Overview

The FRA’s work for the Roma

Around 10-12 million Roma currently live in Europe, according to estimates of the Council of Europe. Most Roma in the European Union are EU citizens. The available evidence from research, from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) surveys for example, suggests that many Roma face social exclusion and are marginalised living in very poor socio-economic conditions. A FRA survey in 2008 also highlighted that prejudice, intolerance, discrimination affects many Roma.

Discrimination perpetuates the vicious circle of poverty and social exclusion: exclusion from education leads to exclusion from employment. This leads to increased poverty, which forces people to live in poor or segregated housing. This in turn, affects their educational and employment opportunities, as well as their health. And the circle starts again… To break this vicious circle an integrated approach is needed, that promotes access to housing, employment, education and healthcare simultaneously, while engaging with and empowering the Roma themselves.

On 5 April 2011 the European Commission issued a Communication on an EU framework for national Roma integration strategies. This Communication is a landmark document linking the need to tackle poverty and exclusion with the need to effectively protect and promote Fundamental Rights. The 19 May 2011 Council conclusions endorsing the Communication strengthened this approach by adding that “socio-economic aspects and territorial aspects where relevant, should serve as the main basis for designing Roma inclusion policies […] in accordance with a human rights perspective”.

The 5 April 2011 Communication asked the FRA to carry out specific tasks in accordance to its mandate. These tasks will contribute to monitoring and assisting EU-wide efforts to implement the EU’s Framework for Roma integration, which sets goals in the context of Europe 2020 in:

  1. Education: ensuring that all Roma children complete primary school;
  2. Employment: cutting the employment gap between Roma and other citizens;
  3. Health: reducing the health gap, for example by cutting child mortality among Roma; and,
  4. Housing: closing gaps in access to housing and public utilities such as water and electricity.

Who are the Roma?

When referring to the ‘Roma’ in official EU documents, the FRA generally follows the Council of Europe’s approach. They use the term to refer to “Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom). It covers the wide diversity of groups concerned, including people who identify themselves as “Gypsies”. The term “Gens du voyage”, used in France, is an administrative term which also applies to non-Roma groups with itinerant lifestyles. It thus covers the various branches of Roma (Roma, Sinti/Manush, Kale/Gypsies, whose ancestors came from northern India), but other communities as well. In this regard the term "Roma" is an umbrella term within a policy context dealing primarily with issues of social exclusion and discrimination, not with specific issues of cultural identity. As such, this does not mean that all Roma live in conditions of social and territorial exclusion and marginalisation.

Related projects

The FRA currently implements a multiannual Roma programme (2012-2020), which will:

  • Regularly monitor progress in efforts to improve Roma integration in employment, education, healthcare and housing;
  • Contextualise statistical findings through qualitative, stakeholder-driven research and engagement providing good practice examples on Roma integration issues;
  • Assist Member States in improving their monitoring of policy impact. The FRA cooperates with Member State governments, European institutions, the Council of Europe and other international organisations, such as UNDP, on improving the situation of Roma.

External links

Most recent FRA publications

Cover of the report The situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States - Survey results at a glance

The situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States - Survey results at a glance
Report (2012)
Language: EN

Cover of the Roma factsheet

The Fundamental Rights Position of Roma and Travellers in the EU
Factsheet (2010)
Languages: EN-BG-CS-DE-ES-FI- FR-HU-IT-RO-SK
Cover of the Data in Focus publicationEU-MIDIS Data in Focus Report 1: The Roma (2009)
Languages: EN-BG-CS-DE-EL-ES-FR-HU-PL-RO-SK
Cover of the FRA report The situation of Roma EU citizens moving to and settling in other EU Member States
Comparative report (2009)
Languages: EN-BG-DE-ES-FR-IT-RO-FI
Cover of the FRA report Housing conditions of Roma and Travellers in the EU
Comparative report (2009)
Languages: EN-BG-CS-DE-ES-FR-HU-RO-SK

Cover of the Incident report on violent attacks agaisnt Roma in Italy

Violent attacks against Roma in the Ponticelli district of Naples, Italy
Incident report (2008)
Languages: EN-DE-FR-IT-RO

News

ECDC consultation meeting on immunisation and Roma(12 September 2012)

FRA took part in a consultation meeting on "Understanding the underserved populations to achieve better immunisation" in Dublin, hosted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

FRA presents results of Roma survey to European Parliament(01 June 2012)

The first findings of the recent survey on the situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States (which was launched on 23 May) were presented to members of the European Parliament on 31 May.

Widespread Roma exclusion persists, find new surveys(23 May 2012)

Many Roma continue to face discrimination and social exclusion across the EU, according to a new report published jointly by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 23 May 2012.

Widespread Roma exclusion persists, find new surveys(23 May 2012)

Many Roma continue to face discrimination and social exclusion across the EU, according to a new report published jointly by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The situation of Roma is on average worse than the situation of non-Roma living in close proximity. The report is based on two surveys on the socio-economic situation of Roma and non-Roma living nearby in 11 EU Member States and in neighbouring European countries.

FRA presents its Roma programme(03 May 2012)

As part of the FRA's work in the overall EU framework for Roma integration, the agency presented its multi-annual Roma Programme and the general results that can be expected through its Roma Pilot Survey in Bratislava on 3-4 May to an EU Roma meeting.
(c) European Union - Reporters

Work together to end vicious cycle of Roma discrimination and social exclusion(06 April 2012)

Europe must continue to pull together to combat Roma discrimination, prejudice, poverty and social exclusion, says the FRA on the occasion of the International Roma Day on April 8.
(c) European Union - Reporters

FRA at Extraordinary European Platform on Roma Inclusion: The need to be accountable(23 March 2012)

Effective national monitoring structures and quantifiable targets were identified as vital to help promote Roma inclusion in Europe, at the Extraordinary European Platform for Roma Inclusion, in Brussels on 22 March 2012.

