The Open Society Foundations and the Decade of Roma Inclusion, in cooperation with the political groups in the European Parliament, are organizing a high-level conference to ensure that Roma inclusion remains a priority for national authorities. In particular, member states need to meet their commitments to submit updated and improved national strategies for Roma inclusion by the end of 2011.
Held under the patronage of European Parliament president Jerzy Buzek, the conference will take place on November 8, 2011, and will be opened by George Soros, chairman of the Open Society Foundations, and President Buzek. Speakers will include the chair persons of the Parliament’s political groups, members of the European Parliament, representatives from the European Commission and member states, and Roma experts and activists.
EU Roma policy, first championed by the European Parliament and supported by the knowledge and expertise gained through the Decade, has seen major advances in 2011. However, the European Commission’s Framework for coordinating national Roma strategies, and Council Conclusions that agreed to the steps forward are only as effective as their implementation on the ground.
The Open Society Foundations have worked for three decades to transform closed societies and advance justice, rights and equal treatment for the most vulnerable. The Foundations have spent more than $120 million on projects to improve the condition and treatment of Roma, and to foster their social inclusion. In cooperation with the World Bank, we have promoted the Decade (2005-2015) to bring together all European countries with significant Roma populations to exchange best practice and monitor one another’s performance on increasing the social inclusion and equality of their Roma citizens.
The conference on November 8 will highlight the mutually reinforcing work of the Decade and the EU Roma Platform broadening the cooperation between these two initiatives while focusing on the importance of ambitious national Roma strategies from member-states. Conference speakers will bring their valuable expertise to contribute to the national processes of developing, implementing, and improving national Roma inclusion strategies. The conference will also explore broadening the dialogue between EU institutions and Roma citizens on policies of mutual concern.
For further background material on EU Roma policy, please view the OSI-Brussels policy assessment.
A draft conference agenda is available for download below.
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