They are EU citizens, Europe’s twelve or more million Roma… in principle entitled to the same rights as all other EU citizens. Yet all the studies on Roma in the European Union agree that they live without full rights. A summit to tackle anti-Roma trends opens this Thursday in Cordoba, Spain.
A top European equality official recently said Roma were commonly considered as personally responsible for their condition. Yet concerted social and political attention to improve things raises the question who must act first: parties in a position of weakness or those in positions of strength?
The first EU study on discrimination against minorities in 2008 concluded no ethnic group suffered more than the Roma — concerning for example access to housing, education, healthcare, employment.
While the cultural contribution of the Romani and Sinti nomadic peoples has been recognised in Europe for centuries, now mostly settled, they remain on the margins of mainstream society.