European Roma Summit

7 May 2014

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 neither for Roma. While this Summit could have boosted the role of (pro) Roma Civil Society to fight the increasing anti-Gypysism and populism in Europe, it plans foresees a limited role for them. Of the speakers, only 2 or 3 of the 31 are Roma. When we raised this issue last year, the European Commission shared with ERGO Network their policy principle: “The fact that in [Roma] debates the majority of formal speakers are not Roma is certainly an advantage, and a major one” [letter DG JUST, Directorate Anti-Discrimination, April 29th 2013, bold as in original].

 

Our deepest concern is that the European Commission does value the role and expertise of Roma and Roma NGOs to take a key role in the policy process. In fact, the European Commission did not solve the systematic discrimination of Roma on the ground, which is the root-cause of failing EU policies and funding. The summit fails to address the impact of the upcoming elections, where the (far) right political parties might win votes through populist and Euro-sceptic statements. We cannot celebrate the achievements of the European Commission at the Summit, if these issues are not taken into account.

 

Therefore, ERGO Network plans to organises joint actions around the EU Roma Summit to ask for forceful measures so that Roma can participate equally in society and in the policy process targeting them. The activities give room to Roma and pro-Roma NGOs to present their concerns, proposals and experiences. The activities will kick-start the ‘Wall Free Europe’ campaign that aims to call and end to Roma apartheid by visualising segregation and anti-Gypsyism in Europe in order Roma to be equal and respected citizens in their country (see attachment). The activities will be organised in close cooperation with its members, allies, Roma NGOs and international organisations.

 

Activities foreseen around the EU Roma Summit are:

 

April 3rd– Pre-Summit Meeting (13.30 – 17.00)

Venue: EFC Philanthropy House Rue Royale 94, Brussels (Fritt Ord Foundation Room).

A Pre-Summit Meeting will be organised in order to fine-tune the actions around Summit, the joint declaration and any other joint initiatives for ERGO members, allies, Roma NGOs invited to the meeting and international organizations.

 

April 3rd– Press-Meeting (16.00–17.00)

Venue: EFC Philanthropy House 94, Rue Royale, Brussels (Fritt Ord Foundation Room)

Briefing of journalists through info-packages about the summit, the EC communication and the (pro) Roma events around the summit. Interviews with participants that are inside the Summit and of the events outside the Summit will be offered to the journalists.

 

April 3rd – Opening Bodvalenke (HU) vs Tarnov (SK) exhibition

Venue: Place de l’Albertine, Brussels

The exhibition shows pictures with two coinciding walls: those that divide, and those that include & unite. The inclusive walls are from Bodvalenke -a village in Hungary in the most marginalized regions of Hungary (Borsod) that evolved into a touristic pitch by a group of Roma painters and activists. Till 2009, Bódvalenke was an unknown, grey, desolate, extremely poor little village with no job opportunities. Roma painters from across Europe painted on the walls of the houses and created a unique tourist attraction. Bodvalenke is a living example that investments into Roma communities pays-off and contributes to the fighting prejudices.

The other pictures are from a wall in a Slovakian village nearby Bodvalenke that divides Roma and non-Roma and where is great distrust among Roma and non-Roma. This is one of the 14 walls that exist in Slovakia –some erected recently. 

Commissioner Andor is invited to open de wall on April 3rd.

 

April 3rd – Roma Cafè (18.00 – 22.00 hrs)

Venue: Mundo B

An intercultural evening with international guests, public discussion, presentations, dinner, cine-forum and music ahead of the summit, bringing together all people connected to the Summit in an informal setting.

 

April 4th – “Some-Eat”

In front of Summit Venue 

ERGO members, allies and international organizations will jointly offer a breakfast. Between 08.00 and 09.00 ERGO activists and volunteers will start to distribute– “Some-Eat” Breakfast: a coffee with the joint declaration on concerns about Roma apartheid in Europe and statistics on how many Roma children go hungry to school/bed.

 

April 4th – Wall Free Europe Actions at the EU RomaSummit

Venue: inside summit venue, Square Conference Centre 

During the EU Roma Summit the following activities are planned:

‘Wall-Free-promotion team: around an informative stand/table the elegant hostess and stewards will present (on ipads?) to the Summit Participant different segregating walls in Europe

Europe ‘Wall of Shame’: a wall inside the summit will offer summit participants to share their thoughts about segregating walls through writing, drawing etc

‘Wall-menu’: at lunch, the participants will receive the “Wall-Menu leaflet” with special selection of segregating walls in Europe, picturing Italian, Slovak, Romanian walls.

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