SG/Inf(2011) 11 rev
20 April 2011
Follow-up to the Strasbourg Declaration on Roma
First Progress Report (November 2010-April 2011) by
the Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Following the adoption on 20 October 2010 of “The Strasbourg Declaration on Roma” at the High-Level Meeting on Roma, I was invited to present a first progress report on the implementation of the Declaration to the Council of Europe (Council of Europe) Ministerial Session to be held in Istanbul in May 2011.
This progress report summarises the Council of Europe action on Roma issues in the period November 2010 to April 2011. Progress made by Council of Europe member states individually in the implementation of the Strasbourg Declaration on Roma will not be covered in this report. The recently created Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma issues (CAHROM) has a relevant mandate in this regard.
Following the Strasbourg Declaration on Roma, and with a view to streamlining present actions on Roma issues by the different bodies and sectors of the Council of Europe, reducing duplication and optimising existing financial resources, I have decided to re-organise resources in a transversal manner within the Council of Europe Secretariat with the task of further developing co-operation with national, regional and local authorities and international organisations in collecting, analysing, exchanging and disseminating information on policies and good practices on Roma, providing advice and support upon the request of national, regional and local authorities as well practical assistance in the implementation of new policy initiatives, specially at the local level, and providing access to training, capacity-building and education material.
After the adoption of the Declaration, the following immediate action was taken:
The information in this report concerns all sectors in the Organisation working on Roma issues and not only the specific activities of the Support Team on Roma issues.
I - CAPACITY BUILDING AND AWARENESS RAISING
1. European Roma Mediators Training Programme (ROMED)
The new European Roma Mediators Training Programme (ROMED), which the member states have agreed at the High-Level meeting, has been rapidly set up and is currently being implemented. The Programme covers school, health and employment mediators. Since March 2011, in-country training sessions have successfully been launched in Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, ”the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Italy, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Kosovo out of the initial group of 15 beneficiaries of the Programme. Before the summer, first training sessions will be held in other countries: Turkey, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, France and Serbia. Notwithstanding practical challenges in implementing a new training programme almost simultaneously in a good number of countries for a professional group that is often not organised or recognised as such, as at 30 April, already 260 mediators have been trained out of 400 originally foreseen. Thanks to voluntary contributions received from several member states, it has been possible to provide mediators with a second training session (to be held in autumn 2011) and to plan a stock-taking meeting on the ROMED activities which will be held towards the end of the year. National and European Roma organisations such as the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) are associated with the ROMED activities.
The new curriculum aiming to promote real and effective intercultural mediation has proven to be effective and well adapted to the actual needs of the mediators. Although it is at this stage too early to evaluate the impact of the mediation between the Roma community and the public institutions and local authorities, initial signs and feedback received from the actors concerned is positive.
In parallel, the Council of Europe has taken the lead in creating a European Database on Mediators, which should be a valuable resource with up-to-date information on various aspects of Roma mediation in a number of countries. This tool is already available on line and will be regularly updated. The European Database on Mediators comprises a section on “successes and failures in mediation” which is a library of European examples in mediation practices.
In its Communication of 5 April, the European Commission announced plans for a partnership with the Council of Europe to join the ROMED Programme, making it into a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. This partnership should include a financial contribution of the Commission as from the second half of 2011 until the end of 2013, leading to a significant expansion of the Programme.
2. Empowering Lawyers and Roma NGOs to further access by Roma to Human Rights at national level
A new training approach will focus on the need to ensure equal and effective access to the justice system for Roma at national level and provide appropriate and targeted training to lawyers based on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Social Charter. The first series of trainings should start in June. At least 4 in-country training sessions will be organised in 2011.
Awareness-raising activities combating prejudices and stereotypes against Roma are being pursued, in particular by building on the good past experience of running the Dosta! campaign in, so far, 15 member states. Following the official launch of the campaign earlier this year in Greece, Dosta! will be extended to Spain and Kosovo (April under a joint EU/Council of Europe project on Roma education). Other member states may join it at a later stage. Finland and Sweden for example have indicated that they are considering using the Dosta! campaign under the anti-discrimination/awareness-raising chapters of their respective national Roma policies.