FRA Director discusses Roma rights at international panel debate with Nobel laureate(11 November 2011)

On 10 November, FRA Director Morten Kjaerum, gave a speech at the Europe 2011 debate in Berlin. During the debate, ‘What Do You Mean by Gypsy? - How Europe is Treating its Largest Minority', Mr Kjaerum talked about the human rights situation of Sinti and Roma in Europe, as drawn from the data and evidence collected by the FRA.

The FRA addressed major Roma mayoral summit(23 September 2011)

On 22 September over 300 participants from 34 countries gathered in Strasbourg to set up a coalition of cities and regions that aims to improve the situation of Europe's 10-12 million Roma and Travellers.

EUobserver interview with FRA Director Morten Kjaerum

EUobserver interview with FRA Director Morten Kjaerum(16 June 2011)

Morten Kjaerum talks about fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2010.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights statement on the occasion of the International Roma Day 2010 (07 April 2010)

 

Roma reported the highest overall levels of discrimination across all areas surveyed in the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights' EU-MIDIS survey. To improve the situation, Roma and Traveller communities must be involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of strategies targeting them, stresses the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in a statement on the occasion of the International Roma Day on April 8.

Joint International Conference in Vienna on 09-10 November

FRA report launched on Roma migration and freedom of movement(09 November 2009)

9 November 2009, FRA releases a new report on "The situation of Roma EU citizens moving to and settling in other EU Member States". This report provides evidence that Roma are strongly discriminated against and experience social exclusion when exercising their EU citizens' right of freedom of movement. The FRA report highlights shortcomings but also points out good practices across the EU. It gives concrete recommendations on how the situation could be improved.
The Agency will present its Report and some positive initiatives at a Joint International Conference of the FRA, Council of Europe and the OSCE on Roma migration and freedom of movement, which takes place in Vienna on 09-10 November.

Events

Meeting with OSCE Ambassadors on Roma

Date: 22 June 2012
Location: Vienna
Publications

The situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States - Survey results at a glance

23/05/2012

Roma - Europe's largest minority of 10-12 million people - continue to experience discrimination and social exclusion; and they are not sufficiently aware of their rights guaranteed by EU law, such as the Racial Equality Directive. This report presents the first results of the FRA Roma pilot survey and the UNDP/World Bank/European Commission regional Roma survey carried out in 2011.

Cover of the facthseet on Roma and Travellers

The Fundamental Rights Position of Roma and Travellers in the European Union (factsheet)

31/08/2010

This factsheet presents in a nutshell some of the key findings of the Fundamental Rights Agency's research on the situation of Roma and Travellers in the EU.

The situation of Roma EU citizens moving to and settling in other EU Member States

The situation of Roma EU citizens moving to and settling in other EU Member States

09/11/2009

EU citizens have the right to move and live anywhere in the European Union, provided that they meet certain conditions. This is an important right to achieve European integration and is included in the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 45). However, FRA research shows that many Roma EU citizens settling in another Member State in search of better conditions continue to experience racism, discrimination and exclusion.
The new report released by the Agency highlights the case of the Roma and their particular challenges in exercising these rights. Based on the evidence of its report, the FRA advises the EU and its Member States to adopt targeted policies promoting social cohesion to ensure that all citizens can exercise their right to freedom of movement effectively.

Copyright: Ostalinda Maya on behalf of the European Roma Rights Centre

Housing conditions of Roma and Travellers in the European Union - Comparative report

20/10/2009

The FRA report "Housing conditions of Roma and Travellers in the European Union" gives evidence that Roma and Travellers are strongly disadvantaged in private and social housing throughout the European Union. This includes discrimination in access to housing, poor housing conditions, segregation, and forced evictions. The report highlights shortcomings and good practices across the EU. The FRA is of the opinion that Member States should pay higher attention to the issue of residential segregation and poor housing conditions. Member States and local authorities should implement existing anti-discrimination legislation and policies for Roma inclusion, and intensify their efforts to better inform the Roma of their rights, and involve them in the planning and implementation of housing policies.

Cover of the EU-MIDIS Data in Focus Report 1: The Roma

EU-MIDIS Data in Focus Report 1: The Roma

22/04/2009

This report is the first EU-MIDIS ‘Data in Focus' report examining discrimination and victimisation experienced by the Roma. Of all the groups surveyed by the FRA, the Roma emerged as the group most vulnerable to discrimination and crime. The FRA has therefore analysed their situation in a ‘data in focus' report, the first in a series of reports on minority groups and issues covered by the survey.

Cover of the report on Incident report on violent attacks against Roma in Italy

Incident report on violent attacks against Roma in Italy

05/08/2008

This report provides information on the impact of the recent events in the Ponticelli district of Naples on Roma, immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers in May-June 2008. The report brings together the basic facts on these violent attacks as well as background information regarding the situation of Roma in Italy. It also describes efforts to address the situation by the Italian Authorities and the International Community, in particular the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and Civil society organisations.

Available languages: English, French, German, Italian and Romanian (PDF format).

Roma and Travellers in Public Education

Roma and Travellers in Public Education

01/05/2006
The report provides an overview on the situation of Roma and Travellers in education across the EU.
 Romani Women and Access to Public Health Care

Breaking the Barriers - Romani Women and Access to Public Health Care

01/01/2003
This Report is the central part of a project which the Agency jointly conducted with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the Council of Europe's Migration and Roma/Gypsy Division.