romaHappy New Year, Debaters of Europe! We’ve looked at hundreds of topics over the last year, but with the May 2014 European Parliament elections now almost upon us, there are still plenty of issues that we want to discuss. For example, you may not realise it, but we have almost reached the end of the “Decade of Roma Inclusion”, which began in 2005 and will run until 2015. In the run-up to the European elections, how would you rate the progress made?

Twelve European governments (each with large Roma minorities) have committed to focusing more on eliminating discrimination against Roma and closing the gap in living conditions between Roma and the rest of society. We would like to hear your thoughts on this issue and what you think the role of the European Union should be (or should not be) in fighting for greater Roma inclusion in Member States.

There are around 6 million Roma in the European Union, forming the EU’s largest ethnic minority group. We use the term “Roma” for different groups of people, including Ashkali, Sinti, Gypsies, Travelllers, Manouches and others. Now mainly living in Romania, Bulgaria, Spain and the Balkans, they share a history of severe persecution from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. As a result of ongoing social exclusion, discrimination and intolerance, they continue to live in very poor socio-economic conditions (so much so that the average age among Roma is 25, compared to an average age of 40 across the whole of the EU).

The EU and its Member States have repeatedly committed themselves publicly to improving matters. Last month, the 28 EU Member States agreed to create the first ever legal instrument to facilitate Roma inclusion within the EU. Apart from facilitating access to healthcare, housing, education and employment, European governments have also committed to raise awareness among local Roma communities of the importance of integration. The European Parliament is expected to approve these recommendations in the beginning of this year.

However, despite all these efforts, voices representing the Roma community are saying that, so far, measures have not been effective and that there is “little cause for optimism”. According to the European Roma Rights Centre, Roma communities are increasingly facing discrimination, hate speech and anti-Roma violence, and many Member States have not taken sufficient action in response. Indeed, in 2010 (marking the midpoint of the “Decade of Roma Inclusion”) the French government introduced a policy aimed at the deportation of Roma people which resulted in the transportation of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma in exchange for small cash payments. Despite being fiercly criticised by human rights groups, last summer Amnesty International reported that more than 10,000 Roma were evicted by force from their houses, with the government failing to provide any alternative housing for most of them.

What are the main challenges for Roma inclusion and what can the EU do about it? Do you think the EU should be able to punish Member States for taking insufficient action towards greater Roma inclusion? Or should the EU not interfere too much in a national issue? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Sima Dimitric

Vote 2014

Voting is closed in our Debating Europe Vote 2014! The results are now in, so come and see what our readers thought!




211 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Paul X

    “How can Europe end poverty and exclusion in the Roma community?”

    The same way Europe does anything, it takes my money and gives it to others

  2. avatar
    tooomas

    It cannot… the Roma community is not excluded by others. It is THEM who do not want to take part in the society’s life, separating THEMSELVES from the rest.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      What is your evidence, Tooomas, on which you base your opinion that the Roma community don’t want to take part and be part of our society? What makes you think THEY separate themselves? How would you cope with all the hatred and ignorant prejudice that comes their way?
      Ruth Barnett

    • avatar
      tooomas

      Ruth, I have lived in only two countries so far, Poland and the UK. And when search for information on that topic (good newspapers, good tv channels) the picture is quite clear.
      Most of them DO separate from the rest of the community by choice, especially the odler generation, for example by not allowing “mixed” marriages to their children. A huge number of the Roma community decline their citizenships so as to avoid any obligations towards a country they reside at or come from. Situations of that kind are countless, no matter which part of Europe we are talking about…

    • avatar
      Ericbana

      I agree ,unfortunately when Roma arrive in a country they build their little “settlements”in Parks,Peoples Gardens,in the street,anywhere they choose,they leave a mess wherever they go,they intimidate people in the street with aggressive begging and then you wonder why no-one likes or wants them around.This is (once again)Not about race ,creed or religeons ,it is simply that people do not like being around dirty ,messy beggars who show no respect for the culture ,property of those whose areas they move into.
      You simply cannot set up camp on people’s doorsteps and expect tolerance.

    • avatar
      Lovro

      Yes, sure! It’s always sombody else’s fault! It’s too easy to say that they don’t want my friend.

    • avatar
      ANca

      I strongly agree with this

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Toomas, you have not given any evidence – only your own views

    • avatar
      Bread and banana

      You are partially right. I’d say majority of them really don’t want to be included at all. They see themselves as rebels and they feel justified in not following laws, abusing the social welfare system and engaging in black market (prostitution, robberies, etc.). Many Romani families have huge number of children and they profit on it – later on not taking proper care of the child, just pocketing the money they get from the social welfare services. It has become a part of their culture. Again, not all of them are like that, the ones that want to get out of that endless circle have it super hard. It’s really a sad situation because they themselves perpetuate all of the negative stereotypes. But to call them all victims – it’s just not true.

  3. avatar
    Marcel

    You cannot include those that do not want to be included. Just like you cannot integrate those into our culture that just flat out reject (large parts) of our culture.

    • avatar
      Eli

      The same thing has been said about the minority communities, including the jewish community, from the medieval times until today. It is not the excuse for rising hate and violence against roma (and do not make the mistake – the incidents of persecution against roma IS rising since the crisis began).

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Dear Marcel – you can’t get yourself included when so many people are determined not to let you! How much do you honestly know about Roma culture? There is a lot of our British mainstream culture that I flatly reject – e.g. the drugs and binge drinking, drunk driving, addicted and drunken people as a burden on the NHS and benefits systems etc etc.
      Ruth Barnett

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Has it not occurred to you that perhaps it is YOU that rejects them and perhaps their very existence? Acceptance and integration only happen when both sides believe in it. Roma have been in UK for 500 years or more. Can you trace your ancestors back that far?

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Just think for a moment, Marcel, many people in local communities ‘just flat out reject’ Roma and Travellers because they don’t want to accept their ‘different’ culture. Integation takes the will to integrate on both sides. Too many people just want Roma and Travellers to assimilate and are not willing to cooperate with integration.

    • avatar
      Borislav Sotirov

      Ruth Barnett, the idea of so called integration is void. It does not mean anything except to leave the problems unsolved till they rise to unbearable scale. But on the topic of Roma culture we don’t have this issue we have the contradiction between culture and lack of culture. It is not a culture to be illiterate, irresponsible, self-destructive. It is a primitivism only, not a culture. They live day for a day, marry and get pregnant in child age, leave school, stay illiterate, have lots of addictions and lots of crime practices. These are the issues we are against with, add witch you insist to integrate. Is this a culture? I think no, bad choices are not a culture, not an ethnicity, not a race. If these are outlining features of the Roma – they better assimilate, right? Keeping on the problems helps nothing, such integration is a nonsense.

    • avatar
      Livi Bez

      That is correct! Otherwise, EU doesn’t make sense any more!

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      We are all members of the one human race on Planet Earth – sometimes national and pro-European feelings get in the way of realising this fundamental fact.

  4. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Simple! Learn from your mistakes in the “Decade of Roma inclusion” and any other social local government programs. End money transfer for the excluded groups and finally take the children out of their families if their families cannot give them a social inclusion! These children are not wrong but what they learn from their parents is wrong!

    • avatar
      João Frazão

      ***?! by the way, while you’re kidnapping children, why not lackeate the Roma themselves? or, plus, expell them from Europe? LOL, put your ideas right, please. It’s like, you live in XIX century, not XXI.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Dear Boris,

      Taking children from their rightful parents and raising them outside their rightful culture is an element of genocide – the destruction in part or whole of a people and their culture – as the Australians have found to their shame about ‘the stolen Aboriginal children’. The Nazis took their own citizens children, plus Aryan looking children from other countries – including quite a few Jews, and raised them in top Nazi families and sent them to special Napoli schools to brainwash them.

