6 years ago

Separatism: Making Europe stronger?

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The 2014 edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine looks at separatist movements across Europe and its impact on the union.

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advertisement Assembly of European Regions "Europe needs to focus on creating growth hand in hand the region's economic fabric, and more specifically with the SMEs. A long and well established entrepreneurial fabric rich in SMEs represents a dynamic and reactive interlocutor with which newcomers need to engage. One of the scopes of the Assembly of European Regions is to help regions fully embrace these new opportunities for cooperation by structuring and facilitating the dialogue between companies and regional authorities in a constructive and open way" - Jean-Luc Vanraes, Chairman of the AER Working Group on ‘Investments, Business and SMEs’. Bringing together regional politicians, experts and SME representatives, AER together with finance.Brussels and the Region of Brussels-Capital, invite you to join an event focusing on boosting cooperation between the private and public sector. Participants will discuss and contribute via concrete recommendations to a common position on the renewal of the Small Business Act for 2015- 2020, a key document in Europe's growth strategy. Date and venue: 20/11/2014 at the European Parliament Deadline for registration: 19/10/2014 Registration: Stay tuned : #AERSMEs AER Business Community The AER Business Community aims at placing companies in connection with the regional authorities, while business can lend their expertise and share their vision in their field of knowledge. This Assembly acts as a hub for companies within the wide regional network. AER is proud to welcome the company "Innovator LLC" as a new co-founder of its Business Community. “Innovator LLC” is an experienced systems integrator in the broadcasting and telecommunication industry. All projects designed in “Innovator LLC” are on a tailor made basis, from single equipment for small school studio to complex broadcasting system installation for public television or governments. Innovator became an AER Business Partner in September 2014 Interested in joining companies such as Brussels Airlines, Accor, Volvo, Unicap and BNP Paribas Fortis in the AER Business Community? Check out the AER website! The Assembly of European Regions is the largest independent network of regions in wider Europe. Bringing together regions from 35 countries and 15 interregional organisations, AER is the political voice of its members and a forum for interregional cooperation. 14 REGIONS & CITIES 2014

GLASGOW: Ahead on Roma inclusion Glasgow is often held up as an example of how to integrate Roma communities, but social workers say this has nothing to do with an EU-funded project active there. By: Valentina Pop Compared to Edinburgh with its pretty castles and open golf courses, Glasgow is a whole different story. Spread out along the river Clyde, Scotland’s second largest city has a distinctly working-class feel to it. In the southern area of Govanhill, you can shop for fruit in Arab shops, listen to Roma accordions on the street and get your car washed in a Pakistanirun garage. Over 50 languages are spoken in the roughly 15,000 strong community. Some 4,000 of its residents are Roma, mostly from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, but increasingly also from Romania. It is a melting pot. But sometimes it “feels like a doomed place for vulnerable people, exposing them to exploitation,” says Katarina Zborovianova, a social worker who tells of women sorting potatoes for 12 hours at a time, leaving their hands numb and swollen. Zborovianova, a Slovak national who works for a local charity in Glasgow, the Crossroads Youth and Community Association, says that economic exploitation underpinned the first mass arrivals of Czech and Slovak Roma in Govanhill, back in 2005. “They paid overpriced rents and were taken to factories by bus for which they also had to pay. They were charged even for uniforms. So there was a vicious circle of dependence, because they were not earning enough and had all these debts accumulating,” Zborovianova says. ROMANET PROJECT TWINNING TEN EU CITIES In the meantime, however, the situation has improved. Over 40 organisations work with the local community in Govanhill to provide counselling, English courses, and training so that people can find jobs, send their kids to school and integrate. Glasgow is now held up as an example for how to integrate Roma communities. It is part of the RomaNet project, which twins 10 EU cities also working on integrating Europe’s largest minority. “There are lots of activities in Govanhill, different organisations have different ways of interacting, but local authorities are now connected to these grassroots activities through RomaNet,” says Ann Hyde, the lead expert for the project. She admits that it will “take a long time” to change mentalities and get all the recommendations implemented by local authorities. But she notes that the network helps because it shows municipalities in Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic how inclusive policies work in Spanish or Scottish cities. Other social workers, however, grumble that more money should be allowed to trickle down to where it is most needed rather than being spent on local officials travelling to meetings to exchange good practices. “There are a lot of good projects at local level, charities and organisations do co-operate. But this has nothing to do with RomaNet,” says Eva Kourova, a Roma youth project leader for the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council. Her colleague from Slovakia, Marcela Adamova, who founded Friends of Romano Lav (Roma Voice), a charity fighting discrimination, added that participation in RomaNet meetings was restricted to Glasgow council members, while local officials from other countries did bring along social workers. They both agreed, however, that life for Roma in Glasgow is better than in the villages back home, where local authorities have been known to build walls and put Roma children in schools for the mentally disabled. REGIONS & CITIES 2014 15

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