The European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion was set up by the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities with the support of Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues. 130 cities and regions from 29 countries are now participating in the Alliance.
The main purpose of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the inclusion of Roma and Travellers is – through its participating cities and regions, in coordination with the respective national governments and while taking into account the specificities of each country – to favour projects and policies for the inclusion of Roma and Travellers at local and regional level and to fight anti-gypsyism.
In line with the “Strasbourg Declaration on Roma” adopted by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers in October 2010 and the Final Declaration of the Summit of Mayors on Roma “Building Trust at the Grassroots", the main objectives of the Alliance are the following:
- To set up a framework for co-operation, sharing of good practices, strengthening local and regional capacities for action, identifying specific problems and proposing solutions. The Alliance will therefore be a platform for political support, exchanges and mutual learning focusing on lobbying, advocating, promoting and expanding Roma and Traveller inclusion policies and projects;
- To contribute to the recognition of anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of racism by condemning hate speech against Roma and Travellers and by refraining of doing such statements;
- To improve dialogue and cooperation on the one hand between local and regional authorities and Roma and Traveller communities and NGOs, including their civic participation in local and regional government decision-making; and on the other hand between Roma and Traveller local residents and the rest of the population.
 In line with the European Commission Against Racism and Equality (ECRI), General Policy Recommendation no.13 on combating anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma.
The Alliance organises national and international seminars to facilitate the exchange of know-how and good practices between participating cities and regions.
The “Declaration against anti-Gypsyism” is one of the tools the Alliance uses in order to promote Roma inclusion; so far more than 122 municipalities, cities and regions from 34 Council of Europe member States have signed the Declaration.
One of the Alliance's key priorities is to promote Roma culture and raise awareness about the Roma genocide during the Second World War and the International Day of Remembrance on 2 August.
An important Council of Europe initiative to combat anti-Gypsyism is the Dosta ! campaign, which is being implemented nationally in member states. Since 2013, the Alliance has been responsible for the Congress Dosta ! Prize, which awards three municipalities every two years for the implementation of innovative projects in the field of Roma inclusion.
In recent years, there has been a strong development of European and national policy framework for the inclusion of Roma. At the same time, awareness has grown that policy measures at local and regional level are decisive for bringing about real improvement in the social inclusion of Roma, across the key areas of education, housing, employment and health and the need to develop these policy measures has increased considerably.
To meet those needs the Council of Europe has adopted in October 2010 the Strasbourg Declaration that identifies clear priorities to work on and envisages a role for the Council of Europe as a support player in assisting national as well as local and regional authorities in their efforts to improve Roma inclusion.
The concept of the Alliance was identified at the Summit of Mayors in September 2011. It was followed by the creation of a core group of cities and regions which volunteered to establish the Alliance and drew up a general framework for its objectives and working methods. After a thorough consultation process in 2012, which included a large-scale survey conducted with local and regional authorities in Council of Europe member states and follow-up consultation meetings, the main needs and interests of the cities and regions were identified.
The Alliance was officially launched during the 24th Congress Session on 20 March 2013 with messages of support from the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the President of the Congress, the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, the President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum and several participating cities and regions of the Alliance.
The work of the Alliance has been supported by Austrian secondments since 2012. Secondees have been chosen and prepared for their work by the civil society association Austrian Service Abroad, an organisation which specialises in the worldwide sending of volunteers. So far, the secondees have been (in chronological order): Clemens Kohl, Nikolai Atefie, Lando Kirchmair, Kay-Michael Dankl, Christoph Stöger, Thomas Schobesberger, Valentin Unger, Manuel Soriat and Tobias Mayr.