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Conference in Athens: Strengthening Roma networks at the local and regional level

A conference on initiatives for strengthening Roma networks at local and regional levels was co-organised by the Congress and the Association of Greek municipalities (KEDE)in Athens, Greece, on 12 April 2018. Chaired by Michail ANGELOPOULOS (Greece, EPP/CCE), Vice-President of the Congress and Mayor of Samos, this event focused on the specific situation in Greece and on how the Congress could assist with the reconstruction and extension of the current Greek Roma Network.

The keynote speakers were Georgios PATOULIS, President of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE), Konstantinos  AGORASTOS, President of the Association of Regions of Greece (ENPE), and Katerina GIANTSIOU, Special Secretary on Roma Social Inclusion, Greek Ministry of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity.

John WARMISHAM (United Kingdom, SOC), Congress Thematic Spokesperson on Roma and Travellers, presented the work of the Congress and the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, as well as the Declaration against Anti-Gypsyism, an initiative launched by the Congress in 2017. A signing ceremony of this Declaration by local and regional representatives was held at the end of the conference.

The agenda of the conference also included presentations of specific initiatives such as the JUSTROM joint CoE/EC Project on Roma women’s access to justice - piloted in Athens, Thessaloniki and Xanthi, as well as case studies of good practice implemented by the City of Volos and the “RomNet” project in Greece.

Ioannis VASILIOU, Vice Governor of Western Attica, presented the National Roma Inclusion Strategy in Greece and how the commitment to a Roma Network at a local and regional level could contribute to its implementation.