Seminar on Welfare of Holocaust Survivors and Article 25 of the EU Chart on Fundamental Rights at the European Parliament

On 13th October 2015, the second seminar on welfare for Holocaust survivors and other victims of Nazi persecution was held at the European Parliament in Brussels. The seminar was organised by the European Shoah Legacy Institute, hosted by Mr. Bastiaan Belder MEP, Ms. Olga Sehnalová MEP, and the European Jewish Community Centre and was attended by over fifty representatives from the European Parliament, European Commission, Special Envoys for Holocaust Issues, diplomatic missions, ministries of social affairs, and civil society organisations.

The seminar aimed at sharing the best practices of national governments and civil society organisations involved in the provision of care services to victims of Nazism, and stressed upon the need to secure European Commission assistance in supporting these organisations in their important work.

The participants emphasized the following determinations:

· There is a need to include Holocaust issues in the mandate of the newly appointed coordinator for anti-Semitism within the European Commission;

· There is a need to pursue funding from both the European Commission and the European Parliament to assist civil society organisations to continue providing care services for victims of Nazism;

· Reporting mechanisms should be put in place to enable the European Parliament to be kept up-to-date on the best practices of both governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in the provision of care services; and

 · That social isolation and long-term in-home care are two major issues upon which significant focus should be placed to help improve the lives of Holocaust survivors and other victims of Nazism.

Following the seminar, participants had the opportunity to meet with a representative from the European Commission in order to express their views and ideas, and also to ask questions regarding the possibility of receiving funding from the European Social Fund or other sources. European Commission representative – Katharina von Schnurbein, the coordinator for the dialogue between European institutions and churches, religious associations and communities as well as philosophical and non-confessional organisations, has committed to keeping dialogue between the European Commission and civil society organisations open and productive.

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