Municipality of Graz, Austria

Nominated for implementation of projects aimed at sustainable increase of employment of Roma from European countries in Graz.

Graz is home to people from 150 countries belonging to 70 religious denominations. In order to foster an atmosphere of goodwill, harmony and peace, tolerance and respect for all concerned, the City of Graz has for many years been committed to maintaining a dialogue between different cultures and religions. In 2001, the City of Graz took a further decisive step to ensure that humanitarian values and principles would guide all its actions: on the 8th of February, the City Council voted unanimously to declare Graz the first European City of Human Rights and pledged to consider human rights issues in all its future decisions. In this “Human Rights Declaration of the City of Graz”, Graz also vows to seek and find deficits related to matters of human rights on all levels of society, in order to respond accordingly to them.

The city of Graz implements several projects focusing specifically on Roma minority. The cross-national eco-social Fair Future Bio Garlic project‘s aim is to contribute to the future well-being of European Roma families by providing new education and labour opportunities. Intensive collaboration between numerous public institutions, associations, businesses and individual people gives the project broad recognition and a firm footing. European Neighbours project creates sustainable jobs for thousands of socially disadvantaged people, especially Roma, in the field of horticulture by planting BIO-garlic and other products of the required crop rotation. Local sales of other products will provide an additional source of income for the participating people and refinance the project. Starting from the City of Graz and the EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURS association the eco-social future- and leading-project “BIO-KNOBLAUCH-ROMANES” is a successful example of good practice for ROMAfamilies in Europe.

Other projects of the city of Graz focusing on Roma employment and integration include ECVET AGENT (potential of entrepreneurship to offer sustainable employment opportunities for Roma), Eacea Roma6plus6 (intercultural dialogue), and Depart Project (integration of Roma and traveller citizens into the local communities).