High Level meeting at the Council of Europe Strasbourg, 20 October 2010

Representatives of the 47 Council of Europe countries, the EU and the Roma community gathering in Strasbourg today unanimously condemned widespread discrimination against Roma and their social and economic marginalisation.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, who called the meeting following concerns about Roma rights during the summer, said "the time for action has come. Today we have made a fresh start to actually helping the Roma population of Europe. Roma are fellow Europeans".

Member states agreed to a joint effort and pan-European response to meet the needs of the estimated 12 million Roma living in Europe.

The “Strasbourg Declaration” includes guiding principles and priorities:
a) Non-discrimination, citizenship, women's and childrens rights.
b) Social inclusion including education, housing and healthcare.
c) Empowerment and better access to justice.

It also foresees the creation of a new European training programme for more than a thousand Roma mediators, who will give legal and administrative advice to communities. Some 440 Roma mediators will be trained in 2011; the figure could rise to over 1000 in the following years, depending on the available resources. The Council of Europe plans to train some 100 lawyers in 2011. Roma mediators and lawyers will work to tackle access to housing, schools, health and jobs, and to link the Roma communities and civil society.

Efforts will build on the expertise of the Council of Europe to develop relevant co-operation with national, regional and local authorities and international organisations.



- Ministers and Secretaries of State from foreign, interior or European affairs ministries
- Permanent Representatives to the Council of Europe
- International organisations and NGOs representatives

Confirmed participants

- Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship
- Kastriot Sulka, Vice-Minister of Social Affairs and Equality of Chances, Albania
- Milenko Misic, Special envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Konstantin Dimitrov, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bulgaria
- Luka Maderić, Head of the Office for Human Rights, Croatia
- Nicholas Emiliou, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cyprus
- Vladimir Galuska, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic
- Lauri Bambus, Deputy State Secretary, Estonia
- Pierre Lellouche, Secretary of State for European Affairs, France
- Astrid Thors, Minister of Migration and European Affairs, Finland
- Iván Bába, Permanent State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hungary
- Vincenzo Scotti, Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Italy
- Nicolas Schmit, Minister of Labour, Employment and Immigration, Luxembourg
- Ion Negrei, Deputy Prime Minister, Moldova
- Ferhat Dinoša, Minister for Human and Minority Rights, Montenegro
- Lionel Veer, Human Rights Ambassador, Netherlands
- Raimo Valle, State Secretary, Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs, Norway
- Grazyna Bernatowicz, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland
- Rosario Farmhouse, High Commissioner for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue, Portugal
- Valentin Mocanu, Secretary of State, Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection, Romania
- Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Serbia
- Lucia Nicholsonova, State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Slovakia
- Baluh Stanko, Director of the Governmental Office for National Minorities, Slovenia
- Birgitta Ohlsson, Minister for European Affairs, Sweden
- Antonio Miloshoski, Minister for Foreign Affairs, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"
- Faruk Çelik, State Minister, Turkey
- Pavlo Klimkin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ukraine

Key documents

Committee of Ministers

- Compilation of recommendations adopted by the Committee of Ministers on Roma and Travellers

Parliamentary Assembly

- Urgent debate report: Recent rise in national security discourse in Europe: the case of Roma (October 2010)
- Report on the situation of Roma in Europe (June 2010)
- Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights working document on the situation of Roma (2008)

Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

- Resolution 44 (1997)1 “Towards a tolerant Europe: the contribution of Roma”
- Resolution 249 (1993)1 on gypsies in europe : the role and responsibility of local and regional authorities

European Court of Human Rights

- Factsheet on Roma Rights
- Roma rights - main ECHR judgments

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights

- Positions on the human rights of Roma
- Recent Migration of Roma in Europe, 2nd Edition
- Thematic page on Roma rights

European Social Charter

- European Social Charter and Roma rights

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

- Country reports
- The situation of Roma and Travellers in Europe: main human rights standards of the Council of Europe
- ECRI General Policy Recommendation N°3 on combating racism and intolerance against Roma/Gypsies

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM)

- Country reports

Department for the Execution of Judgments of the ECHR

- Factsheet

Roma and Travellers Division

- Dosta! Campaign
- Roma and Travellers Glossary
- Statistics
- Ensuring access to rights for Roma and Travellers

European Centre for Modern Languages

- Enhancing Romani language education in schools in Europe

Education of Roma Children

Council of Europe Develoment Bank

- Activities of the bank in favour of Roma

Conference of INGO's at the Council of Europe

- Declaration ''Living together as equals in dignity with Roma''

Roma in Europe - Add your voice

If you would like to comment or contribute to the discussion on the situation of the Roma in Europe, please send it to DC_romaconference@coe.int or connect with the Council of Europe on Facebook and Twitter.