Promoting the inclusion of all relevant actors, notably women and the youth, in the implementation of the National Strategy for the Inclusion of the Roma until 2020, was the focus of an introductory conference of the National Platform for the Inclusion of the Roma, held in the Science, Education and Sports Ministry on Tuesday.

The need to include the youth and women was underscored by the head of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Branko Socanac, and MP representing the Roma ethnic minority Veljko Kajtazi.

Kajtazi fears that the Roma community will have little benefit from this project, realised with the help of the European Commission, saying there was not enough political will to resolve basic problems, such as housing, education and employment.

"The problem is insufficient coordination at the local level and the fact that the non-Roma population and those involved in the decision-making process at the local level are not interested," Socanac said underscoring that this should be a two-way process.

The main objective by 2020 is to ensure that every Roma child finishes elementary school. The Roma population must be able to make their own decisions, Socanac said, adding that the problem was the fact that young Roma were insufficiently educated. The objective is to create a critical mass among the young Roma population who would later take over all these tasks."

He underscored that the inclusion of the general public was very important in this process. "The Roma have been a marginalised group for a very long time and there had been certain stereotypes and prejudice against them. We need to educate the general public so that the Roma can become equal participants in the public life.

The participants in the conference were also greeted by Administration Minister Dubravka Jurlina Alibegovic who said the National Platform for the Inclusion of the Roma was supported by the European commission.

Latest news

Austria seeks to create jobs, but new EU immigrants need not apply

Austria plans to create 160,000 jobs in the next three years by subsidizing companies, but the project has raised concerns because it effectively excludes people who recently immigrated from other EU countries.

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

HGK: 16 Croatian companies to exhibit at IDEX defence exhibition

Sixteen Croatian companies will exhibit their products at the 13th IDEX 2017 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to be held on February 19-23.

Barcelona police open fire on stolen lorry laden with gas canisters

Security forces in Barcelona opened fire on a stolen lorry laden with gas canisters to bring a rampage through the city to an end, police in the Spanish city said on Tuesday.

Stuttgart to issue bans on high-polluting diesel vehicles from 2018

Most diesel vehicles will be banned from roads in the southern German city of Stuttgart during times of heavy pollution, a bid to clean up the city's air, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg decided Tuesday.

Slovenia welcomes construction of LNG terminal off Krk, but won't join for now

Slovenia is not planning for now to connect to the floating LNG terminal to be built off Omisalj on the northern Croatian Adriatic island of Krk, but welcomes any additional energy source, Slovenian media say.

German court rules against automatic refugee status for Syrians

Syrians fleeing the multi-sided civil war in their home country do not have an automatic right to refugee status under the Geneva Convention, a German court ruled Tuesday.

Business conference pushes for intensified privatisation in Croatia

As long as the state authorities pay high bills, this means that the government has not yet seriously delved into the privatisation of state-run companies, although their sale can alleviate the pressure on the state budget, a business conference in Zagreb heard on Tuesday.

HND condemns judge's verbal tirade against reporters

The Croatian Journalists' Association (HND) on Tuesday condemned a verbal tirade by Sibenik Municipal Court Judge Maja Supe against reporters in the courtroom, claiming that they were not educated to report on trials and that they had called her the "most corrupt judge in the country."

Mosque attended by Berlin attacker Amri closed, police confirm

The mosque in Berlin attended by Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri has been closed. The mosque is permanently closed, read a note in German and Turkish on the door of the prayer rooms which was seen on Tuesday.

German army to expand to almost 200,000 soldiers

Germany's Bundeswehr, plans to expand its number of professional soldier to 198,000 by 2024 because of increasing duties, the German Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Fired Audi engineer says he was 'sacrificed' for emissions scandal

A fired Audi engineer was "sacrificed" amid the ongoing VW group diesel emissions scandal, his lawyer claimed in court on Tuesday as he contested his client's dismissal.

French police arrest three over suspected terror plans, source says

French authorities have arrested three men in relation to suspected plans to carry out attacks in the country or travel to Syria, a source close to the investigation told dpa on Tuesday.

Bosnia Council of Ministers blocked due to motion to review Serbia's genocide acquittal

A meeting of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina that was to be held on Tuesday has been cancelled at the request of the Serb ministers, further deepening the political crisis in that country following announcements that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would be requested to review its judgement of Bosnia's suit against Serbia for genocide.