      Please think again, Boris!
      Ruth Barnett

    • avatar
      Dorthe

      You should listen to Ruth Barnett – then listen to your own statements again and you will see how illogical you actually sound – taking children from their parents!!!!

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      That’s what the Canadians did with their aboriginals in solving the problem of integration and assimilation. Nothing positive came out of it, and you can still see the negative effects of it today in aboriginal communities. These communities suffer from a high prevalence of alcoholism, domestic abuse, unemployment, drug use.

    • avatar
      world rroma

      Dear People i read the comments , learn about the Rroma first before you say something … As i sow here so much heated speach ..online has lot information just you need to search

  5. avatar
    Cristian Dinescu

    The Communist regimes tried hardly to integrate them but failed, they WANT to be excluded from any society so that they could keep with their traditions as nomads. Perhaps all the big cities in Europe should build campuses in nomad style for them. The young gypsies have many talents, learn very quickly any skills and can do incredible hard woks.

    • avatar
      Ionut Visan

      Why do you say that the communists regimes failed in integrating the roma? Do you know the situation from Romania? Please be specific. During the communist regime , they had a job and a house offered by the government. After 89′ (Revolution in Romania) , lots of roma remained withouth a job or a house.What’s to be done in that situation?

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      What is your evidence, Christian, that Roma WANT to be excluded from society? Please tell me as all the Roma and Travellers I have met or talked with WANT to be accepted as part of society! Do you live on a different planet????

    • avatar
      zix

      Communist made many wrong decisions like putting them in new houses directly from camps, ofcourse the houses were looted and destroyed fast, not to mention they have them only the dirty and hard jobs. After the collapse of Soviet Block east european Roma are the result.. Of “great” communist social engineering.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Cristian – the communists never tried to integrate any group but to force all groups to drop their identity and all become the same. That is not integration but forced assimilation.

    • avatar
      Borislav Sotirov

      Ruth Barnett, what is your idea about integration, what does it mean to you? And what is your idea about culture? You need to know that Roma that I personally speak with don’t feel communist integration efforts as assimilation as you claim. Just the opposite – they grieve for those times: for the social security, granted jobs and mainly they miss the discipline and justice. And this is the fact, very provable, nevertheless you won’t like it – almost all of them grieve for the old communist regime, when they think they really had an integration, when they had many things granted and even obligatory.
      And I think people like you heavily mistake culture with the lack of such.

    • avatar
      ana

      Ruth, there is a book on Google books called Come Closer, you can read it there for free, it is a major research paper done on 2000 Roma communities in Romania, you will understand a lot more after reading it. The Roma problem is not not sided for sure.

  6. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Exactly my point! Elders gypsy taught youngsters a traditions that are not common in nowadays social life.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Dear Boris – I take your reply and other similar replies very seriously I am learning all the time from what individual Roma and Traveller people have to say. I do not doubt that some people, not only Roma people, long for the organisation and discipline of communist times, especially if they were born into it and are now suffering the horrendous persecution and injustice that is current in just those Eastern European countries. But that was imposed and enforced discipline. The freedom to take part in creating discipline through democratic structures is, in my opinion, somewhat better. To this end the Roma need to have a voice in all the decision-making processes that affect them and we need to help you, in ways you want us to, to claim this voice. I can’t accept that communism is the answer.

    • avatar
      Borislav Sotirov

      Dear Ruth, yo must admit your views and believes are quite idealistic and not realistic. How can you have democratic discipline, if the undisciplined person will just refuse your proposals? Why do you have police and justice court if you better convince the criminals by democratic structures? Yes your idea is better but not working. Roma communities principally are very undemocratic, patriarchal, mafia-like, there is constant oppression and violence. Regularly there are mob fights between different families and clans with weapon use, injuries and dead. There is still wide spread amongst Roma the tradition of bride abductions, child marriage and child pregnancy. How can you expect to convince such mentality by democratic structures? These are very wrong expectations upon which you base your critics.

      Many people like you advocate above spoken practices as traditional and blame the efforts for their cancellation as forced assimilation. So tell me, why should we respect such traditions if they cause disastrous problems and results that are almost impossible to heal and deal with?

      And yes, it is not the discrimination and racist oppression the reasons for bad Roma social standing. But their choices and bad tradition followings that result in very young marriages and parenthood, in early school leaving, illiteracy, inability for any work but least payed. What can you do if you marry on 12, leave school because of pregnancy on 13, have 3-4 children before 18, and have your grandchildren on 30? It is only your own life suicide and nobody else is guilty.

  7. avatar
    Ana Georgieva

    Take them to your western country and take care of them yourself, hipicritical bastards!

    • avatar
      Ionut Visan

      Yep. That is a beautiful solution Ana. I am sure that if the policy-makers will review your suggestion, they will approve it for sure. And along with it, they will become exactly as you discribed in your comment: “Bastards”. Why should you study a bit theyr problems? Why should you interract with some of them? ..It’s much easyer to sit behind your computer and post comments. Yeap. :)

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Dear Ana, you are only half way there and that is a dangeropus place to be. The hypocrites are the greedy rich who exploit ‘ the poor’ and like the poor to have vulnerable minorities, like the Roma, to blame instead of turning on them (the rich).
      Ruth Barnett

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Ana – would you like to be driven out of your home and sent away? Maybe that idea of yours is hypocritical?

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Yes, Boris, I do admit that I am idealistic but I am not naive. I can fully understand your views; Your democratic right to your own views is sacrosanct, but I do not agree with much of what you right as you give no evidence and I suspect much of it is hearsay. But I could be wrong here; you may have had a very hard time with some Roma which, understandably may make you think that all Roma are like the ones you have had trouble with. But they are not. I am most definitely a realist: I accept that there are some pretty nasty people in every ethnic group, but that is no reason to think the whole group is nasty. I have met some really friendly, thoughtful, Roma and Travellers and also some aggressive and bitter ones. At least all Roma should be given a chance, accepted as part of the community and their human rights respected as much as we want our own respected. If they break laws and rules, they must be held to account like anyone else. But sadly they are so often maligned and accused without evidence.

      Finally, it is not their traditions that cause the disastrous problems that worry you so much, but the way they have been unjustly insulted and persecuted for generations. Instead of being listened to and accepted they have been marginalised and driven out to the worst areas where no-one else wants to live. They are really amazing people to tenaciously keep their traditions going against such odds. Why is it so difficult to accept a different way of life to your own – as long as it stays within the law – but that means the law must treat them equally with justice and with laws that they have a voice in.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Sadly, you are right, Ana, insofar as Hypocrisy goes. To begin to understand the hypocrisy in politics I suggest you read “Crimes Against Humanity: the struggle for global justice” by Geoffrey Robertson QC. The only sensible way forward is to stop cursing and blaming others and start reflecting on what we ourselves might have contributed to the problem and what we might now contribute to the solution.

  8. avatar
    George Danieldsg

    All issues in E.U. are European and the burdens and actions must shared accordingly.Of COURSE ROMA RIGHTS ARE EQUAL TO EVERY EUROPEAN CITIZEN.

  9. avatar
    Νίκος Γιαννίρης

    We can’t do anything.!They have their own way of life.They camp where ever they want,at least in my country,they don’t go to school,and if you dare to say something about them they call you racist.!!They don’t care about the environment and they are not so poor as you think.On the other hand few of them have become “good citizens” meaning having a good job,paying taxes etc,etc.

    • avatar
      Ionut Visan

      That’s really positive of you. “We can’t do nothing!”. Let me open you mind a bit. If they go to School, what do you think they will face other than discrimination and racist remarks(not to mention in some cases segregation)? Do you think they can afford going to school? Paying scholar taxes? It is true, some of them are rich, but why is that an issue? If you are rich, does that mean that you should be critized? ..Before you answear me, please inform youself a bit about theyr real issues, and not about theyr way of life, and ways of earning money. The problem of social inclusion is deep inside buried in any communitie.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Try getting to know some of the Roma, Nikos,
      I mean really becoming friends. You just might find out that they are ordinary human beings like yourself!
      Ruth Barnett

  10. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    In Bulgaria we have a 3-rd generation jobless gypsy that are happy that they have no jobs since EU and the government create programs for their integration and give them money for nothing….

