A pathetic display for European societies: Roma suffer from social exclusion

Just recently ago, the French President François Hollande as well as his prime minister Manuel Valls expressed their deep indignation and condemnation facing the cruel kidnapping and abuse of a young Roma in a Parisian suburb. Roma in France and other European countries are especially vulnerable to all forms of discrimination (à Diversity Dimensions: ENAR-report); moreover French Roma are under pressure from the current left as well as the previous right-wing government, which started some years ago with a form of ‘deportation’ of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria. In 2014 a report on the state of implementation of the Racial Equality Directive and the Employment Equality Directive in the 28 EU Member States published by the European Commission critically assesses the current situation and identifies a lot of improvement in many areas as it relates to Roma issues.

In late 2013 the EU member states had adopted unanimously a Commission’s proposal on Roma integration, the first comprehensive EU-level instrument for Roma inclusion. The recommendations cover four national Roma integration strategies: access to education, employment, healthcare and housing. Nevertheless, progress seems to be rare while old patterns prevail: A Slovakian court recently mandated schools to end segregation in education and teach Roma and non-Roma children together. In the meantime the European Commission and other parties are fighting against a 2 metre wall in the Slovakian Kosice, separating the Roma district from the city! In Spains third’s biggest city, Valencia, the City council continues to pursue plan to knock down a 100 year-old neighbourhood which they have been neglecting for 30 years and which is now mainly populated by Roma. Often, Roma citizens are accused of being unwilling to integrate in local communities while integration projects in 50 French communities refute this as a false argument. Obviously, there is still a long list of things to do in the work against Roma segregation and social exclusion in Europe.