4. Mainstreaming Roma issues in general human rights capacity building
The Council of Europe European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (the HELP II Programme) has developed a wide range of substantive and methodological resources for ECHR training, including on the non-discrimination clauses, which is available in English, French, German, Russian and Serbian on the HELP website (www.coe.int/help). Recently, the Programme has commissioned a case study specifically dealing with Roma issues, which will be translated into eight languages. This case study will then be used in human rights training activities organised by the Council of Europe (Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs), and by judicial training institutions. It is also available for use by any other interested organisation. As a further example of mainstreaming, the training for judges to be organised under the Joint Programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe entitled “Transparency and efficiency of the judicial system of Ukraine” (TEJSU) will include seminars on the protection of Roma rights under the ECHR.
5. Reference tools
The Council of Europe regularly updates a glossary on Roma-related terminology (Council of Europe Translation Department), as well as a table of Roma population census figures and estimates in European countries. Both documents have become reference tools, not only internally but also for journalists and international organisations, in particular the European Union.
II - ANALYSIS AND EXCHANGE OF POLICIES AND GOOD PRACTICES ON ROMA IN MEMBER STATES
1. Database on policies and good practices: an initial technical feasibility study for setting up this IT tool has been carried out. Examples of policies and good practices are at present being collected for this database in co-operation with member states, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and international partners such as the Roma Decade, FRA, OSCE ODIHR, etc. A new Council of Europe Roma Portal will be operational in May 2011; it will reflect the transversal approach decided at the High-Level meeting. As part of that Portal, the database should be operational in the second half of 2011.
2. Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma issues (CAHROM): following the High-Level meeting, intergovernmental work on Roma issues has been upgraded: on 16 February 2011 the Ministers Deputies adopted terms of reference for a new Committee of Experts (CAHROM) to be answerable directly to the CM. The terms of reference place emphasis on the analysis and evaluation of the implementation of national policies and thematic exchanges of experience and good practices. International organisations, the European Roma and Travellers Forum and other relevant (Roma) organisations are associated as observers to the CAHROM.
The Committee held its first meeting in Strasbourg on 30-31 March. It proceeded to two thematic exchanges of experience on mediators and employment policies and, inter alia, adopted an opinion on PACE Recommendation 1941(2010) on Roma Asylum seekers in Europe. The Committee discussed its role, priorities and working methods which will include thematic country presentations to be commented by other CAHROM experts with a view to sharing lessons learnt from the implementation of policies and practices.
The CAHROM welcomed the plans of the Hungarian EU Presidency regarding a European Framework for national Roma integration strategies and encouraged the Presidency and the European Union member states to ensure that the relevant EU Council conclusions to be adopted before the summer will duly reflect the relevance of the standards and activities of the Council of Europe on Roma issues; refer to the Council of Europe High-Level meeting on Roma of 20 October 2010 and the Strasbourg Declaration adopted on that occasion, and highlight the importance of co-operation between international organisations and the avoidance of duplication of activities, in supporting member states efforts’ to enhance the social integration of Roma.
The Turkish authorities invited the Committee to hold its next meeting in Istanbul in autumn 2011.
III - TRANSVERSALITY AND COORDINATION
1. Transversality and coordination within the Council of Europe
Although the implementation of a transversal approach to Council of Europe activities regarding Roma has started only very recently, good examples of concrete co-operation can be reported in areas such as education, with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Directorate of Communication. This will be extended to other sectors in 2011.