    • avatar
      Ionut Visan

      Are happy? Do you have a sociological empirical data to backup your affirmation?

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Come down to Earth, Borislav, from whatever strange planet you live on! Of course people who have grown up in families, where noone had a job in three generations, have no idea how to work. How is it that families have been left to flounder for three generations without any jobs??? Start thinking and asking questions instead of blaming people.
      Ruth Barnett

    • avatar
      zix

      Bulgaria was also in Soviet Union so I guess you have the 2 nd as we all do in east europe, because at least Soviets forced them to work a little, the problem is all those jobs that were here during the communist era are now gone and they are useless. All they can do is cleaning streets and do some hard jobs with shovel or smt.. But ofcourse they mostly tend to do nothing. The problem is definetly in their families we need to go on hard on this, they simply wont raise their children in camps.. no way. And I think Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria need to sit down at one table and do something together against this. If you put them in school and raise the way other childrens are, they will be benefitial for out society. BTW I m half Roma, all my relatives have finished high schools, all of them working and live a normal life, not even the parents of my grandmother were living in camps the reason is this : http://ling.uni-graz.at/~rombase/cgi-bin/art.cgi?src=data/hist/modern/maria.en.xml

  11. avatar
    Danny Gordon

    We should punish them. These Roma are people like the rest of us. They need help, not stigmatisation.

  12. avatar
    Ana Georgieva

    Nobody can change their mantality, no one! They want to live in a geto, they destroy the houses given them by the state, they do not want to work, they do not want to feel part of the society, they steal, they kill old people for money, they torment all of us! We pay their electrisity, from the taxes, they do not pay taxes! I am discriminated, not them!

    • avatar
      Ionut Visan

      What’s to be done?:)

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Dear Ana,

      That is a very angry invective you have poured out! I feel sad that you feel so angry. Perhaps you have met someone or a group of Roma who are just like you describe – but that does not mean that they are all like that. there are some people like you describe in every group, probably even in yours.

  13. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn29yQVGxkw
    Look they create human traffic, pickpocket groups and etc. If we want to help them then we have to show them that such a life is intolerable! Poverty is just an excuse. If we really want them to integrate then we have to integrate their children and cut them from their parents mischief.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Do you have no capacity for empathy or insight, Boris????

      Have you ever been ‘poor’ -really poor? Not knowing when there will be another meal? And teased and insulted wherever you go?

      It is to the governmental authorities that we must protest that the life the Roma are forced to live is intolerable.

      Would you have liked to be taken from your parents as a child – because some Boris somewhere thought your parents were bad and wanted to integrate you in another culture???

      Do some thinking, Boris. Talk tyo the Roma, make friends with them – they don’t bite unless you bite them first!

      Ruth Barnett

    • avatar
      Hapi

      What mean ‘hipicritical’? How dare they criticize hippies?!!

  14. avatar
    Panos Kontogiannis

    In Romania where I live most of the Gypsies are normal members of the community and they live a normal life, the only difference is the music preferancies. BTW they completely dislike the term Roma and they are proud to be Gypsies. My wife is one of them and studied law in the University.
    A part of the Gypsies DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE THE WAY THEY LIVE. It’s us who want to change them. There is no exclusion, they are free to use the free educational system and free to move away from the Gypsie villages BUT either themselves or the parents do not let them. The money spent has the opposite result if it reaches these people at all.

  15. avatar
    Jaime Martins

    The rights and DUTIES have to be equal for all people.
    What is happening in Portugal is that Roma people are only having rights and have no duties as the remaining people.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      What you say, Jaime is most interesting. Of course responsibilities go with rights. But please tell me your evidence that Roma people “only have rights and have no duties as the remaining people”. What exactly do you mean? What rights? What ‘duties’ are you talking about???
      Ruth Barnett

  16. avatar
    Dami An

    The integration of the Roma shouldn’t be a duty only of the poor affected East European countries. Where is the solidarity of the Western countries? It’s a similar problem as the challenge of the EU asylum policy. We need European solidarity and not nationalistic egoism.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Dami An – you are on to something. The EU has a problem of serious ‘dry rot’ in its foundations – capitalism! The ever-widening gap between the greedy rich individuals, companies and countries one the one hand and the poorer individuals and countries the rich prey upon is the root of most EU problems. The rich, of course, like to have a vulnerable group – Roma and Travellers – for the poor to vent their anger against instead of turning on them (the rich).

      If enough people have the courage to care and the will to act they can stop being bystanders and become upstanders and join a massive protest against the greed of the rich.
      Ruth Barnett

  17. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Jaime Martins You should visit the ghetto Filipovci(Sofia) or Fakulteta(Sofia) or Stolipinovo(Plovdiv) in Bulgaria!

  18. avatar
    Maria

    Other states have interfered already, not necessarily in a good way.
    2000-2005: countries like FR, DE, UK were welcoming Roma with open arms, as they were discriminated in their countries of origin ( Romania, in particular). Romania was looking forward to be shown a model of integration, one that it could follow up on. It hasn’t happened. Roma were welcomed to those countries, indeed, and then, most of the times, left to their own device.
    In a couple of years, the above mentioned countries started to complain about the “communities of Romanians” that started to build camps near or in their major cities. So, they were not “discriminated Roma” any longer, they were Romanians. And they started to take measures. Some of which, laughable ( remember the French who thought they could solve the issue to taking the Roma back to were they came from and buying them some sheeps? and the Roma did what? Sold the sheeps and returned to France. ).
    So,in brief, if anyone wants to interefere/intervene, they should drop the finger-pointing and holier-that-thou attitude, and, as a first step, admit that this is a complex issue that concerns and has to be dealt with by each and every country where they have set foot. And they have pretty much everywhere in the EU.

  19. avatar
    Dami An

    This issue is very important and we really need a new effective and functioning approach. You can see how some Western Countries treat Bulgaria and Romania in the last months only because of their hysterical fear of the Roma. This could colapse the whole European integration process and discredit the beautiful “United Europe” idea.

  20. avatar
    Alexandru Paladoiu

    In Romania the gypsy (roma ) community have more rights than the native population, who is discriminated ? The school it’s free, but they don’t want to study, they are very proud when are stealing from someone, They are not working , but still they have money to build this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHTBPhQcXCY. …

    • avatar
      Ionut Visan

      By rights you mean affirmative inclusion measures I suppouse. There are not constitutional rights strictly for them. School it’s free? Yes ..only by word. When you sign up , you must pay for: Parents commitie, scholar fund, class fund , not to mention some special notebooks. Also, if they go to School, they must be dressed proprely (more money) and finnaly when they are enrolled in Schools, what do you think that they face othen than Stigmatisation and discrimination? I can say that in Romania they are also segregated. That’s a fact.
      They are not working? ..tell me , who hires a roma in Romania that does not have superior education?(even then it’s hard to get a job). If they have theyr means of earning Money, it’s because they addapted to the society. A Society that it’s not so inclusive. :)

    • avatar
      Natalia Duminica

      An ethnic group can not have more rights then other group or whole society! We call it positive actions and measures to support Roma. The school is for free because Roma have limited access to education! Roma are not working because they are discriminated when they try to get a job! …. and I can continue in this way!

  21. avatar
    István

    “As a result of ongoing social exclusion…”

    Really?

    Rather a result of Roma’s behaviour.

  22. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    United Europe: We offer better jobs for your educated population but we refuse to integrate any gypsy or think about the rest of your population….

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Boris – you cannot be taken seriously with your sweeping statements unless you provide evidence for what you say – otherwise it is simply invective with no substance!
      Ruth Barnett

  23. avatar
    Ana Georgieva

    The West is very worried about the rights of the roma, so I suggest they take all of them there! You are better people then us, take them! Hypocrits!

