Civil Society contribution on establishing a structured policy dialogue with the European Commission
(Brussels, 9 September, 2014): We are European level organisations that wish to engage in a structured policy dialogue with the European Commission to contribute to the policy process on meaningful Roma integration by offering our expertise and experience. For that purpose we have prepared this position paper that aims to lead the discussion on the proposed agenda point entitled 'structured policy dialogue' at the consultation meeting with the European Commission on September 17th in Brussels.
We would like to engage in a structured policy dialogue following the principles of the 'European Code of Conduct on Partnership' and the '10 Common Basic Principles for Roma Inclusion', which sets out the conditions for genuine and effective involvement of civil society in policy processes as follows: "Make sure Roma Civil Society input is reflected in new measures and initiatives ; specifically apply the partnership principle in the consultation processes with Roma actors by ensuring timely disclosure of and easy access to adequate information; allow sufficient time for actors to analyse and comment on key preparatory or draft documents; ensure availability of channels for partners through which they may ask questions, provide their contributions and receive feedbacks; and ensure dissemination of the outcome of the consultation process."
We took up these principles and formulated concrete proposals to enhance a genuine policy dialogue that validates the expertise and experience of the different (pro) Roma Civil Society actors:
a) Establishment of a (pro) Roma Civil Society Working Group
We propose to establish a working group responsible for setting the theme, agenda, objectives and expected outcomes of upcoming EU Platforms and ensuring continuity in the work between the meetings, in close partnership with the European Commission. (Pro) Roma Civil Society actors wish to engage in the reform of the platform that will focus on genuine dialogue between decision-makers and civil society and that leads to concrete policy outcomes. This approach could serve as a model to be followed by national and local governments on how to involve and empower the Roma meaningfully in the implementation of public policies concerning Roma. This would include an inter-service meeting involving the relevant various DGs of the European Commission to ensure a cross-sectorial and integrated approach to Roma policies.
b) Exchange with National Roma Contact Points (NRCP) and Civil Society actors
We propose to have regular exchanges to ensure a meaningful dialogue with the NRPCs by inviting (pro) Roma Civil Society organisations to participate in the Commission's meetings with the NRCP's and to have access to minutes or meeting report/conclusions according to the Chatham House Rule .
c) Dialogue on the implementation of the existing policy measures and regulations
We propose to cooperate more closely with the European Commission to assess how Civil Society can benefit from and contribute to the existing policy, such as the Country Specific Recommendations as part of the EU2020 Strategy and the Council Conclusions adopted end of 2013, and by taking into account existing monitoring instruments, such as the UN Universal Periodic Review and the Decade Monitoring reports.
d) Dialogue on more effective and efficient spending of EU funding for Roma
Having members in various member states, we offer our expertise and experience to help the European Commission to improve the impact of EU funding for Roma and engage in the dialogue on the role of Roma actors in the policy design, implementation and monitoring of European Commission funded interventions. We can to help taking into account the realities from the ground in order to create systemic mechanisms to keep governments accountable on their performance on meaningful Roma inclusion and to fight against Anti-Gypsyism. Accessible Commission reporting on effective (or not) use of EU funds would facilitate such dialogue.
These proposals are supported by:
European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN)
European Network Against Racism (ENAR)
European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network (ERGO Network)
European Foundation Centre (EFC)
European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF)
Fundación Secretariado Gitano
Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI)
 The Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA) could serve as a good example: http://ec.europa.eu/health/alcohol/events/index_en.htm#anchor2_more. As a good practice, they produce a flash report right after the meeting (see. the example of the 4-5 March 2014 meeting here http://ec.europa.eu/health/alcohol/docs/ev_20140304_mi_en.pdf) and later on a more detailed summary report (http://ec.europa.eu/health/alcohol/docs/ev_20140304_mi2_en.pdf).