At the invitation of the European Commission, on October 12th SAR launched its new project on ethnic diversity tolerance in Romania and Europe – ACCEPT PLURALISM – as part of the“High Level Event – Contribution of EU funds to the integration of Roma”. In the light of the recent Roma expulsions from France to Romania and Bulgaria, Mr Laszlo Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, addressed its audience of over 350 guests, comprising of high rank Romanian and European officials, NGO representatives and media, on the EU commitment towards Roma integration.
In her speech, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Chair of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin and President of the Romanian Academic Society, emphasized the importance of supporting grassroots action through small grants programs targeted towards Roma integration. Moreover, she drew the attention on the plurality of problems currently faced by Roma communities – poverty, poor access to public services, discrimination – needs to be properly mapped in order for knowledgeable local policy responses to be elaborated. There is no such thing as “the Roma issue”, but in reality, there are a number of problems to which Roma communities are more exposed than others, each with its locally addressed solution. In this context, she stressed the added value that ACCEPT PLURALISM will bring to the knowledge base on Roma issues in Romania by looking at the understanding of ethnic tolerance in general in Romania, as well as in the particular cases of educational policy and political participation.
ACCEPT PLURALISM is coordinated by the European University Institute in Florence and it is sponsored by the European Commission through the 7th European Framework Project. It is a three year project that brings together 17 partner institutions, representatives of both the academia and the civil society, from 15 European countries (14 EU member states and Turkey). The consortium will conduct exploratory research in order to identify what are the main current challenges that ethnic diversity raises in the national and European policy tolerance discourse. To learn more about this project you can download the leaflet here or visit the ACCEPT PLURALISM website.