The human rights dimension
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights continues to receive applications alleging violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in respect of Roma. In the reference period the Court delivered judgement in the following cases: Mizigarova v. Slovakia, no 74832/01, 14 December 2010 (death and lack of effective investigation, violation of Article 2); Dimitrova and Others v. Bulgaria, no. 44862/04, 27 January 2011 (lack of an effective investigation into the death of a young man of Roma origin following a fight in which he was involved, violation of Article 2); Soare v. Romania, no. 24329/02, 22 February 2011 (excessive use of police force against a young Roma man, violation of Articles 2, 3 and 13); Seidova v. Bulgaria, no. 310/04, 18 November 2010 (lack of an effective investigation into the circumstances of the death of the applicants’ close relative, who was shot dead while stealing onions from a field, violation of Article 2 – lack of an effective investigation); Seferovic v. Italy, no. 12921/04, 8 February 2011 (unlawful detention pending deportation of a Roma woman who had recently given birth, violation of Article 5 § 1 (f) and Article 5 § 5 - right to liberty and security).
On 22 March 2011, a Chamber of Section IV heard the V.C. v. Slovakia, no. 18968/07 case concerning the allegedly forced sterilisation of Roma women. On 13 April 2011, the Grand Chamber of the Court held a hearing in the case of Aksu v. Turkey, nos. 4149/04 and 41029/04. The applicant is of Roma origin and alleges that two government-funded publications included remarks and expressions that reflected anti-Roma sentiment.
Execution of European Court of Human Rights’ judgments
An increasing number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) concerns violations of the ECHR in respect of Roma. The main judgments under execution supervision to ensure that violations committed are not repeated and that applicants obtain redress relate to:
- Failures by the Authorities to protect Roma from violence both from police and civilians and failures to investigate racial motives of attacks, and to provide redress (judgments against Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”).
- Discriminatory treatment of Roma children as regards schooling (Croatia, Czech Republic and Greece).
- Discriminatory treatment against people of Roma or Jewish origin in standing for election (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
- Refusal to grant a pension to a Roma widow (Spain).
- Refusal to suspend a sentence on account of the accused’s Roma origin (Bulgaria).
The execution of all cases is followed closely by the Committee of Ministers and important progress has been noted in relation to several violations. Civil society organisations have submitted observations in several cases, notably in those related to discriminatory treatment in the schooling of Roma children.
European Social Charter (ESC)
Two new collective complaints concerning Roma rights have been registered during the period concerned: Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) v. France; Complaint No 63/2010 (registered on 15 November 2010); and European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) v. France, Complaint No 64/2010 (registered on 28 January 2011).
The examination of national reports which takes place in 2011 (publication late 2011/early 2012) concerning "children, families and migrants" (including the right to housing) will touch upon Roma rights.
European Commission against racism and intolerance (ECRI)
During the reference period, ECRI delegations visited Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Montenegro. ECRI published country reports on Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monaco, Spain and Turkey.
In addition, a working group set up by ECRI finalised a draft General Policy Recommendation on
anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma. In the preparatory phase it consulted all partner IGOs (including ODIHR and FRA) and 77 NGOs. ECRI will adopt this General Policy Recommendation during its 55th plenary meeting (21-24 June 2011).
Finally, on 21 March 2011 the Chair of ECRI together with the Directors of ODIHR and FRA issued a joint statement on the occasion of the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination, which stressed that "the Roma are the ethnic group most discriminated against across Europe" and drew attention to "recurring forms of stigmatisation of Roma communities in public discourse”.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights
The Commissioner’s work on Roma in the reference period and in the rest of 2011 include: 1) the continuing focus on the human rights of Roma in the context of his country monitoring and thematic work; and 2) the preparation of a report on the human rights situation of Roma in the member states of the Council of Europe.
Regarding the first aspect, the main specific areas which will continue to be in focus comprise:
anti-Gypsyism (including the use of stigmatising rhetoric in public and political discourse and the need to promote Roma history and culture); hate crimes; the human rights of Roma migrating in Europe; forced or other returns of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians to Kosovo; statelessness, including lack of personal identification documents; and the need for de-segregated, quality education for Roma children.
