Orhan Usein: Through policies and budgets governments begin to translate commitments to Roma into integration and equality

Roma Integration 2020: Skopje hosts regional workshop on budgeting for Roma integration policies, on 20-21 March 2017. (Photo: RI2020/Miross)

Roma Integration 2020: Skopje hosts regional workshop on budgeting for Roma integration policies, on 20-21 March 2017. (Photo: RI2020/Miross)

Skopje/Sarajevo – A two-day regional workshop on budgeting for Roma integration policies, organized by the Regional Cooperation Council’s (RCC) Roma Integration 2020 project (RI2020), took place in Skopje on 20-21 March 2017. The Workshop participants discussed public financing and budgeting allocations for Roma population in the Western Balkan economies.

“Policies and budgets are where the governments begin to translate their commitments to Roma into practical steps towards integration and equality. Too often, however, they fail to ensure that public services respond to Roma needs and priorities,” underlined Orhan Usein, RI2020 Action Team Leader, in his opening remarks.

“All the EU-aspiring economies have a joint responsibility to improve the lives of its Roma citizens. It is valuable that Roma integration continues to be a key priority in the enlargement process as reiterated in the most recent European Commission’s assessment. A good monitoring system is essential to point out to what works and what doesn’t so that scarce financial resources are not wasted.  RI 2020 is striving towards a regional standardized monitoring and reporting model.”

The workshop acquainted the participants with principles of synergies between strategic planning and budgeting for Roma integration policies. It facilitated awareness rising of developing Roma-sensitive budgets, provided tools on budgeting for Roma integration policies and exchanged good and bad practices on these issues both on the regional and the EU level. 

The new RI 2020 website was also presented at the meeting. It is available at http://www.rcc.int/romaintegration2020/. 

The event gathered more than 60 governmental officials from the Western Balkans working in the respective line ministries in charge of the five policy priorities (employment, education, housing, health, etc.) and budget, including the ministry of finance and the National Roma Contact Points, European Union Delegations, and civil society representatives.

Roma Integration 2020 project is implemented by the RCC’s RI2020 Action Team, with the financial support of the European Union (EU) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF). RI2020 is implemented in 6 Western Balkan economies (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo[*], Montenegro, Serbia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and Turkey.

Brochure on RCC’ Project ‘Roma Integration 2020’, featuring goals, results, and actions to be undertaken in the forthcoming period

[*] This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence