Phiren Amenca

Roma Youth Dialogue at the EU Roma Week in Brussels

The Roma Youth Dialogue took place at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium between 15 and 18 May, 2022. The event took place in the framework of the EU Roma Week 2022 and it brought together around 40 young Roma and non-Roma from all over Europe. The objectives of the event were to allow the young participants to meet in person with members of the European Parliament, the European Commission and representatives of Roma, pro-Roma and youth civil society organizations as well as to offer a platform for networking and providing opportunities for personal and professional development.

After attending the official opening ceremony of the EU Roma Week at the European Parliament, participants took part in the “Contemporary Young Roma Heroes” event organized by Phiren Amenca International Network on 16 May 2022, between 11.30 and 13h. Within this event, the record of which is available here, five young Roma speakers: Morena Pedriali (Italy), Mihail Mishev (Bulgaria), Jozsef Marton (Hungary), Noelia Lopes Cortez (Spain) and Shimano Petermann (Germany) presented their inspiring campaigns and initiatives directed at community organizing, remembrance, promoting Roma identity and Roma LGBTQ intersectionality. The event was opened by MEP Romeo Franz followed by a video address by the European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli and a speech by Marina Csikos, Phiren Amenca Project Assistant. Moderator of the event was Atanas Stoyanov, Phiren Amenca Project Manager.

In the afternoon participants met with Mrs Irina Spataru  – MEP Assistant at the European Parliament and Mrs Marcela Adamova – Policy officer at the Roma Team of DG Justice of the European Commission. They had the opportunity to hear the inspirational personal stories of two Roma women who are working for the EU institutions and ask them questions concerning their work.

On the 17 May in the morning took place the “Opportunities for young people” session where different speakers presented their traineeship and other opportunities to encourage participants to apply and raise awareness on the available initiatives. Mr Andrei Popescu from DG EAC presented the Erasmus Plus Program and other initiatives such as Discover EU and ESC. Mrs Hilde de Roeck, Programme Manager for the Blue Book Traineeship, DG EAC B.3 presented the deadlines and other relevant information concerning the application process as well as the attempts to make this traineeship more diverse and available for participants from different institutions. Mrs Sara Milano, Traineeship Officer Learning and Development at the Committee of Regions CoR presented the traineeship programme of the Committee of the Regions followed by Ms Eduarda Pinto, Traineeship Coordinator at the S&D Political Group who presented the special traineeship available for European Roma.  Presentations followed by Ms Sheena Keller, Senior Sector Officer for Roma inclusion at EEA Norway Grants and Ms Annika Vollmer and Ms Maureen Morris from the German Marshall Fund of the United States – GMF, Brussels.

In the afternoon took a session dedicated to “Networking with Brussels-based youth organizations” which aimed at presenting the work of various youth organizations and seeking for opportunities to collaborate and involve young Roma and non-Roma. Presentations were given by Mr Antonio Argenziano, President of JEF – Europe, Mr Panagiotis Chatzimichail, Board Member of European Youth Forum – YFJ, Ms Chaka Welch, Anti-racism Policy Coordinator at Diaspora Vote, Ms Camila Piastro, Intersectional Action Office at CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe, Mr Elias Dray, President of the European Union of Jewish Students – EUJS and Ms Monika Turanova from the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations – FEMYSO.

Besides attending the official program of the Roma Youth Dialogue participants had the opportunity to interact with over 100 guests of the EU Roma Week, among them MEPs –  members of the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup at the European Parliament and their accredited assistants, representatives of the Council of Europe, official from the European Commission and the European Fundamental Rights Agency, and numerous representatives of Roma civil society organizations coming from the European Union and the Western Balkans.

The full program of the Roma Youth Dialogue is available here.

The full Agenda of EU Roma Week 2022, gallery and videos from the events are available here.

The EU Roma Youth Dialogue took place as part of the Youth Against Antigypsyism – YAG Project funded by the CERV Programme of the European Commission led by the Phiren Amenca International Network, Belgium in partnership with RGDTS, Hungary and Center Amalipe, Bulgaria.