These topics will be dealt with in both the Commissioner’s country monitoring work and thematic work. As part of the former, in the reference period the Commissioner published reports on the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as letters he addressed to the Bulgarian, Romanian and German authorities, which deal with some of the issues mentioned above. Upcoming visits to member states in the second quarter of 2011 where the situation of Roma may be examined include Spain, Slovenia and Italy.
The report on the human rights situation of Roma and Travellers, which is under preparation, was commissioned by the Commissioner to identify possible gaps in the enjoyment by Roma of human rights guaranteed by international and Council of Europe standards and serve as a baseline study to bring about improvements at national, regional or local level.
Gender equality: Roma women
The Council of Europe pursues its work on the empowerment of Roma women and supports their international network. The 4th International Congress gathering Roma women from all Council of Europe member states, with additional participation from Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East, organised in co-operation between Council of Europe and the Spanish Ministry of Social Affairs, will take place in late November/early December 2011 in Spain. Roma women will address issues affecting their full access to human rights such as gender inequalities, early marriages and forced sterilisation.
Contacts have been made between the SRSG Support Team and the Secretariat of the Steering Committee between Women and Men (CDEG) with a view to co-operation in CDEG intergovernmental work regarding Roma women in follow-up to the 2010 Baku Ministerial Conference on Gender Equality.
The local dimension
The active involvement of local and regional authorities is essential to the integration of Roma, the improvement of their living conditions and their access to basic rights and services. Promoting this involvement is an important aspect of the Roma mediators’ training programme (ROMED): in each country, one training day is set aside for a joint session with mediators and representatives of local public institutions.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
In the reference period, the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has considerably intensified its activities regarding Roma issues.
On 3 December 2010, the Congress Bureau extended Mr Warmisham’s terms of reference as Thematic Rapporteur of the Congress. From the outset (December 2010), the Congress Secretariat participated in the preparation of the ROMED training programme for Roma mediators. In January 2011, Congress President Keith Whitmore addressed a letter of support for the ROMED programme to Congress members, and in particular municipalities of the countries selected for the first phase of the programme.
On 18 February 2011, the Congress Bureau held an exchange of views with the SRSG for Roma issues. On the same day, the Bureau supported a proposal to organise a Summit of Mayors in the autumn of 2011, to bring together representatives of municipalities and municipal networks active in the field of Roma integration or willing to join these activities. This meeting, to be organised in co-operation with the SRSG for Roma issues, will be a first step towards a pan-European co-operation platform for local and regional action in favour of Roma.
Also in February, the Congress, together with the SRSG Support Team, launched the 3rd edition of the Dosta!-Congress Prize for Municipalities, which is awarded for innovative municipal projects promoting Roma integration, combating discrimination and prejudices against Roma, and raising awareness of the Roma culture and rights. Seven municipalities have received the Prize during the first two editions in 2007 and 2008. The deadline for applications for the 3rd edition is 15 May 2011, with the award ceremony scheduled to take place during the Congress’ 21st session (Strasbourg, 18-20 October 2011).
On 22 March 2011, during its 20th session in Strasbourg, the Congress held a current affairs’ debate on the situation of Roma: a challenge for local and regional authorities. Speakers in the debate included the SRSG for Roma issues; Professor Rudolf Sarközi, President of the Advisory Council of the Roma National Minority and former District Councillor of Vienna (Austria); and Ms Pilar Varela Diaz, Mayor of Avilès (Spain), whose city has implemented a project to provide access to decent housing for Roma and to stimulate their social inclusion, including encouraging access to education for Roma minors, and access to the labour market for the Roma population. The Congress’ Current Affairs Committee, meeting in Strasbourg on 23 March 2011, decided to prepare a report on the situation of Roma, with specific recommendations addressed to both local and regional authorities and national governments on ways of promoting and improving Roma integration. The report is scheduled to be prepared for debate by the Congress during its 21st session in October 2011.
