MINELRES: Bulletin DIVERS on Ethnic Minorities - 3 (131)/2005

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Divers Bulletin no. 3 (131) / January 31, 2005

News
EDRC REPORTS SHOWS ROMANIA HAS MORE TO DO IN ORDER TO IMPROVE ETHNIC
MINORITIES RIGHTS
NEW BEGINNING AT THE DEPARTMENT OF INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS?
ONE OF TWO CITIZENS IS NO BOTHERED BY THE IDEA OF KINSHIP WITH ETHNIC
ROMA
EU SHOULD CO-ORDINATE ITS POLICIES ON ROMA, ARGUE MEPs
TWO SECRETARIES OF STATE OF HUNGARIAN ORIGIN
UDMR WANTS SMALLER AND MORE FUNCTIONAL DEVELOPMENT REGIONS
-------------------------------------------------------

News

EDRC REPORTS SHOWS ROMANIA HAS MORE TO DO IN ORDER TO IMPROVE ETHNIC
MINORITIES RIGHTS

BUCHAREST - One of the criteria for Romania's accession to the EU is to
grant protection of ethnic minorities in the country and despite to many
achievements in recent years, Romanian government has to improve its
efforts in order to monitor and improve the legislation, according to a
Ethnic Diversity Resource Center (EDRC) report.
The document, called "Minorities in transition" about political policies
for minorities in Romania, concluded there is an absolute need for
improving the representation system in the Parliament for all ethnic
groups and for creating institutions to promote cultural identity. It
also states that government authorities need to accelerate the return of
community properties previously confiscated by the communists and adopt
measures for language conservation. The center intends to create media
and public awareness and to participate at the elaboration of a bill
stipulating national minorities' representation rights in the
Parliament, regardless of their state of origin or the number of ethnic
representatives.
The center also tries to attract independent organizations that would be
able to protect and promote minorities' rights as well as to improve
interethnic relationships. Attila Marko, state representative within the
Department for Interethnic Relationship was present at the meeting and
supported the report, not only as a member of the Hungarian minority,
but as a supporter of destroying any tensions between ethnic groups in
Romania.
Author: DIVERS


NEW BEGINNING AT THE DEPARTMENT OF INTER-ETHNIC RELATIONS?

BUCHAREST – The new chief of the Department for Interethnic Relations
(DRI) Marko Attila publicly presented on Wednesday, January 26, some of
DRI’s tasks for 2005, as the new manager of the institution. Unlike the
previous years, DRI wants to enhance the enforcement of the existent
legislation on guaranteeing and protecting the rights of national
minorities. “According to the stipulations in the Country Reports of the
European Commission, Romania has already enacted most of the legislative
provisos in the field of minorities’ protection. Under these
circumstances, our main tasks is to monitor the laws enforcement”, said
Marko Attila. “We should have a perfect implementation of the laws. In
that respect, we reestablished a juridical nucleus, able to monitor
eventual infringements or the non-compliance of the law and which will
collaborate with the already existent DRI’s territorial bureaus. We will
gather the eventual notifications, which we will subsequently submit to
the authorized departments”. Marko mentioned in that respect, there
would be monitored situations such as the infringement of the right to
use the mother tongue in administration or justice or those limiting the
free access to education or culture.
Another Government priority for 2005 is to ratify the European Charter
of regional or minority languages, which was enacted a couple of years
ago by a government but has not been ratified yet by the Parliament.
Last but not least, DRI aims at promoting a law on the statute of ethnic
minorities as well as a better collaboration with the public
institutions and with the public local administration. “DRI expects the
Parliament proposes a law on national minorities and UDMR already has an
initiative in that respect. Subsequently, we will take a stand in that
respect when the law is publicly debated”, showed Marko Attila.
The budget for 2005 allotted DRI is considered relatively satisfactory
by Marko. "We have a fund of ROL25 bn this year. This is more than last
year – an increase by 66% - but less than we need". He wants to use this
budget for continuing various programs of the department, such as the
drawing up of high school yearbooks or to support the festival and the
viva-voce for the minorities.
Marko Attila was designated secretary of state with DRI through the
decision on January 17 of Premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu.
Author: DIVERS


