The Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Albania and the European Commission jointly organised in Tirana, on 12 December 2018, a Seminar on Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyptian communities. This was the fourth Roma seminar organised in Albania since 2011; the last one took place in April 2016.
Representatives of the national and local institutions, NGOs, diplomatic missions and international organisations participated in the Seminar and discussed the achievements so far, the challenges ahead and possible concrete solutions in the areas key for the integration of Roma and Egyptians: housing, education, employment, health care, civil registration and reintegration of returnees.
Mrs. Ogerta Manastirliu, Minister for Health and Social Protection, and Ms Marta Garcia Fidalgo, Advisor on coordination of Roma policy at the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, co-chaired the Seminar. Addresses were also delivered by the Head of the EU Delegation in Albania, Ambassador Luigi Soreca, the National Roma Contact Point and Secretary General of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Mrs Merita Xhafaj, and by the Director of the civil society organisation Roma Active Albania, Mr Adriatik Hasantari.
EU Ambassador Soreca said: “Roma social and economic inclusion is one of the priorities of the EU enlargement agenda for the Western Balkans and, in particular, for Albania. It will remain a fundamental priority throughout the entire accession process. The European Union, together with other international partners and, very importantly, with the active involvement of the Civil Society, will not only closely monitor but also support the implementation of Roma related policies."
“Albania has made remarkable progress in regard to Roma and Egyptian inclusion, by increasing access to health, education, and social protection programs. However, even with these encouraging figures, much remains to be done for the employment and social and economic integration of these communities. That is why I believe that the public dialogue platform that we are developing with the civil society, independent institutions and international partners is the key to maximize this engagement and to leave no one behind,” stated Minister Manastirliu.
Mrs Marta Garcia Fidalgo underlined that progress on Roma integration equals to progress on the enlargement process. Only a joint coordinated action of all players will give sustainable results, she said.
Since 2007, the EU has provided over €10 million to Albania to support the socio-economic inclusion and integration of the Roma.
In Albania there has been some initial progress in terms of housing policies, as well as increased number of Roma having access to education, employment and social services. The results now need to be made sustainable. On the other hand, much remains to be done to further improve the access of the Roma population to employment, healthcare and housing. The implementation of the Seminar conclusions will be closely monitored and will feature in the regular policy dialogue between the EU and Albania.
Conclusions and Recommendations: