They have been characterised as one of Europe’s most under-privileged minorities but today a ten-year plan will be launched to improve the lives of Roma people. The Decade of Roma Inclusion, as the initiative is called, will officially start in Bulgaria today. It brings together eight central and eastern European countries in conjunction with the World Bank. Most of Europe’s seven to nine million Roma live in the nations involved in the programme.
Historically they have been among the poorest and most disadvantaged in those states. The broad objectives are to combat illiteracy and unemployment among Roma and to end their isolation from majority populations across the region. Each of the countries has undertaken to set national targets and action plans to address these issues. Over the coming ten years the economic status and social inclusion of Roma will be closely monitored.