In 2012-2013, the Congress aims to pursue its action in favour of Roma in accordance with recommendations to be put forward in the future report on the situation of Roma: a challenge for local and regional authorities, as well as with the decisions of the Summit of Mayors and with its initiative to set up a pan-European co-operation framework for local and regional activities on Roma.
Culture, Youth and Children
Several relevant projects are being carried out by the Directorate General of Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport:
Co-operation has been initiated between the Roma Programme and the similarly transversal Council of Europe programme “Building a Europe for and with Children”. In the short term, this will result in the translation into the Romani language of several existing child-friendly materials developed under the Children programme. For the medium term, the current preparations for a Council of Europe Children Strategy 2012-2015 provide a timely opportunity for further mainstreaming issues relating to Roma children.
Parliamentary Assembly; Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)
In Resolution 1740 (2010) on “The situation of Roma in Europe and relevant activities of the Council of Europe”, the Parliamentary Assembly resolved to propose a co-operation agreement to the ERTF. In January 2011, an exchange of letters between the Presidents of PACE and of ERTF took place to formalise such co-operation.
The Parliamentary Assembly is addressing Roma issues in various other ways.
Reports on specific issues: on 12 November 2010, the Standing Committee adopted Resolution
1768 (2010) and Recommendation 1941 (2010) on Roma asylum seekers in Europe. As a follow-up to PACE Resolution 1760 (2010) on the Recent rise in national security discourse in Europe: the case of Roma, the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population is currently preparing a report on “The situation of Roma in Europe: movement and migration”.
Several other reports are currently being prepared where Roma issues, where relevant, may be included in a mainstreamed perspective, including: trafficking of migrants workers for forced labour: time for a closer look; the portrayal of migrants and refugees in election campaigns; the situation in Kosovo; access to nationality; drafting an additional protocol to the ECHR: basic standards for national minorities; putting an end to coercive sterilisations and castrations; the right of everyone to take part in cultural life; families’ freedom of choice in education in each member state; fighting the global backlash against women’s human rights.
Awareness raising activities: on 28-29 March 2011, a seminar on migration, social integration and human rights – migrants, asylum seekers and Roma was organised by the PACE in Strasbourg for staff of national parliaments. A specific session on Council of Europe Roma work allowed exchanges and discussions on policies and good practices in member states.
As the Governor of the Council of Europe European Development Bank (CEB) stated at the High-Level Meeting on Roma on 20 October 2010, “the CEB is actively involved in operations aimed at improving the living conditions of the Roma, in the form of loans, but also grants. The CEB benefits from fruitful co-operation with the Council of Europe, the World Bank, the European Commission and the specialised agencies of the United Nations”.
The Secretariat of the Partial Agreement on the CEB organised a meeting between the SRSG for Roma issues and the CEB on 10 January 2011. As was highlighted during an exchange of views that the Ministers’ Deputies held with the Governor on 16 March 2011, member states are encouraged to contact the CEB regarding possible financing of Roma-related projects.
2. Co-operation and coordination with third parties
Roma issues and relevant Council of Europe work are regularly raised by the Secretary General in his bilateral contacts with member states, other international organisations and NGOs.
The Council of Europe, represented by the SRSG on Roma issues, attended a number of national and international events to foster co-operation between the Council of Europe and national authorities and international governmental and non-governmental organisations. As an example, he attended and addressed the 4th and 5th meetings of the European Platform for Roma Inclusion, organised by the European Commission, on 13 December 2010, and on 8 April 2011, respectively. These meetings, organised around specific Roma-related themes (education at the 4th meeting, integration strategies at the 5th meeting), are attended by all inter-governmental organisations and institutions and several NGOs. At the 5th meeting in Budapest, the European Commission presented its Communication on European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. The Council of Europe SRSG for Roma issues was invited to address the Platform to give a first reaction to that document from the perspective of the Council of Europe.