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Don’t forget people are all human being and should be equally respected as such. I don’t hear much respect for anyone in your writings. Perhaps you have been badly treated at some time. That is to be deplored but does not mean everybody is like that. Come and join the people who want a better world for everyone.
      Ruth Barnett

  24. avatar
    Tsvetanka Boeva

    EU definitely should not interfere! When we try to cope with the Gipsies in any legal way a great number of international organizations jump to accuse the state of “violating their rights”. When the Gipsies invade your countries however, Europe completely changes its opinion and don’t mind “violating” their rights, violating our rights and punish us for not dealing with them!

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      When you advocate dealing with ‘Gypsies’ “in any legal way” you need to be aware that some laws are patently unfair. Who has a voice in making the laws? And who interprets the law in actual cases? Hostility towards Roma and Travellers is so deep in our communities that many people do not realise how prejudiced they are. Some people seem to be incapable of seeing ‘Gypsies’ as ordinary hum,an beings like themselves. And who is invading whose country? A lot of people are on the move – are they all invaders? Roma have been in Europe for at least 500 years – longer than a lot of other Europeans can trace back their family. Who actually owns Planet Earth? We are all temporary tenants for ‘three score years and ten’ – or a bit more.

  25. avatar
    Ruth Barnett

    I believe there are more like 12 million Roma in Europe. The decade of Roma inclusion has failed in its overall aim to achieve inclusion of Roma into the communities. However it has created a lot of concern and organisation that will, hopefully, go on with mounting pressure towards inclusion. The main problem to tackle is the hatred based on prejudice and stereotypes. This has to be tackled through education. But the deeper problem is that ‘the masses’ are not likely to give up their ‘easy scapegoat’ – the Roma – until the ever-widening gap between the richest individuals, companies and countries on the one hand and the poorest that they prey upon, is reversed. It is virtually impossible to attack the greedy rich – so the frustration is turned on the most vulnerable minorities like the Roma.

    Ruth Barnett, speaker and writer challenging stereotypes and prejudice and human rights promoter for Rene Cassin

    • avatar
      Ericbana

      I have read some of your responses to other contributors Ruth ,unfortunately many many peoples experience is simply that they move to a country,They camp where they want,they dump rubbish in the streets,I have a friend who one morning found several sleeping in her garden one of whom had defecated in her garden,they were offensive when challenged,and locally have been intimidating local residents with aggressive begging!they do not respect people’s property !nor do they show any respect for the environment !they refuse to integrate and feel it is their right to live wherever and however they choose!they do not pay taxes and upset local residents,
      Why are you surprised no one wants them around

    • avatar
      Ericbana

      I have read some of your comments Ruth and think you are the one living in a bubble,I have personal experience of,Roma setting up camps where the hell they want,abuse to local residents including the elderly,aggressive street begging,leaving an unholy mess wherever they go,defecating in people’s gardens and being threatening when challenged about sleeping on people’s property,
      people can ONLY expect respect if they treat those into who’s communities they move with respect,you do not get tolerated if you shit on people’s doorsteps (literally !)and abuse them in the street,people are not all created equal,I do not come from a wealthy background but I do none of the above,there is no excuse you can offer for behaviour of this kind.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      I agree with you Ruth. A sociological theory called the Labeling Theory, states that identity is formed partly by the labels in which used to classify this identity. Though it is theory, I believe that this theory holds true in the case of the Roma.

  26. avatar
    Mariana Kremser

    Nicht mehr hunderte milliarden euro nur fur Griecheland von EU ! und dann get es viel besser . EU willt nicht ! Zu erst Schulen ,Erziehungund dann Wirkung ! Wenn schmeissen weiter nur fur die sehr Reiche und Banke viele hunderte milliarden euro , aber fur solche kleine Problemme nichts, durfen nicht sprechen !RRoma Problemm ist nicht Grosse Problemm , das Grosse Problemm sind alle milliarde von Banke und unmenschliche Lohne , und Fiskalparadisen…dor gibt es schon uber 30.000 milliarden euro !!!!

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      I do not doubt the bad experiences some people, like Ericbana have had with Roma and Traveller Gypsies, and I can understand their feelings of anger. However, unless such people think more widely and deeply they simply become part of the problem. If you want Roma and Travellers to behave respectfully, you need to respect them. They have been persecuted and treated as inferior for centuries and are still being regarded as ‘bad’ and ‘inferior’ today. Thr tragedy is that those that have managed to achieve enough education to get decent jobs, even high-powered jobs have to hide their identity in fear of bring labelled and driven away. People like Ericbana have probably met some people in professional jobs who are Roma and never realised it. If you really want to become part of the solution to your problem with ‘Gypsies’, Ericbana, you could start learning more about their world-wide culture and successes to balance those you know are trapped in poverty and discrimination. There is a lot about them you could learn from the internet – just google ‘Roma Virtual Network’. You might get some surprises. Also get to know a few ‘Gypsies’ personally and you will find they are ordinary human beings like you and me.
      Ruth Barnett, challenging ignorance and stereotypes.

  27. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Uma Europa Unida e com uma população educada e com direitos e deveres dentro das comunidades ciganas em Portugal a comunidade cigana só tem direitos mas não tem deveres como as outras pessoas Eu defendo uma Europa Unida e só assim se pode modernizar a sociedade Europeia

  28. avatar
    catherine benning

    The difficulties we see with the Roma community is cultural. And unless you want to take them all to a lab and brainwash them collectively nothing can change it presently. Only time and evolution will change their aspirations, along with education of their offspring. As far as they are concerned they have survived well and are getting along nicely with their way of life as it is. They enjoy being free to wander. Freedom is the essence of their well being and they feel life in one place without that option to up and move on ‘anytime’ is akin to imprisonment. They are a nomadic tribe.

    Frankly it has its draw even to a home bod like me. And the reason for wanting them to change is what? Criminality is one thing, leaving the places they visit a tip is another and can be dealt with under the law and taxation. Allocated or assigned parking areas can be a good move and an education system for the children imposed on them within those designated areas. Accepting the children when they turn up and allowing them to move on when the time for them to do so is imminent. And lastly, but very difficult to do, is to remove their children into government care if they are caught leading a criminal life, along with the parents jailed if found schooling them in the crimes they commit. That will not change the social genes of the culture though. Only time can do that.

    An awareness of a better standard of living is a great mind changer.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      The difficulty we ‘see’ with the Roma community is a reflection of what we do not want to ‘see’ in ourselves!

      Catherine Benning is at a stage wghere she thinks she (we) know what is good for the Roma. She needs to develop a little more humility and realise that she (we) needs the Roma to tewll her what is best for them. Then we can start a dialogue each telling the other what we want and negotiating a conpromised solution.

      At the moment people are encouraged (by polititians, media, etc) to think ‘the Roma and Travellers should fit in with us’ – but why should they? Why shouldn’t we also fit in with them – make space for them as part of our community, ensure their representatives are there in the decision-making processes.

      Ruth Barnett
      Speaker and writer challenging stereotypes and prejudice and human rights promoter for Rene Cassin.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      What on earth do you mean, Catherine, by ‘social genes of the culture’???

      Many people, including Hitler, fell for a distortion of Darwin’s theories – only genes had not even been discovered in Darwin’s time.

      I suggest you do some research – a bit of reading, talking with Roma and other thinking people!¬
      Ruth Barnett

  29. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    roma people will never be integrated…its a waste of time and valuable resources to try to integrate them..i like the idea proposed above. leave space anoccupied near big cities and try to convince them to use sanitation and improve their standard of living gradually. each city in europe with large roma population should do that..and we should let them travel from designated area to designated area..even between countries

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @Ruth Barnet:

      Something must have hit the nail on the head with my post that leads your type of interests to feel threatened.

