High level conference on Roma inclusion on the ground - The ROMACT experience- 2-3 October

Commissioner Andor and Ulrich Bunjes, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues met local authorities to discuss first results of the ROMACT programme in favour of Roma inclusion
At the European Commission’s initiative, mayors from cities in Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia met in Brussels to take stock of progress and lessons learned in integrating Roma at the local level, in particular with the support of ROMACT.

The conference gave mayors an opportunity to explain how they promote inclusion of Roma and how ROMACT supports their efforts to overcome inequalities between Roma and non-Roma citizens in their municipalities. Mayors presented some of their successful practices, including the following projects:

In Naples (Italy) the municipality has installed water pumps at the entrance of each Roma settlement. Access to water is of fundamental importance to improve the living conditions of Roma. Children can wash before going to school and the hygiene of the whole community has improved.
In Gyulaj (Hungary) the Mayor plans to build social housing. The municipality will provide the ground, students from Pécs University are drawing the building plans and EU funding will support the project. A mason brigade will be created, supported by the Hungarian public works scheme and the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, to repair existing houses with the participation of the Roma.
In Jarovnice (Slovakia) the local government launched a project called Roma Civil Guard (Watch) to improve safety and lessen small criminality in the Roma settlement. The municipality has also started to build social housing for the most disadvantaged inhabitants in the Roma settlement.
In Varna (Bulgaria), the local government will allocate municipal funding for the creation of a community centre in the Asparuhovo district, next to a social housing estate for disadvantaged groups built with the financial support of the European Regional Development Fund. The community centre will support the social integration of Roma and non-Roma living in the district. The municipality will also train and hire two health mediators.
In Valea Seaca (Romania) the Mayor started to provide ID cards to Roma people. The local government has also allocated municipal resources to pave roads and provide electricity and sewage in the village of Palamida. It has also initiated a second chance programme, supported by the Roma Education Fund.
Conference documents
Conference leaflet
Speakers' list
Registered participants
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EC Press release (EN)

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