Together with the Presidency of the European Union, the Council of Europe SRSG convened two meetings of the Informal Contact Group of international inter-governmental organisations and institutions and non-governmental organisations dealing with Roma issues (ICG) – on 1 December 2010 under the Belgian Presidency, and on 18 February 2011, under the Hungarian Presidency. These informal meetings provide an opportunity for organisations to exchange views and information, and particularly to ensure synergies and avoid contradictory messages. The SRSG represented the Council of Europe at both meetings and presented the conclusions of the High-Level Meeting and the follow-up thereto. Several Directorates of the European Commission and the Fundamental Rights Agency were represented at the meetings, as were other IGOs.
The European Parliament held a hearing on an EU strategy on Roma Inclusion on 30 November –
1 December 2010. A member of the Council of Europe SRSG Roma Support Team addressed the hearing on the conclusions of the High-level meeting. On 9 March 2011, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the EU strategy. The Resolution refers to Council of Europe work regarding Roma mediators and calls for the creation of a coordination mechanism between the EU, the Council of Europe and other organisations.
In January the Director of Education represented the Council of Europe at the EU’s European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Hearing on Education and Training: Tools for Roma Education. The rapporteur in charge of drafting an opinion by the EESC on Roma questions visited the Council of Europe to meet the Director of Education and the SRSG. As a result, the Committee became a member of International Task Force for the Education of Roma (ITFER) and is willing to co-operate on specific issues.
Council of Europe partner organisations have shown a keen interest in the new Council of Europe Roma programme. On 25 January 2011, 12 organisations attended a briefing and consulation meeting convened by the SRSG. Coordination was established regarding the ROMED training programme. As indicated in Chapter I, Capacity Building, the European Commission intends to propose a Partnership with the Council of Europe to join the ROMED Programme, which will then become a joint action of the Council of Europe and the European Commission. This partnership will include a significant financial contribution of the Commission as from the second half of 2011 until the end of 2013.
At the invitation of the European Commission (DG Enlargement), the Council of Europe will participate in a series of national conferences on Roma policies to be held in the Western Balkans (April-July 2011). These Conferences may identify further areas for EU-Council of Europe co-operation.
The International Task Force for the Education of Roma (ITFER), initiated by the Council of Europe and the OSCE/ODIHR in 2009, now has ten members (Council of Europe, OSCE/ODIHR, European Commission, UNESCO, UNICEF, Roma Education Fund, Open Society Institute, International Step by Step Associations, European Wergeland Centre and the European Economic and Social Committee). An ongoing exchange of information has been established through the secretariats of the member organisations in order to design joint activities, action plans, guidelines, brochures, reports and any other forms of co-operation in the field of education of Roma, Sinti and Travellers and to avoid overlapping. The next meeting of the ITFER will be held on 20-21 June 2011.
As a result of interinstitutional co-operation, the Council of Europe (DGIV) is developing in close co-operation with OSCE/ODIHR an internet site on the Roma genocide (). The website comprises a data base on the Roma genocide, with a virtual library of the best-known and most useful publications, and an interactive map on which countries can indicate their special/distinctive features at national level. The website also provides information on curricula, available teaching materials, school textbooks, places of remembrance, and innovative practices introduced by ministries, civil society, international organisations, museums and schools. The website is administered by OSCE/ODIHR and Council of Europe and will be officially launched in August 2011.
Other examples of inter-institutional co-operation under way are the production of a kit for early childhood care and education, comprising a pedagogical kit produced by the Council of Europe, a study on the situation of preschool attendance of Roma children carried out by OSCE/ODIHR and a publication with guidelines for preschool education jointly produced by the Council of Europe and UNESCO.