      You don’t want solutions you want to play hair splitting games to distract from your power base. You have the mentality of the self perpetuating social worker. Fully aware that should discussion continue, without your approval, you will be pushed off the gravy train and out of the picture.

      Do you ask for agreement from criminals in any other part of society for their permission to take action against them? Or indeed question the best interests of the society we live in?. To ask for approval before sanction of those who commit crime is a nonsense and you know it?

      It’s you who needs to get off the high horse madam. You have been in the chair too long. Time for a change. For, what you are promoting hasn’t worked so far, why do you think that is going to change in the future? Your attitude is one of a fish who constantly bangs its face into the glass bowl and wonders why the glass remains impenetrable.

      Stagnant psychology needs to retrain. When a method is not working it simply has failed. Time to move on to new thinking.

      Poking at me and my ‘overbearing attitude’ is not where you should be placing your thoughts. Especially as you suffer from it far more than I. Centre on the question posed rather than the need you feel to deplore alternative thinking.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      @Ruth Barnett:

      It is you who must do some research. Social genes are not an enigma of Hitler or his imagination. That old cry is always from those who have no intelligent debate they can stand by. Nazi and racism are the cards of the illiterate.

      Human beings, which includes me, inherit not simply their physical genes they also pass on their social DNA.

      http://www.genome.gov/issues/

      And

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioural_genetics

      What a surprise!

  30. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    If EU really wants to “save” the roma culture and respect their chosen lifestyle then it should create a roma reserve with free trade and brand “gypsy”(roma etc) manufacturers. Everyone out of the reserve is a plain citizen and not a discriminated gypsy. In Bulgaria we have gypsy party, gypsy court(unrecognaized by Bulgaria) and many gypsy manufacturers that are working illegal. Just a police force is needed and a hospital/school and etc.

  31. avatar
    Andrei Craciun

    Stop to throw money on an minority that do not want to be integrated and does not want to respect europeans and the law! Gipsy(roma) are use that excuse to live well from difrent infraction and maltreatment of their childrens. They force their childrean to steal and bagging from verry young ages! In your marxist stupidity the childrens does not have anny rigth to not be tortured by theirs parents? I sick of gipsy that have rights and no obligations! Minorties that do not worck and live only from social help, have more rigths than us european citizens. We are force to pay taxes and them you trow the money colected form us on minorty who do not want to be integretted! Instead of throw money on them create jobs for young european who cannot findd anywhere to worck and start a family!

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Andrei – you really do have a very narrow view. What is your evidence on which you say Roma torture their children, Roma have more rights than European citizens (Roma are European citizens anyway), Roma have no obligations, Roma pay no taxes etc??? How many Roma have you talked with, made friends with so that they trust you??
      Ruth Barnett

  32. avatar
    David Bisset

    READ A BOOK. IT’S IN SIMPLE ENGLISH. IT’S CALLED “WE ARE THE ROMA!”. THE AUTHOR IS VAL NICOLAE. HE ADVISES EC DIRECTORATES AND GOVERNMENTS. he IS A COLLEAGUE AND FRIEND. HE IS ROMANIAN & ROMA.

  33. avatar
    Ely

    These are people with their own way of life … not a matter of discrimination …. Gypsies in Bulgaria live hundreds of years …. Member of many years trying to teach in schools ..! Giving them land to cultivate …. nothing helps .. Do not go to school , do not want to cultivate their land … decided to allow them to live in rooms in residential buildings . , . Like other people. ! …… What did pulled flooring , windows .. Have made their homes in caves … ! They do not pay electricity, water. ! Steal whatever they can ! They should be in a country in one place … … And there they themselves can manage their own laws and rules … Gradually themselves to reach their own civilized and lifestyle …. Others will be lost and the time and money!

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      What is your evidence, Ely?
      Who told you all this? How many Romanies have you spoken with, made friends with so that they trust you??
      You are exacerbating the problem the EU has with its Roma by spreading this negative image of them. What is your evidence that they are all like that???
      Ruth Barnett

  34. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    All in all EU must realize what it wants from the gypsy minority and then work on a plan to do it!

  35. avatar
    Annija Martinsone

    But over the years, they have developed at least a loose organizational structure for governing themselves. One of the biggest problems…they reject any help or changes from Government. (with exception)

  36. avatar
    Daniela Trifu

    Judging by the types of reactions received by this article, which I consider the root of the problem in Roma relations, there should be several dimensions to EU action:
    1) educate majority children in early school years about equality and racism,with local curricula and positive examples from their community. They should be aware of the stigmatizing effects of generalization (“group-think”). A ballanced perception about Roma is a good and necessary base for all further programmes.
    2) conduct comprehensive qualitative research in Roma communities at the member state level. Why is it that the Roma don’t make use of social resources that are available the way they were intended? What kind of mismatch is at work between their cultural and belief system and the one governing the majority population?
    3) continue the funding of the programmes directed at ethnic minorities in member states, but very importantly, involve ethnic minority representatives in them, not just for claiming representativity, but for making a relevant project design. Encourage their ways of expression and of understanding the world if you want to make a programme effective.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      At last a sensible piece of writing. Thank you Daniela!
      Ruth

    • avatar
      Milen

      Good one, fully agree! :)

  37. avatar
    Dami An

    In my opinion the only way to integrate the Roma minority is to have some kind of European consensus and agreement for relocation and distribution of the Roma (if they agree of course) to all EU countries regarding their population size. But as we can see in the current example of the EU asylum policy, some countries just want to benefit from the EU single market but without to share social problems. It’s really a question of solidarity. Whithout solidarity we can’t build United Europe…

  38. avatar
    Andrei B Tarnea

    Europe should definitely start by looking where its own (EU) policies fail. On the other hand more coordination and more effective policy implementation monitoring may be effective. We are talking for years about matching the monitoring of EU members states’ economic policy performance with a monitoring of their social policy targets and benchmarks. This should include combating poverty and exclusion. And this should not be only done for statistical purposes but for compulsory corrections like when it comes to the Maastricht rules for debt to GDP rations, budgetary deficits etc. Before talking about “punishment” a real understanding of the Roma community problems is still required. Both EU and national policies in this field are often ineffective and to some extent keep each other in a vicious circle or irrelevance. They are usually top down, one measure fits all approaches. The overall tendency in Europe to cut social spending is negatively impacting Roma integration and combating of social exclusion. Cutting budgets for education, social cohesion and protection etc has had a dramatic impact even on areas where policies had a history of successful and effective implementation. This is why I am afraid there is so much hypocrisy imbedded in this question! It may be involuntary but is certainly indicative of the utter failure of recent EU policy making in some fields and the decision by the EU to stop acting like a cohesive force on social issues. Paradoxically the economic crisis has led the EU (Council, Commission and Parliament alike) to focus exclusively on the “macro” priorities while failing its citizens on the social dimension. In the meanwhile we tend to point fingers. The degree of contempt and even racism is only suavely hidden behind a veil populism. Just recently a German politician serving in the European Parliament was talking about fingerprinting those that “abuse” the social protection systems of members states where they reside – others than their own of course. The reference was clearly targeting the Roma and other “poverty migrants”. This is in clear breech of the letter and spirit of EU treaties. But let’s not kid ourselves. Given that for all the decades long discussion on the issue, the EU has no senior or mid ranking Roma employes shows the depth of hypocrisy at both national and European level.

  39. avatar
    Maria

    -…and one more thing. Let us not forget that Roma are voters too. So the (Romanian) government has no interest whatsoever in helping them improve their situation and be less dependent on social welfare, which would make them more difficult to manipulate, electorally speaking.

  40. avatar
    Cristina Rodrigues Pereira

    Does Roma community want to integrate? How did they succeed to mantain their ethnic and cultural difference from the rest of the european people throughout history? By integrating themselves? If they had integrated they would’t exist anymore. Do they want that?

