Later today, the Council of Europe and the European Union will strengthen efforts to improve the integration of Roma people with an agreement on the training Roma mediators.
Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland and EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou will sign two funding pacts, which will see the EU make €1 million available to the Council of Europe for 2011 and 2012, to enable the training of 1000 mediators.
The deal is a financial boost to the Roma Mediator Training Programme (Romed) launched earlier this year by the Council of Europe and now established in 15 countries and Kosovo. So far, 427 mediators have been trained.
Update : Audio
After the signing of the agreement, Commissioner Vassiliou said: “Education holds the key to breaking the vicious circle of disadvantage and social exclusion which keeps millions of Roma at the margins of European society. The 1,000 mediators will work with families and children in towns and villages across Europe.They will focus on health care, job agencies and schools. At present, far too many Roma children leave school early, before completing their studies, and this damages their personal development and job prospects.”
Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland added: “Roma still face prejudice, intolerance, abuse and social exclusion every day. The agreement signed today will help to improve the situation of Roma and their integration into European societies.”
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