January 2006 – March 2007
In considering the issue of social exclusion of Roma (Gypsies), the program takes into consideration a number of different factors and causalities. These included segregated education and low educational attainment levels, low level skills and introduction of competitive labor markets, settlement in poverty pockets in disadvantaged regions, substandard housing and infrastructure, poor health, unequal access to information, and widespread prejudice and discrimination.
The program employs a bottom-up approach to facilitate and identify local participatory mechanisms for combating exclusion amongst Roma. A series of transnational exchanges among local partners from different member and candidate countries was used to promote learning on the practical implementation of policies and practices. These included a study trip to the UK to learn about different public and private experiences combating social exclusion, two cross-country exchanges amongst local authorities and Roma representatives from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and an international seminar in Germany.
The program has been funded under the Second Transnational Exchange Program to Combat Social Exclusion, of the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affiars and Equal Opportunities.