Monday, February 16, 2009


With the expansion of the EU in May 2004, an estimated 1.5 million Roma in Central
and Eastern Europe (CEE) became EU citizens. When Bulgaria and Romania join,
scheduled for 2007, that number will increase to some 4.4 million.

൧.What will this
mean in practice for the majority of CEE Roma, who continue to experience
discrimination in every aspect of their lives and on a daily basis?
൨.Roma constitute the
largest and most marginalized ethnic minority group in Europe; and its biggest civil
rights issue. Although most people agree that the enlargement process is likely to bring
positive changes for Roma in the region, the impact of EU membership can only be
assessed in the years ahead in terms of real, measurable progress in such key areas as
equal access to education and levels of employment comparable to those of the
Romania has the largest Roma population in Europe, estimated at some 2.5 million
൩.Although Romania is not yet an EU member State, the strong desire to join
the EU has fostered some positive results. As in other candidate countries with a
significant Roma minority, the Government has formulated a national plan aimed
specifically at improving the situation of Roma. Adopted in April 2001, the “Strategy
of the Government of Romania for the Improving the Roma Condition” (hereafter,
Strategy) established a detailed program for addressing the discrimination and poverty
faced by Roma communities. In addition, the Romanian Government adopted the first
anti-discrimination law in response to the EU’s Race Equality Directive in August
2000. It has been revised several times.


Dimitrina Petrova, The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), “The Roma: Between a Myth
and the Future”. Accessed on the web at

For example, unemployment in Roma communities is estimated at between 50 and 90 per
cent. See “EU support for Roma communities in Central and Eastern Europe”, European
Commission, Directorate General for Enlargement, published by the Enlargement Informa-
tion Unit. Accessed on the web at

In some cases, estimates are considerably higher than official figures, due at least partly to
the reluctance of some Roma to identify themselves as such. According to the 2002 census
in Romania, the official figure for the Roma population was 535,000. Dimitrina Petrova,
The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), “The Roma: Between a Myth and the Fu-
ture”. Accessed on the web at

No comments: