New Solutions to Old Problems: Maximising the Use of Funding for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation


In the past 20 years, Roma communities across Europe have seen very few improvements to their living situation, even though many public and private, international and national funding programs were aimed at Roma inclusion and empowerment. One of the reasons for the lack of success of such funding programs is the application of a top-down approach that does not consider the realities and voices of Roma at the grassroots level and comes with a heavy administrative burden.

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Specific objectives of the Roundatble

The event aims to facilitate discussions on the challenges in ensuring adequate and effective regional, national, and local funds for Roma, as well as on the importance of monitoring data on funding and its effective implementation towards achieving equality, inclusion, and participation of Roma. As such, the event will share the results of the best practices and what really works for Roma from the project “New solutions to old problems – exchange of new types of approaches in the field of Roma integration” funded by EEA and Norway Grants and implemented by the Nevo Parudimos association, together with the European Roma Grassroots Organizations (ERGO) Network and a consortium of 10 NGOs in 11 countries in the EU and outside of the EU.

The event also aims to look at the challenges and opportunities to scale-up the use of EU funds for Roma during the 2021-2027 programming period, and to promote the enhancement of Roma entrepreneurship and access to employment at the local level, highlighting the benefits of this on health outcomes and healthcare access, among other similar spillover effects.

Watch the event online here

Agenda of the event:

14:30                   Registration and refreshments

Moderation:      Gabriela Hrabaňová, Director, ERGO Network  

15:00                   Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Member of the European Parliament, RENEW, Slovakia

15:05                   Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency

15:10                   Ingrid Schulerud, Special Representative on Democracy and Rule of Law, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

15:15                   I PANEL: What works for Roma equality, inclusion, and participation? The experience of the EEA/Norway Grants project: “New solutions to old problems”

Moderation:      Daniel Grebeldinger, Nevo Parudimos, Romania

15:15                   Daniel Grebeldinger, Nevo Parudimos (Romania) – Main findings of the project New solutions to old problems. Funding of bottom-up approaches: ways forward to support Roma inclusion

15:35                   Video – Best practices from local projects  “New solutions to old problems”

15:45                   Tuba Akin, Zero Discrimination Association (Turkey)– Perspectives on funding and implementation in Balkan countries

15:50                   Sheena Keller,EEA and Norway Grants – The need for grassroots measures in designing Roma funding programs and capacity building for Roma inclusion.

15:50 -16:00      Questions & Answers

16:00                   II PANEL: Maximizing the use of funding for Roma equality, inclusion, and participation

Moderation:      Szabolcs Schmidt, Head of Unit, Non-Discrimination and Roma Coordination Unit, Directorate General for Justice and Consumers

16:05                   Jeroen Jutte, Head of Unit, ESF, and FEAD: policy and legislation EMPL             

16:15                   Johannes Boermann, Programme Manager, Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme: DG JUST

16:25                   Hristina Petkova, Equality Coordinator, Strategy, and Investments – strategy, governance, equality, and inclusion, DG EAC

16:35                   Questions and Answers

16: 50                  Comfort break

17:00                   III PANEL:  Insights into the importance of funding and a bottom-up approach to support Roma communities and promote broader social and economic development.

Moderation:     Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Member of the European Parliament, RENEW, Slovakia

17:00                   Petrică Dulgheru, Executive Director, Roma entrepreneurship development initiative – REDI Network, and Bogdan Merfea, Executive Director REDI Fund, on how EU Funds are used in Roma communities and by Roma entrepreneurs.

17:15                   Tomas de Jong, on behalf of the Roma Health Network under the European Public Health Alliance – on the health benefits of improved employment among Roma, examples of the North Macedonian Operational Plan for Employment

17:25                   Marta García Fidalgo, Adviser Roma Policy, Western Balkans, DG NEAR

17:35                   Darko Rudaš and Andreja Zevnik – How the inclusion of Roma as equal partners can   change the future of Roma settlements in Slovenia?

17:45                   Mgr. Táňa Grauzelová   from Zdrave Regiony – Healthy Communities – Best practice in Slovakia    

17:55                  Closing remarks

                            Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Member of the European Parliament, RENEW, Slovakia

Milan Brglez, Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Slovenia

18:00                   End of the event