Local communities play a crucial role in integrating the Roma population. At a meeting between the head of the Council of Europe office in Belgrade, Tobias Flessenkemper, and the Serbian Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, Gordana Comic, the Council of Europe’s commitment to further strengthen the empowerment of the Roma in the country and the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue to continue to support local authorities in this area was repeated.
This support for the Roma in Serbia is realized in particular through the partnership with the Joint Program of the European Union / Council of Europe ROMACTED “Promoting good governance and strengthening the Roma at local level”, the second phase of which in Serbia will officially co-operate in September 2021 with the Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue and the municipal representatives of the 14 twin cities / municipalities in Serbia.
“Roma are the second largest national minority in Serbia. ROMACTED II works at the local level, and here we must first be able to realize all of your fundamental rights and freedoms ”, says Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of the Office of the Council of Europe in Belgrade. “Good politics requires participation and reliable information about people’s wants and needs. 14 municipalities in Serbia will commit to the ROMACTED approach for the benefit of the Roma and all citizens. The aim is to promote equality and diversity, taking into account the particular strengths, resilience and innovation of Roma citizens, ”he emphasized.
Gordana Comic, Serbian Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, noted that Roma inclusion was a strategic and political goal and stressed that Roma in Serbia are still not in terms of job opportunities, housing, education and training other basic rights are equal. “You can’t ban prejudice, but you can pass laws that ban prejudice-based behavior, and that’s where Roma inclusion begins. This ministry will be actively involved in all projects related to Roma integration and we expect the Council of Europe to continue its support, including under the European Union-Council of Europe’s joint ROMACTED II program, ”she said.
The Ministry and the Office of the Council of Europe in Belgrade will work closely together to improve the integration of Roma in Serbia. ROMACTED II, the joint program of the European Union and the Council of Europe, which runs from 2021 to 2024, is a natural continuation of Phase I of ROMACTED. It will serve to consolidate efforts to better integrate the Roma population into local communities and expand increased participation in local policy-making and implementation of local measures. ROMACTED II will continue to support local authorities in integrating Roma-specific dimensions / measures into general local policies, action plans related to these policies, budgets and public services, thereby enhancing democratic participation and empowerment of local Roma communities .
More information about EU Council of Europe ROMACTED program