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Christina – if the main communities of Europe had welcomed Roma instead of isolating them, yes, the Roma might have ‘disappeared’ into the community by now.
      That is what happened to the Jews in China – they were revered and welcomed and they ‘disappeared’ into the community.
      Ruth Barnett

    • avatar
      Natalia Duminica

      It is a big difference between integration and assimilation! I think your ideas were about assimilation!

  41. avatar
    Bastian

    Part of the enigma of imperial rule (e.g. EU) is to govern over as many “discriminated” minorities as possible, so that they can be played against each other for the purpose of power stabilization. If the “gypsies” would be included, and in the true sense, that can only mean complete assimilation into main stream society, they would lose this important function for those who rule the “Empire”. Anybody who has watched the EU from its beginning (1992) will have noticed, that one of its main obsessions was to invent/create/make aware as many as possible “discriminated minorities” (gender, immigrants, age etc.) and with any of them the Brussels imperial aristocracy created a new field of activity for itself. Hence, to “end poverty and exclusion in the Roma community” would not really be in the interest of an imperial government like the EU.
    The Roma/Gypsy problem in Europe has been created under imperial conditions (Ottoman) and the EU as another Empire is the least from whom we could expect to solve this problem. The question on top of this thread can realy only be rhetorical.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      All that may well be true, Bastian, but it does not help the Roma and Travellers – it is up to ordinary people like us to protest and keep protesting and confronting/challenging biased policies and racist actions. Keeping talking and writing about it gradually gets more people aware and thinking outside their comfort zones. Indifference is much harder to tackle than challenging injustice and racism when it is expressed. For evil empires to continue and thrive, it only takes the majority of people to do nothing and be passive bystanders! We need upstanders!
      Ruth Barnett

  42. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Cristina Rodrigues Pereira, that is part of the problem! People don’t realize that majority of them refuse to integrate out of sheer fear that they will not exist! But MUST we tolerate criminals and social care abusers so they can keep their livestyle/culture? UK, France, Holland and Germany are implementing laws for returning social migrants back to their homelands. Is this fair or not? Bulgaria and Romania MUST keep queit about that and everyone else must not tolerate that!

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      Boris – you can’t be taken seriously if you give no evidence on which you base your negative and hostile views.
      Ruth

    • avatar
      Ana

      Ruth dear, have u lived in Romania near and with gypsies for any stretch of time?? U keep asking for evidence… Romanticizing the Roma does not help.

  43. avatar
    Stojanovic Vojislav

    Esclusione socia del popolo Rom non si combatte con la teoria o miracolo ma con strategia nella
    quale sono coinvolgimento i stessi interessati, nella programmazione e attuazione dei progetti destinati ai stessi destinatari. Più responsabilità dell’Istituzioni e dei stessi Rom.
    Sconfiggere ogni forma di individualismo e protagonismo fra i auto proclamati ripresentanti del popolo rom.

  44. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Ruth, I am not giving any evidence UK, France, Germany on the other hand are! And by the way you shoud check the video I posted.

  45. avatar
    Radu Micu

    It’s very easy. There is a huge need for doing things. Nobody does, at least very very few… if there are some (steps forward). If you, we, us give them a reason to be they will have something to do. But don’t ask them to do it voluntarily, for free. Train them. Teach them. Wash them. Feed them. They are, basically, gentile people, a smart community. Many craftsmen, skilled people. Don’t push them, don’t sell them lies.

  46. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    And yes, I have been poor I but realise that only work can make me sociall included, and I had faced their “friendship” as result I almost quit school because of bulling(and my pleas for aid by school authorities are like your thoughts: they are victims in society, so cut ’em some slack)! The reason why I havn’t answered is because I am writting in facebook, not in their site.

    The take away children is not something I said lightly because I had seen how children are stoped from educating and SOLD into mariage! Tell me how can parents who sell their children be treated?

  47. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    And finally I had gypsy co- workers and I am OK with them. I can see how jobs and work atmosphere change individuals and they are talking about other gypsy(and their lifestyle) with disgust.

  48. avatar
    Milen

    While I was growing up in Sofia, it was a common and natural sight to see graffitti on the walls, stating “turn the Gyprsies into soap” and similar lovely messages. Discrimination in Eastern Europe is so pervasive that it is not even being recognized as such. Many people would argue that it’s justified, I don’t care to get into such an argument. My opinion is the following: if we manage to include the Roma in the broader European society, this would result in GDP improvements of perhaps 20%. We are talking about billions of Euros, which would then go into higher pensions, better education for all, and just more money to have fun – for everyone, not just the Roma. The Roma population of Europe is an unexploited goldmine – they are mostly young and have many productive years ahead of them. Their inclusion would end the aging of European society and would solve so many problems that we cannot afford not to do it. As to the specific methods for their inclusion – I don’t have a brilliant idea – the road will be hard, and there will be lots of drawbacks to every choice we make. But the result will be so worth it. One thing I do know: we won’t achieve it with right-wing propaganda and closet and open racism.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      I absolutely agree with you, Milen!
      It is about time all these negative-inclined people in this discussion saw some sense.
      I don’t have a brilliant idea either -but we can start by challenging negative expressions about Roma and stirring passive bystanders out of their indifference to wake up and protest at injustice, ignorance and prejudice.
      Ruth

  49. avatar
    Milen

    Actually, I do have one idea, and it might seem a bit strange: use the One Laptop per Child program (http://one.laptop.org/).
    It is originally designed to give computer access to children in third-wolrd countries, but the conditions under which many Roma live are so atrocious, that they might as well be living in an Eritrean village. The laptops can only be used for educational purposes (i.e. would be worthless if resold) and will teach young Roma children from the ghettos the benefit of working together on projects, perhaps a bit of English and general computer literacy. The Internet will expand their horizons and perhaps inspire them to reach goals they would have never though possible.
    I would like to see a small pilot project done in some ghetto. It won’t be really expensive (perhaps a couple of thousand EUR) and I think it would be worth to see if this idea has any merit.

    • avatar
      Ruth Barnett

      good idea – I hope you get it going.
      Ruth

    • avatar
      L-G

      really good idea!

  50. avatar
    Rudi Špoljarec

    Here , they have their leaders, members of parliament , but those members don’t do anything, they only collect salary and care less about their Roma nation.Those Roma leaders should have to be the spiritus movens for the whole group. On the other hand, government should care more for the minority through subvention for living, and to oblige their children to go to school. It’s not an easy task, because the minority do not incorporate into the society through marriage and job. The fault is common: either governmental and Roma. Somebody should have to make the first step. It is the duty of Roma representatives in the parliament.

  51. avatar
    Jetmira Zhuri

    I think there are much more evident problems inside the member states that affects different target and vunerable groups of the society,so its not to pay so much attention to the Roma comunitty!Ok we should take care of them try to integrate them inside the society try to put them on an educational system but there are more big problems than that.Because if EU try ti indicate special attention to them they take appart other visible and urgent problems that needs imediate help.According to my opinion as e Social Worker and Gender activist :)

  52. avatar
    L-G

    Well, I acknowledge that my opinion about Roma is badly biased, and I m totally wrong!
    The EU should sentence fiercely such policies implemented for instance by France (And I’m French!), but above all, should air this sentence thanks to clear message.

    The treatment of Roma is catastrophic, for instance in France. The EU have to do the first gesture: Why not launch a publicity campaign financed by the EU which inform the public about: bad standard of leaving unbearable in our democracies. This public campaign could exhibit some success story of Roma students.

    To sum up I think that the EU parliament has to focus on communication (to change public opinion, mine for instance), and education (for the future of these minorities)!

  53. avatar
    Borislav

    Ruth Barnett, your view is part of the Roma problem. You already have a very present evidence that negative attitudes are natural result of antisocial behavior of Roma. It is a time for realism – Roma problem is a complex problem and simplifying it will just make it worse. We again experience the reasons why Roma have been stigmatized at past. You criticize the negative attitudes of communities that were coexisting with Roma for long time. But you can see same attitudes arise today in Germany, France and so on, even when that experience is new, even on the base of higher humanistic values and stronger social systems. So you and the rest people expressing the irrational philosophy of blaming the victim, must face the truth. Yes, you don’t know the answer, but we are still in need to correct the question. Where is the problem with Roma?

