Activities of organised crime organisations like money laundering and the tapping of public funds have consequences for the economy, business and society. A crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic may be an opportunity for organised crime to spread their activity, gain power and even innovate to find new ways to pursue their objectives.
The EESC Study Group on the Inclusion of the Roma will be organising a public hearing on the issue of early school leaving within the Roma community. Education is considered the key for a better future. Yet the social exclusion they face, as well as certain regulatory measures, amongst others factors, affect negatively the education they receive.
This hearing will highlight the current situation with regard to early school leaving amongst the Roma. It will seek to identify factors which trigger this phenomenon and feature a discussion on initiatives and good practices which are being undertaken by civil society organisations as well as recommendations on how early school leaving can be prevented.
The PSG on the inclusion of the Roma will, at its 11 April hearing on "Addressing anti-gypsyism in ethnic profiling practices", be looking at ethnic profiling in relation to the Roma community. Roma face discriminatory practices by the police and in the court system, such as Roma-targeted police raids and proportionately more Roma people being charged than people who are not of Roma descent. Such practices contravene Article 21 (1) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which prohibits discrimination on any grounds, such as race and ethnic origin. The PSG would like to highlight cases of malpractice in this domain, discussing examples from Member States, and also bring to light examples of good practice and discuss the way forward to help alleviate these problems.
The EESC has set up a permanent study group on Roma inclusion which will be monitoring the implementation the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies from the point on view of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Anti-gypsyism and discrimination are important barriers to Roma enjoying full rights and this hearing plans to map possible avenues for redress for Roma, including equality bodies. The hearing will allow for the exchange of best practices on how Roma can address violations of their rights.
Evictions remain a serious problem across Europe and the input session will draw the attention to similarities between evictions in different kind of countries.
The session will help raise awareness of the issues, and allow for interchange between Roma organizations across Europe and is part of the continuous work of the EESC to bring attention to Roma issues. This will also be an opportunity for the EESC to deepen its work on evictions, following the showing of a film on Roma evictions in Italy ("River Memories") followed by a debate on this issue.
When it comes to Roma issues, the gender dimension has long been neglected. However, women have an essential role in Roma society and ensuring their participation is a key element in improving their situation. Romani women across Europe often face discrimination on multiple fronts: racism for being Roma, as well as gender discrimination.
It is not possible to speak about the inclusion of Roma if half of their community has little or no opportunity to express their needs and make their voice heard. Roma inclusion policy needs Roma women activists and advocates. The gender dimension can also play an important role in the success of National Roma Integration Strategies (NRISs).
Ahead of the international Roma Day on 8 April, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will hold a hearing on "Anti-gypsyism, possible responses", which will feed into the work of the EESC permanent study group on Roma inclusion monitoring the implementation the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies.
Anti-gypsyism is an important barrier to the effective implementation of the framework and national integration strategies, and the hearing wants to shed light on possible responses to this cross-cutting problem. The European refugee crisis acerbates problems with general racism, xenophobia which also affects Roma. A hearing on anti-gypsyism and other forms of racism and xenophobia will allow exchanging best practices on how to combat these phenomena.