From Lord Avebury: April 28, 2011
Dear Mr Pickles,
An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 (Brussels, 5.4.2011 COM (2011) 173 final
The European Commission recently published the above referenced Framework on the situation of Roma (including Gypsies and Travellers) and advocating that all member States set specific targets related to integration strategies from now to the end of 2020.
You may know that the Department for Education took an important decision in 2009 to establish a Gypsy, Roma and Travellers Stakeholders Group so that the communities might be informed about and consulted on educational policy issues. I was asked to be its chairperson and willingly accepted.
At our last meeting on the April 13, the Stakeholders Group made a firm commitment to fully assist the relevant government departments with all the policy developments and inclusion strategies that will be necessary for the Framework to be satisfactorily implemented in England and Wales.
In terms of education, you will be aware from the information being presented at your cross-departmental Ministerial Group on Gypsy and Traveller Inequalities, that much progress has been made over the last 30 or so years. However, my group members, together with myself as the President of ACERT, are also fully aware that there is still much to be done to improve the educational opportunities for these communities.
The Stakeholders Group therefore requests that you will formally include them in all of the policy and decision making processes stemming from the European Commission’s Framework policy. It would be very helpful to have your assurances on this request so that we can start to work with officials in relevant departments on the important tasks that now need to be addressed.
The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP,
Communities and Local Government,
London SW1E 5DU