Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has challenged the European Roma and Travellers Forum to be less critical and adopt a more constructive approach to the development of Roma policies.
Speaking at the opening of the forum’s annual conference on 31 march, he asked the organisation to consider whether it had “done enough” and was an “effective and dynamic force for change” through its willingness to set “an example of Roma empowerment by being truly representative, transparent and democratic in our functioning?”
He added: “Such critical self-analysis is important, not for the sake of criticising, but in order to do better in the future. We all must do better.
“For the Forum, doing better means: being more proactive, forward-looking, making proposals to member states and international organisations for policies that will actually improve the situation, ensuring full representativeness of all different Roma groups and strands within your structures, becoming less dependent, in terms of human and financial resources, on Council of Europe support.”
The Secretary General said the political commitment to Roma issues shown by the Council of Europe’s 47 member states was an invitation to the forum to “rise to the occasion.”
He added: “The Forum should not only criticise and react where a policy fails, but also act constructively. Without action, nothing is going to change. Your organisation should be a driving force for change.”
Thorbjørn Jagland Speech
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