Strasbourg, 26 March 2014: On the occasion of the 26th Congress Session, the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) entered into a cooperation agreement with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
On the occasion of the signature of the Agreement Mr Kawczynski stated: "To begin with, we have requested to strengthen our working relationship with the Congress because we felt that you can help in improving the living conditions of the Roma and ensure their full participation in society. Your positive response has convinced us of your willingness and commitment to bring about the desired changes for Roma."
This partnership agreement provides the possibility to further develop a mutually beneficial cooperation by extending it to other fields of work of the Congress, in particular the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.
The ERTF came into existence in 2004 as the first-ever "representative" body of Roma throughout Europe. In 2005 the Forum, whose aim is to defend the human rights of Roma, signed a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe, a human rights organisation par excellence. The ERTF deepened its relations with the Council of Europe by signing a cooperation agreement with the Parliamentary Assembly in 2011, and today by signing a cooperation agreement with the Congress. The ERTF is confident that its increased involvement in the work of the Council of Europe enhances Roma participation in the international field, sharpens awareness of the deplorable situation of the Roma today and helps member states to implement their commitment to respect our European values.
The ERTF strongly believes that most of the problems facing Roma today have a strong local dimension and that the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities hold the key to effective and tangible improvements for Europe's citizens.