Brussels, 12 October 2020
On October 7 2020, the European Commission published the long-awaited renewed EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation for 2020 – 2030. We, as international Roma youth networks, have advocated for years that young Roma are clearly included in the new strategic document and we welcome the efforts of the European Commission in this direction.
“Phiren Amenca welcomes the European Commission’s efforts to include Roma youth and achieve equality for them in the areas of employment, education, training and participation. We remind Member States that it is not enough to involve young Roma: Roma youth’s place is at the forefront of these processes. At the end of the day, all these policies concern young Roma the most.” Marietta Herfort, Director of Phiren Amenca International Network.
“The new Framework recognizes the importance to invest into the empowerment and participation especially of Roma youth and Roma women. Voluntary and civic activism is an important contribution to combat stereotypes and antigypsyism in our societies. Therefore, the European Commission and Member States need to strengthen and fund the work of civil society, especially of Roma youth organizations.” Vivian Isberg, TernYpe International Roma Youth Network.
The new Roma Strategic Framework clearly addresses Roma youth, in particular in the context of Roma youth with regards to NEETs, employment, education and participation. As Roma youth organizations we will advocate to strengthen even more the priority for investing into the empowerment and capacity-building of Roma youth and Roma youth civil society; strengthening the role of Roma youth in decision-making as well as in Roma and youth policies and structures.
It is now in the hands of the Member States to implement this document through clear, targeted, adequate, accessible and measurable policies, programs and projects at national and local levels.
In this regard:
We call on the Member States to adopt ambitious and binding Council Recommendations and to show the necessary political will to combat antigypsyism and to promote Roma youth empowerment and participation in all fields.
We call on the Member States to explicitly address young Roma in the renewed national Roma strategies and to invite Roma youth organizations to fully participate in their development.
We call on the Member States to address young Roma as active agents of change. Together with national authorities we can better formulate policies that adequately address the needs of young Roma through mainstream set of measures with focus on young Roma and not only under the national Roma Strategies but also in mainstream policies and programs.
We call on the national governments and national Roma contact points and structures to involve young Roma as experts. Roma youth organizations have to be involved in the National Roma Platforms and in important consultation mechanisms concerning Roma and youth issues.
We call on the national governments and national Roma contact points and structures to seek an active dialogue with Roma youth organisations and to seek ways not only to decrease the number of Roma youth in NEETs but to ensure lasting mechanisms of empowerment and participation of young Roma.We call on national governments to allocate national and European funding to invest into Roma youth organisations as engines of change.
Beyond the European Commission, Member States and National Roma Contact Points, we call upon the European Youth Forum, international youth organizations and the National Youth Councils to support the successful implementation of the new EU Roma Framework, especially when it comes to the empowerment and participation of Roma youth. These structures have a responsibility to ensure the meaningful participation of Roma youth individuals and organizations in their mainstream structures.
We call on the European Youth Forum to initiate a Resolution with its Member organizations to engage its work on challenging antigypsyism and discrimination against young Roma people and to support the development and implementation of youth policies in line with the needs of Roma youth.
There are no targeted or mainstream youth policies or structures that involve or represent Roma youth issues and the voice of Roma young people. Therefore, there is an immediate need for a double mainstreaming approach in which both targeted and mainstream youth policies target and involve Roma youth.
We call on the EU to ensure a coordination mechanism on Roma Youth involving other international organisations such as Council of Europe, ODIHR/OSCE and the United Nations, but also a number of European networks and national organisations working on Roma Youth.
We believe that in order for young Roma to have equal opportunities, these actors must be equally committed for the empowerment and participation of Roma youth.
This declaration is initiated by Phiren Amenca International Network and ternYpe International Roma Youth Network
And supported by the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and the Youth of European Nationalities (YEN).
For more information
Position Paper on Roma youth Position Paper of the Roma Youth Networks on the Post-2020 EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies
Infographics and videos on Roma youth challenges and perspectives Roma Youth Voices Facebook Page
Video message of Roma Youth Voices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njTatT9qAF4&ab_channel=DikhHeNaBister