ONE OF TWO CITIZENS IS NO BOTHERED BY THE IDEA OF KINSHIP WITH ETHNIC
ROMA

BUCHAREST – Some 32% of the Romanians agree that in Romania, the
minorities have too many rights, informs a Metro Media Transilvania poll
published on January 21. Their decreasing turnover might explain why the
ultranationalist message did not have an echo at the last elections in
Romania.
The above data are corroborated with other figures: 79% of the citizens
would not be bothered to have Ethnic Hungarians in their family, 85% to
have them as friends, 83% as work colleagues and 87% as neighbors. The
percentages regarding the ethnic Hungarians are almost identical with
those regarding the people in Republic of Moldova (not all the
respondents are ethnic Roma): 89% of the Romanians want as neighbors (6%
– no), 84% – work colleagues, 87% – friends and 84% – relatives through
alliance.
Things change when we talk about ethnic Roma: 46% of the respondents are
bothered to have as relatives, 34% – as friends, 23% – work colleagues
and 34% – as neighbors. 40% of the interviewed persons claim they
personally avoid any connection with Ethnic Roma persons; only 26% are
not bothered to shop in a store with ethnic Roma’s sellers, 14% to pay
visits to ethnic Roma families and a similar percent to resort to ethnic
Roma when they need help. The poll was made on a sample of 1,223
persons. 
Author: DIVERS


EU SHOULD CO-ORDINATE ITS POLICIES ON ROMA, ARGUE MEPs

BRUSSELS - The EU should unite its policies towards Roma citizens, a new
forum in the European Parliament proposed on 25 January, EUOBSERVER
reported.
"We need to move beyond declarations and to create a coordinated
framework for actions that improve the economic status and social
inclusion of the Roma population", said Socialist MEP Katalin Levai, who
opened the first meeting of the forum held in the European Parliament.
Other participants pointed out that despite huge sums pouring into EU
projects for the Roma, the biggest ethnic minority in Europe remains
segregated in many countries.
"Several programmes to help the Roma people in the member states ended
up, ay, in 'special schools' for the mentally disabled, attended mainly
by the Roma children – in many cases for behavioural or language
problems, not because of real mental disabilities", Viktoria Mohacsi, a
liberal Hungarian Roma MEP told the Euobserver.
She suggested that "instead of promoting their integration with children
of the majority population, these funds in fact reinforce the system as
it currently exists".
Statistics prove the case, according to Mrs Mohacsi: three-quarters of
Roma children in the Czech Republic, as well as 80 percent in some areas
of Germany attend "special schools", while a large number of Roma pupils
do not go to school at all.
Ms Mohacsi said that a better quality education for Roma would
contribute to the EU's Lisbon agenda, which aims to build a
"knowledge-based economy" and boost employment. In some Roma communities
in Europe, unemployment stands at 90 percent.
Several debaters at the Roma forum suggested that the EU needs a clearly
indicated authority, responsible for the Roma minorities.
"In fact, it is a 'minority' spreading across the European borders and
its size is higher than the population of several member states", said
Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda, the Vice-Chairman of the European
Socialists. "So, as the smallest one of them has its own commissioner,
we should also consider appointing a special commissioner for the Roma
people", he added.
Author: DIVERS


TWO SECRETARIES OF STATE OF HUNGARIAN ORIGIN

TIRGU MURES –UDMR’s Operative Council designated Csutak Istvan to fill
in the position of secretary of state with Ministry of Accession and
university teacher Koto Jozsef to fill in the same position within
Ministry of Education and Research, on Friday, January 21.
Csutak Istvan is an associate lecturer at Sapientia University and an
employee of Agency for Regional Development VII Center, while his
colleague within the education department, namely Koto Jozsef, is a
teacher with Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca and executive
vice-president with UDMR, on education issues.
UDMR chairman Marko Bela said the next step is to designate secretaries
of state with Ministry of Finances and Health, eventually with other
ministries. UDMR leader stated that between two and four persons were
heard for each position of secretary of state and in the end, the Union
will have ten secretaries of state.
Author: DIVERS


UDMR WANTS SMALLER AND MORE FUNCTIONAL DEVELOPMENT REGIONS

CLUJ-NAPOCA – This year, UDMR will propose the startup of the actions on
the reorganization of economic development, supporting the establishment
of such "smaller and more functional" regions than those existent in the
present.
UDMR chairman Marko Bela stated on Saturday, January 22, the eight
current development regions were "artificially established".
"For the functioning of joint economic structures, we must establish
smaller and more functional economic regions, included within the
criteria of the European Union", also said Marko Bela. According to him,
the joint governing program stipulates the change of the current
structure of the regions of economic development.
Marko Bela claims it not normal the same development region includes two
counties, namely Vrancea and Constanta, the first in a sub-Carpathian
zone and the other at the shore of the Black Sea. "The development
regions must have an economic importance, they are not
administrative-territorial units", also stressed out UDMR leader.
Author: DIVERS

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