  54. avatar
    Popescu Alexandru

    If EU really want to do something, you have to figure out a common minimum program for all states. After you set the minimum involvement of the European Communities, to establish and integration stages.
    It’s not hard, just political will.

  55. avatar
    Dora Alexiadou

    Why we speak always of “Integration”? We have seen all the beautiful differences of the different european countries fading slowly so that it has become very boring to live here. Everything arranged by laws, the size of the apples you can sell, etc. etc. Why we humans always want to become a uniform mass of sheep? We have to ask us why everyone of us can’t tolerate the differences of other customs, cultures etc. I think we have to learn to support each other in any possible way, at the same time giving the right to each other to be different. Did anyone ask the Roma about how they would like to live? If they want to live like nomads, perhaps we can do something that they have better living conditions in all of Europe, moving from place to place and also provide them with the possibility to gain their living in a legal way. (for exemple at many places there are needed seasonal workers in Europe). Also, if there is the will and the imagination, there will be a possibility to give education to their children. The Romas live next to us for hundreds of years and we know almost nothing about them, because of the prejudices on both sides.

  56. avatar
    Maria Elena Seemann

    As we all know already…all the member states are facing socio-economic integration problems with roma people..but also with other minorities.. I don’t think that EU should punish member states for not taking enough measures to integrate roma people..my opinion is that the EU should take some risk measures for avoiding the spending of EU funds on other social problems.. For example, I think there is a high level of EU funds spent for women rights…gender equality…or other social projects which would not make the subject of an European social case priority. I think that besides the recommendations made by the EU to the member states to use the funds for roma integration they should also have an extra pillar for the integration of minorities in the society, meaning that the money should not take into consideration only roma target groups but also other minorities, and most of all, the other inhabitants of the societies where the integration has to be made.

  57. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    This seems an odd question: 1) huge amounts of EC funds have been spent and squandered on Roma, 2) majority of the EC money for Roma ends up in NGOs operated by local politicians’ wives/daugthers/sisters, etc., 3) “keep silent” money is given to local Roma “lords”, and 4) on the field nothing changes.
    Furthermore, even the ERRC (European Roma Rights Centre) admits things are dreadful among Roma themselves in terms of sexual exploitation (Prostitution/Sex Work), Begging and Petty Crime, and Forced Child Marriage (including also Child trafficking) (see report at http://www.errc.org/cms/upload/file/breaking-the-silence-19-march-2011.pdf).
    Hence, why punish EU member states, since the Roma problem is rather a massive EC fund fraud problem to start with. Deal with that first, apply rigorous audits carried out by independent auditors (and no, the big 5 I do not consider objective as they are too bound to the EC in terms of commercial contracts and tend to write whatever suits the EC best, ensuring as such they keep on getting new contracts). Then apply actual training schemes that also FORCE Roma to follow education and get jobs, and limit the efforts to try to integrate them and change their way of life, as they don’t want to change it anyway. A simple visit to Roma settlements allover the Balkan and talks with Romas will make this very clear.

  58. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    I invite everyone to read this blog about someone who worked on the field and saw what things went wrong with EC funding for Roma: http://valeriucnicolae.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/why-i-quit/
    Some quotes:
    “… The successful implementation of a Roma social inclusion project is more likely to be a fairy-tale based on a fake report than a real success. Success does happen, but it is exceptional/accidental, and occurs far more often in spite of existing policies and lines of funding, than because of them.

    Overall, EU funding for Roma social inclusion is a failure. There is no disagreement about the failure, the only discussion is about how big the failure is. Opinions of practitioners in the field range from catastrophic to limited. Funders need to focus on examining the mistakes and reforming the systems in such a way that real success, and not rationalized or imagined achievements are the main results.

    The situation of small Roma NGOs that work at the grassroots level, and should be at the core of reform in the Roma communities, needs to become a serious reason of concern …”

  59. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    And therefore some thoughts on the main problems (see full details on http://valeriucnicolae.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/projectitis-the-dutch-disease-of-eu-funding-targeting-roma/):
    1. The priorities and directions of EU funding for addressing the social inclusion of Roma are decided overwhelmingly by well intended people that have limited (if any) interest in Roma issues as well as close to zero experience working with Roma at the grassroots level. This applies both to high and medium level bureaucrats in the European Commission and national governments. Results are as anybody expect ? limited ? some say catastrophic.
    2. The main incentives for those designing and implementing projects to address the most problematic issues at the grassroots are minimal compared to incentives for research, reports, high-level meetings and trainings. The result is an expensive paper and hot air industry that makes a very small Roma elite, a significant number of bureaucrats and desk researchers happy and able to enjoy a comfortable life style. Four and five star hotels are also important beneficiaries.
    There are very few people willing and even fewer able to work in the Roma ghettoes or most isolated and difficult Roma communities. The changes within the communities are many, rapid and often impossible to predict, as the communities have to respond fast to changes, challenges or economic opportunities. From the design of priorities till the start of projects? implementation there is an average period of two to three years that make most ESFs projects too obsolete to be effective for grassroots work. Migration, a much higher than average incarceration, domestic violence, prostitution, drugs, small criminality and illiteracy rates are all reason why even the unusual efficient EU funded projects are impossible to replicate in these places. Project beneficiaries are hard to be found and even harder to be kept interested. Therefore bureaucrats in Brussels or capital cities and NGOs prefer ?safe projects? focused on researches, reports, meetings and trainings that can fulfill easy the required indicators and entail minimal efforts both for those implementing them and their supervisors.

  60. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    3. Most of the few projects with real community impact financed by European Social Fund resulted in serious problems for the leading NGOs. Even some of the strongest NGOs were or are on the brink of financial collapse due to the ESFs. Member State?s bureaucracy is unprepared and incapable to deal with projects that are complex and innovative. The end result is financial blockages that lead to financial insolvency and disappearance of NGOs. Roma NGOs are even at a higher risk as most Roma NGOs have in general much limited managerial and financial capacity and little experience with EU funding. Moreover there are not many mainstream bureaucrats that will make any effort to help Roma NGOs to get through the stupendous amount of paper work needed for reimbursements. Racism against Roma is not a rare occurrence among state institutions.

    4. Most of the ESFs Funds in Romania were directed towards organisations of political cronies that learned how to use the system for their own benefit. The fact that the directors of the Management Authorities for the ESFs are named politically and most of the times have no skills whatsoever to be in these positions lead to widespread corruption. Cheating and bribing are usual practices and some NGOs consider these as the only way to be able to survive a corrupt, rigid or inflexible bureaucracy that has no reasons to try to understand difficulties of grassroots projects and help NGOs. Fake reporting is widespread- the most hunted and valuable human resources are at this moment innovative accountants able to solve the financial quagmire and not at all people capable to change communities. Roma NGOs needed to adapt to the overall trend.

    Exposure of corruption within Roma NGOs in much sexier for the press as it plays on the very popular anti-Roma sentiment all over Eastern Europe. The incentives for journalists to investigate Roma corruption are therefore much higher. The end result is further stigmatization and exclusion of Roma. Some appalling corruption acts were exposed and some involved Roma. Unfortunately as with the case of larger corruption scandals and the civil society in Romani the reaction of the Roma civil society to those scandals was shameful. Most if not all of the culprits remain in the same positions.

    5. Most of the European money (well over 60% and sometimes over 90%) are spent on administration (salaries, rent, office supplies) meetings and reports. Most of the trainings targeting Roma population make no sense and have disastrous results as long-term employment remains an exception rather than an average result. There are cases when same people were trained multiple times and not rarely by the same trainers using the same curricula. Not even the most optimistic expert in Romania will give a better estimation than 20% of the total funding to reach the targeted vulnerable communities.

