Thursday, September 6, 2012

Adress at the Roma Culture Days

On the 1st-2nd September I participated in the Roma Culture Days, that took place in Sibiu (Romania). This festival was organized by the Christian Roma Center. During these days, a special fair was organized, where traditional Roma craftsmen showed and sold their products. During the fair different (Christian) Roma artists performed in an extensive cultural program. At the opening, I was given the opportunity to address the audience. At the end of the Festival, Florin Cioaba, President of the Christian Roma Center called on the multitude to fight against discrimination between Roma and Romanians and to stretch out to each other the hand of peace, thus respecting  European, democratic and Christian values. 

Following the Festival, I took part in the meeting with the Presidium of the International Romani Union. Please find below the official address I delivered at the Union on behalf of ECPM

 Dear friends,

It is with great pleasure and interest that I received the invitation to participate in the sixth edition of the Roma Culture Days as well as the Presidium of the International Romani Union, two events that remind us not only to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Roma but also to look boldly and responsibly to the future by devising concrete joint action plans and identifying opportunities for collaboration. In this sense I would like to congratulate the organizers for taking the initiative to invest their time and resources into strengthening their community and to thank them for allowing the organization that I represent to be part in this team effort.
As you might know, the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM) is a political organization whose aim is to promote Christian values in the European political field. It was founded in 2005 in order to unite Christian politicians throughout Europe in defending and promoting Christian Democratic values and their social dimension on all political levels in Europe. Our network comprises individual politicians, political parties and non-governmental organizations whose activity is based on the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. We are currently involved in 24 European countries, where we organize conferences and trainings for politicians on how to practically apply Christian values in the political arena. We also advocate for these values via our partners within European structures such as the European Union and the Council of Europe.
Concerning the situation of Roma communities in Europe in general, ECPM fully encourages to develop strategies that make it possible for the Roma to speak up in European societies and offers its assistance is promoting the human dignity of all human beings in our societies. Previous international research and national integration strategies that were submitted to the European Commission generally suggest that an integrated approach is mandatory when proposing measures for Roma inclusion. In this sense, four key areas of policy intervention need to be employed in order to maximize Roma empowerment: education, employment, health and housing. All four aspects of the situation need to be addressed systematically and equally in order to ensure a pro-active approach. In terms of positive policy actions I would like to highlight measures to enhance Roma children’s participation in mainstream quality early childhood education and care, which can have a long lasting positive impact on reducing the gap between Roma and non-Roma participation in all subsequent stages of education. 

To conclude with, our message is that Roma inclusion is more than ever a shared economic,social and moral imperative for Europe as a whole. Experience shows that only strong national political ownership, public awareness of the benefits of Roma inclusion, efficient local implementation, Roma participation at all levels and robust monitoring can bring results that we can build on. ECPM stands ready to cooperate with associations and organizations such as the International Romani Union, that are willing to turn their good intentions into concrete actions to improve the daily lives of millions of Roma.
Therefore, we consider a future collaboration between ECPM and the International Romani Union as both opportune and timely.  Once again, please receive our congratulations for your initiative and our best wishes for a fruitful event!

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