For more than a thousand years, Roma people have been an integral part of European civilisation. Today, with an estimated population of 10-12 million in Europe, approximately six million of whom live in the EU, Roma people are the biggest ethnic minority in Europe.

The available evidence suggests that many Roma (which include Travellers, Gypsies, Manouches, Ashkali and Sinti) live in overwhelmingly poor conditions on the margins of society, and face extreme levels of social exclusion. FRA surveys undertaken in 2011 and 2016 also found that prejudice, intolerance and discrimination affect a large proportion of Roma living in the member states, most of whom are EU citizens.

In April 2011, the European Commission issued a Communication on an EU framework for national Roma integration strategies, which asked FRA to contribute to monitoring and assisting EU-wide efforts to implement the EU’s plan for Roma integration.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits any discrimination based on race, colour, ethnic or social origin. The chapters on freedoms and solidarity establish the right to education and access to preventive healthcare and medical treatment. The charter also guarantees respect for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.