the Roma"
23 March 2011 - Policymakers must start changing their perspective to Roma issues, said ERGO Network’s Valeriu Nicolae today. “You cannot fix the Roma,” Nicolae said, “but that has always been the approach: how to house us, how to get us to work, how to get us to school. It will not work.” Nicolae spoke at the presentation of the book “Roma: A European Minority”, published by the S&D Group in the European Parliament, to which both he and Lili Makaveeva, of Integro Association, contributed. [more]