On 19 November, seven mayors from six Western Balkan partners and Turkey were awarded the second Award to the most Roma-friendly mayors. The award acknowledges their successful work in support of fellow Roma citizens, empowering Roma to participate in local authority structures and promoting cross-sectoral, integrated approaches. Local Action Plans focus on Roma socio-economic integration and provide for access to education, employment, health, social entrepreneurship, infrastructure (roads, lighting, sewage and water supply) and housing.
At the ceremony, hosted by the European Parliament, the seven winners were welcomed by MEP Romeo Franz; Marta Garcia Fidalgo, the European Commission DG NEAR Coordinator of Roma policy; Adriatik Hasantari, the Director of Roma Active Albania; and Gabriela Hrabanova, the Director of the ERGO Network.
The seven winning mayors, selected from fourty-nine competing municipalities, are: Ms Majlinda Bufi, Municipality of Roskovec, Albania; Mr Aldin Šljivo, Municipality of Kakanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Mr Kurto Dudush, Municipality of Shuto Orizari, North Macedonia; Mr Imri Ahmeti, Municipality of Lipjan, Kosovo; Mr Petar Smolović who was represented by Ms Saida Čikić, Municipality of Bijelo Polje, Montenegro; Mr Vladan Glišić, City of Belgrade, Serbia; Mr Abdül Batur, Municipality of Konak, Turkey.
The campaign “The Most Roma-Friendly Mayor” is part of the IPA funded project ‘Joint Initiative to Empower Roma Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey’ that is led by Roma Active Albania and ERGO Network and aims to mobilize Roma communities and strengthen their existing capacities to engage in a dialogue with public authorities.