Bojadjieva: Local level implementation of the regional standards agreed within the RI 2020 may be ensured through the ROMACTED project
- 29 May 2018
Official start of the the Joint Council of Europe and the European Union Programme, ROMACTED: Promoting Good Governance and Roma Empowerment at Local Level, was marked in Belgrade on 29 May 2018, by signing of the Protocol of Cooperation between the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure from Serbia, local authorities from 11 participating cities and municipalities and the Council of Europe.
Zorana Mihajlović, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Head of the Coordination Body for monitoring the implementation of the Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia (2016-2025) said that it is neccesary that all citizens have equal rights, „not only declarative and de jure, but also de facto“.
„Discrimination still exists, but no progress can be made if there is no mutual cooperation between all stakeholders including the central government and particularly its Coordination Body, and the local self-governments, so Roma could be empowered to fight for their own rights and interests“, said Mihajlović. She reminded that the institutional framework for inclusion of Roma has been set up in Serbia, through adequate legislation and allocation of funds to support it.
The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)’s Roma Integration 2020 (RI 2020) Policy Expert Aleksandra Bojadjieva stressed that the work of RI 2020 in supporting the governments at central level on better formulation, implementation, budgeting and monitoring of Roma integration policies can be sustainable by their proper implementation at local level, which is expected through the ROMACTED Programme. That is why the two projects, Roma Integration 2020 and ROMACTED are complementary, and must continue to cooperate closely, according to Bojadjieva.
Conference participants were also addressed by Tim Cartwright, the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Serbia, Matea Norčić Stamčar, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Tefik Ramadanović, president of the National Council of the Roma National Minority, Ivan Bošnjak, State Secretary of Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and Aurora Ailincai, Head of the Strategic Partnerships Unit in the Roma and Travellers Team, Council of Europe.
The mayors and municipal representatives from 11 cities and municipalities, Kragujevac, Niš, Odžaci, Kostolac, Prokuplje, Smederevo, City of Subotica, Vranje, Vrnjačka Banja, Zaječar and Zvezdara (Belgrade), signed on this occasion the Protocol of Cooperation to express the commitment towards Roma inclusion, which was followed by the discussions on participatory local strategic planning and the project methodology.
ROMACTED Programme aims at building up political will and sustained policy engagement of local authorities to enhance democratic local governance and empowerment of local Roma communities. It is implemented by the Council of Europe’s Roma and Travellers Team and the Office of the Directorate General of Programmes and it will target approximately 50 municipalities in seven beneficiaries in Western Balkans and Turkey during the period of 36 months.