Brussels, 28 March 2017 – Today at the European Commission, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt MEP, Co-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights together with Valeriu Nicolae, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues, will call on Member States to strengthen cooperation and step up action to stop discrimination and social exclusion of Roma Children at a High Level Stakeholder Seminar ‘TAKING STOCK AND LOOKING FORWARD’ in the framework of the European Commission and Council of Europe Joint-Programme ROMED – Democratic Governance and Community Participation for Roma through mediation.

“Today, together with the EP Intergroup on Children’s Rights and the Council of Europe, we call on the Member States concerned to take further responsibility to address Roma children’s needs, in particular ensuring dignified living conditions and access to healthcare and school, regardless of their parents’ status.

No child should be deprived of his or her basic rights because of the situation of their parents!

Competent national authorities should use EU Funds more efficiently and increase cooperation to remove administrative obstacles that many Roma children still face across Europe.

It is of paramount importance to join forces at all levels – local, national and European – and step up action against social exclusion and discrimination of Roma children”, said Anna Maria Corazza Bildt MEP, Co-Chair of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights.

This event in the Commission will gather Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, a number of MEPs and MPs, mayors, government representatives and Roma civil society. It aims at discussing the possible future initiatives and the outcomes of a joint 6-year cooperation between the European Commission and the Council of Europe on effective processes of mediation and empowerment of Roma communities as well as future cooperation on Roma integration.

“It is often we talk about most vulnerable. Even more we talked about most vulnerable children. Unfortunately just exceptionally we manage to impact their lives in their communities, in the ghettoes, in the state institutions, on the streets or in the informal settlements. Today we prepare the ground for changing that. Schools as engines of social inclusion and 10 for 10 – a set of concrete targets to be achieved in the next ten years including solving the problems related to lack of identity, vaccination, school attendance, preventing drop outs, access to vocational training are meant to bring  that change where is needed the most.

These plans are explicitly but not exclusively targeting the most vulnerable Roma children and build on existing success we had through our joint Council of Europe, European Commission ROMACT and ROMED programs. It is not an easy task and we need to cooperate closely together in order to achieve our goals. I am very happy to see the support at the highest levels from both the European Commission and the European Parliament. I very much look forward to working with the European Parliament Intergroup on Children and try to find together the best possible ways for implementation”, said Valeriu Nicolae, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues.

About the Author