IV – ADVICE AND SUPPORT TO MEMBER STATES
During a bilateral meeting between the SRSG for Roma issues and the Greek Deputy Minister for Education on 3rd February in Athens (Greece), the question of desegregation was discussed, including the challenge of securing sufficient support from local authorities to integrating Roma into the mainstream education system. The Deputy Minister officially invited the Council of Europe to be member of the Advisory Committee responsible for the evaluation of the implementation of Greece’s national Roma education action plan. The first meeting of the Advisory Committee will take place on 4 May 2011.
On 21 March 2011, French Senator Pierre Hérisson visited the Council of Europe at the initiative of the SRSG for a series of meetings with relevant sectors of the Council of Europe. Mr Hérisson has been charged by the French Prime Minister to present a report on possible changes to the legislation regarding Travellers. During the visit, information was given to him about relevant standards and recommendations of the Council of Europe.
Initial contacts with other member states working on national action plans also indicate interest in seeking Council of Europe expertise.
V – CONCLUSIONS AND PERSPECTIVES
Although it is still too early to examine the impact of the activities organised on Roma issues within the Council of Europe following the new transversal approach, it can be ascertained that the new approach, including the appointment of a SRSG for Roma issues is leading to better communication and co-operation between sectors, thus increasing synergies by means of combining actions while avoiding duplication and reducing costs. The new approach is also bearing fruit in terms of mobilising different sectors of the Council of Europe to undertake important initiatives within their area of competence, either in the form of specific action or through increased mainstreaming of Roma issues in existing activities and programmes. Finally, the appointment of a SRSG has clearly facilitated the external representation and visibility of Council of Europe work on Roma. The impact of Council of Europe action on Roma will be further enhanced as a result of a communication strategy specifically developed for this work.
Apart from the examples included in this report, new avenues are being pursued or explored by the SRSG and relevant Council of Europe sectors, such as the organisation of a transversal expert workshop on effective measures for desegregation in education. The Council of Europe (Directorate of Youth and Sport in co-operation with the SRSG Roma Team) is planning a Roma Youth Conference, to be held in September 2011 in Strasbourg, in order to consult Roma young people and Roma youth organisations about the strategic priorities of the Council of Europe youth policy regarding Roma and to support the further development of Roma youth organisations. This will also give an important opportunity to young Roma to examine how their organisations can contribute to the implementation of the Strasbourg Declaration on Roma.
Co-operation and coordination with international partners will continue to be developed, notably with the European Union by means of the signature of a partnership agreement (ROMED) and through a stronger focus on the coordination function of the Informal Contact Group.
While good progress has been made so far in the implementation of the Strasbourg Declaration, there are still very important challenges ahead in ensuring full integration of Roma communities in our societies, based on equal participation and equal rights. To this end, strong efforts will be necessary to build up further the capacity of member states’ authorities to adopt and implement effective policies in this area, especially at regional and local level, and to combat anti-Gypsyism and discrimination. This will also require stronger co-operation, coordination and concerted action both within the Council of Europe and between the Council of Europe and other key players, in particular the EU which is set to adopt relevant Council conclusions shortly. We should establish a more strategic partnership so as to maximise synergies and impact.
The High-Level Meeting on Roma and the follow-up decisions have created a strong dynamic in the role and action of the Council of Europe regarding Roma. The initiatives that have been set in motion, such as the ROMED programme, the setting up of CAHROM and the planned activities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, will certainly open up promising avenues for further politically relevant work in the period 2011-2013, capable of generating positive change in the way Roma issues are addressed at European, national, regional and local level.
 CM(2010)133 final. The term “Roma” used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.
 See paragraph 49 of the Strasbourg Declaration.
 See paragraph 44 of the Strasbourg Declaration.
 Albania, Cyprus, Finland, France, Serbia and Spain.
 See information on ROMED in Section I.1. below.
 All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.
 An European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (COM(2011)173/3).
 The recent Communication of the European Commission “An European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020” (COM(2011)173/3) contains an annex with population figures on the basis of data assembled by the Council of Europe.
 See also Dick Marty's report on Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo; the victims of these practices are likely to include Roma from Kosovo. See Doc. 12462.