EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘European far-right defends Sarkozy’s Roma policy‘:

During our lives, sometimes reality imposes hasty actions based on snap decisions, like the current situation created at EU level by the decisions of some Western European governments to throw out sections of the Roma population and return them to their countries of origin – mainly Romania and Bulgaria.

These decisions have created a lot of concerns and political debates.

I believe that the situation presents a great opportunity for DG INFSO to launch immediately s proposal for a solution to resolve this issue at European level in the medium term, promoting an emergency programme that could be called, for example: ‘A new chance for the future generation of young Roma – replacing expulsion by e-Inclusion’.

The programme could be promoted as a top priority of the ‘Digital Agenda’ imposed by the social and political realities that have emerged in recent weeks and which are still in progress. My personal opinion is that an optimal solution can be reached in this case by setting up a joint management and implementation team, putting together professionals from DG INFSO and DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

As a citizen of the country with the largest Roma minority in Europe, I predicted last year the possibility of this phenomenon occurring. For the first time I referred to the need to start a dedicated ICT–based programme at European level for the integration of Roma citizens, mainly the young Roma generation, during a presentation made at the ‘ICT and Social Inclusion Workshop’ organised by DG INFSO on 21 January on the Economic and Social Committee’s premises, which I attended as a speaker.

Initial data on the Roma minority in different EU countries

Current census statistics state that 535,000 Roma live in Romania, 370,000 in Bulgaria, 205,000 in Hungary, 89,000 in Slovakia and some 200,000 in the Czech Republic. As a private remark, I believe that these figures are far away from the true values!

Programme:

A NEW CHANCE FOR THE FUTURE GENERATION OF ROMA CHILDREN – REPLACING DISCRIMINATION AND EXPULSION WITH e-INCLUSION

Action: COMPUTER LABS FOR ROMA CHILDREN ACROSS THE NEW MEMBER STATES & OTHER MEMBER STATES WITH A HIGH NUMBER OF ROMA IMMIGRANTS

Target: TO CHANGE THE CURRENT ‘NO CHANCE’ FUTURE OF THE YOUNG GENERATION OF ROMA-SEGREGATED CHILDREN (14–18 YEARS OLD) TO TECHNOLOGY-RELATED CAREERS BY PROFESSIONAL TRAINING IN THE AREA OF ICT THROUGHOUT THE SCHOOL

  • Timescale: 2011– 2015 (1st Phase) ; 2016 – 2020 (2nd Phase)
  • Countries: ROMANIA (110,000), BULGARIA (75,000), HUNGARY (50,000), CZECH REPUBLIC (35,000), SLOVAKIA (35,000), SPAIN (25,000), ITALY (15,000), FRANCE (5,000)

Note: the above values refers to the number of Roma children per country and per phase.

  • Participants (Per Phase): 350,000 ROMA CHILDREN (70,000 NEW ENTRIES EACH YEAR)
  • 7,000 SCHOOLS WITH COMPUTER LABS, 50 WORKSTATIONS EACH, IN 8 COUNTRIES; DURING THE 1st 5–YEAR PHASE: PUTTING INTO USE 1,400 NEW IT LABS EACH YEAR

‘THE COMMISSION – MEMBER STATES – ROMA COMMUNITY’ PARTNERSHIP: THE PARTNERS’ CONTRIBUTION AND THE EU CONTRIBUTION:

  • FINANCING THE ESTABLISHMENT / MODERNISATION OF SCHOOLS’ IT LABORATORIES, INCLUDING IT HARDWARE & SOFTWARE ACQUISITION AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF CAMPUSES FOR THE ACCOMMODATION OF ROMA SCHOLARS DURING THE ACADEMIC YEAR
  • PROVIDING ECDL-STANDARD SOFTWARE SPECIALISTS, INCLUDING NEW PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES AND TECHNOLOGIES, FOR LOCAL TEACHER TRAINING
  • SUPPORTING NEW COURSEWARE DEVELOPMENT, INCLUDING e-LESSONS ON HOW THE ROMA PEOPLE SHOULD PROCEED IN ORDER TO BE FULLY ACCEPTED BY CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE COUNTRY OF LOCATION, MAINTAINING THEIR TRADITIONS AND SIMULTANEOUSLY SELF-IMPOSING RESPECT FOR THE LAW, RULES AND TRADITIONS OF THE HOST COUNTRY.

BENEFICIARY MEMBER STATES CONTRIBUTION:

  • PROVIDING e-LESSONS IN LOCAL LANGUAGES
  • PROVIDING LOCAL TEACHERS SPECIFICALLY TRAINED BY EXPERTS

ROMA COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION:

  • SUPPORTING CAMPAIGN, WITH ROMA CHILDREN’s PARENTS EXPLAINING THE BENEFITS THIS PROGRAMME BRINGS TO THEIR CHILDREN AND TO THE ENTIRE ROMA MINORITY
  • PROVIDING VOLUNTEER SUPPORT FOR SCHOOLS
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