  61. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    6. The significant incentives both Roma and non-Roma have towards exclusion and segregation are mainly ignored or unknown to those in charge. We remain caught in dangerous dichotomy an exaggerated politically correct language that is deployed by EU high-level government officials, Human Rights activists and strident anti-Gypsyism of the mainstream societies. Some of the most serious issues are never admitted or addressed by European Funding.

    Most of the Roma that live in ghettoes or isolated communities are functional illiterates. Their average educational achievement is much under the national average. That makes them almost unemployable outside very badly paid jobs. Begging, prostitution and small criminality in Western Europe all pay hugely better than any legal job in Romania. Iron collection, basking, selling newspapers or cleaning cars in intersections in Paris, Brussels or London require very limited education and have significant better economical benefits compared to a legal job in Bucharest or Sofia. Roma are the most hated group in Eastern Europe ? less than 10% of Romanians will accept Roma within their families. Investment in curbing anti-Gypsyism remains almost inexistent as it is funding that could be used to change the ghettoes. Most of the successful Roma prefer to assimilate than to face racism. The success in attracting the successful Roma within the political and professional European elites remains for the last decade a main point of bombastic speeches of high level EU and government representatives.

    7. Donors? exit and unfair competition. Most donors withdrew from Member States with significant Roma population as it was clear the European Union funds dwarfed any other donor interested in Roma issues. Some of the previous donors decided to apply for EU funding themselves. In some cases very powerful intergovernmental and international institutions such as the UNDP, World Bank, Council of Europe, OSCE, UNICEF and many others decided to apply and won important funds targeting Roma inclusion.

    There are many cases in Romania and Eastern Europe when huge businesses won very important contracts funded by the European Structural Funds. The idea to involve such business is good but in practice there are many things that do not work well. In some of those cases the big businesses did nothing but collected a substantial and perfectly legal fee and contracted some other much smaller businesses to do the implementation.

    Big intergovernmental organisations have very expensive bureaucracies and very little experience on Roma issues. Most of them are forced to contract other organisations. Is not a rare occurrence that the last ones had to subcontract Roma experts able to do the work at the grassroots level. This is a waste of European money as public money is administrated at least twice by some of the most expensive bureaucracies in Europe. Small Roma NGOs that should be the basis of any significant social inclusion movement cannot compete with such organisations and either disappear or adapt to the wrong but available rules for funding at the national level.

  62. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    8. Initiatives of the European Commission and Member States related to Roma issues are hard if not impossible to coordinate. Powerful Commissioners, director generals, ministers and highly educated bureaucrats were all pushed by a series of crisis (most strident ones in Italy and France) in having to deal with Roma issues. This is a very thorny political issue and not at all an easy or beneficial topic for career ?development? within the EC or national governments. Accordingly, lots of positioning took place in the last years and a large number of medium level bureaucrats change positions as people tried to consolidate their careers getting out as soon as possible from positions dealing with Roma issues. There are some exceptions to this rule but mostly at the low and medium management level.

    The best strategy for any senior bureaucrat in charge of Roma issues is to stall any decision and wait for a new appointment/position as the only effective solution is major reform at all levels. Reforms are expensive and considering that any significant amounts of money directed to Roma issues will be hugely unpopular among institutions and the majorities alike there is no incentive whatsoever to pursue such a path.

    A number of window dressing toothless measures were taken by intergovernmental organisations and delayed significantly progress. The need for a EU Roma Framework Strategy was proposed first time in 1996 and included in a more explicit form in a report published by the European Commission in 2004. Only this year the EC and Member States started working on it. Coordination within the European Commission remains lackluster as were the results of the few informal initiatives meant to deal with the Roma issue.

    9. The existing EU monitoring and assessment mechanisms are too diplomatic and tend to focus almost exclusively on positive practices. This tendency translates in practical terms into discouragement of constructive criticism or objective reporting of failed practices. The focus on positive practices often backfires as most governments or implementing organisations will present exaggerated positive reports or positive reports of totally or partially failed projects. Such practices lead to further financing, a cycle that clearly discourages constructive, but critical, analysis of failures. This leads to a repetition of mistakes and becomes an inefficient way of using EU or national money. In the very rare case of critical reports or evaluations the European Commission will go to lengths to purge out criticism and sometimes delay or block the release of papers the Commission is unhappy with. The result at this moment is nothing but a dangerously growing balloon ? the reporting of Roma organisations and governments present more and more positive practices and achievements on paper while at the level of Roma communities these results are considerable less visible and sometimes minimal or non-existent. The strident discrepancy leads to frustrations both of Roma communities and the majorities and discredits the EU, governments and Roma organisations. This is a significant factor for increased exclusion.

  63. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    10 .There are a number of other serious backlash effects EU funding had on Roma civil society. Watchdog Roma NGOs were replaced in part by submissive and opportunistic NGOs happy to access the enormous salaries possible by accessing Structural Funds distributed by governments. There is a running joke between Roma elites saying that if the European Commission will launch a EU social inclusion grant for Roma social inclusion settlements on the moon there will be tens of organisations claiming the required three years experience. Most of the best Roma Human Rights activists are nowadays well paid contractors within EU funded Structural Projects that have limited if any impact on Roma social inclusion overall.

    11. The existing incentive of Romanian authorities (largest Roma population in Europe is in Romania) and possibly of other countries? authorities to access Structural Funds that can help the social inclusion of Roma is minimal at best.

    Romania as most of the Eastern and Central European member states with significant Roma populations have poor absorption rates of ESFs. The amount of money that reaches Roma communities is minimal in comparison with necessities and in strident discrepancy with the claims of high rank government and EU officials about the help provided by the European Union.

    At an expert meeting with Ludovic Orban earlier this year the Romanian minister of EU affairs ? a job created in order to improve the absorption of EU funds in Romania -he made clear that his ministry is focused on the larger Structural Funds ?big infrastructure projects that can significantly improve the low absorption rates and please both politicians and the majorities. Those funds are practically irrelevant for the social inclusion of Roma. The lack of sufficient technical expertise within his ministry (and all Eastern European ministries for that matter) was exposed as a major problem as the best bureaucrats left for much better salaries offered by the private sector. Roma issues were clearly not a priority for his ministry.

    The European Social Fund is the most relevant off all the existing funding for Roma social inclusion. Absorption rates are under 10%. The lines of financing are much smaller compared to all other Structural Funds making it the lowest priority for governments. Reduced inside technical expertise, pressure to focus on the biggest lines of financing as well as the overall prevalent anti-Gypsyism makes Roma inclusion a very low priority for governments, politicians and local administrations. The result is a very poor use of EU funding opportunities that might be used for Roma.

    Local administrations in cities and villages with a large Roma population in Romania do not have any incentives to attract Roma funding. The salaries of people working in the local administrations are the same with or without EU funding and most of those responsible for Structural Funds have very limited(if any) technical expertise. The Roma votes are easy to buy and mayors are reluctant to get involved in Roma issues as a good majority of mainstream voters are openly against Roma.

    12. Mainstream funding directly from the European Commission that could be used for social inclusion of Roma targets European networks.

    To qualify for such a networks the EC requires at minimum 9 and most of the times 15 EU member states to be covered. Outside Romania, Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia one can hardly find any reliable Roma organizations capable to deal with European Funds. This type of funding remains largely inaccessible to Roma.

    I rest my case now. :-)

  64. avatar
    Natalia Duminica

    Europe’s representatives just talk and debate “Roma issue” during hundreds sessions and conferences, but doing anything! “Integration mechanism of Roma” will start to work in practice when we will start to approach Roma from local level, from each Roma small community in every European country. I am Roma from Republic of Moldova and I see that our government does insignificant actions to integrate Roma, just to show to the European Commision and Council of Europe that they are doing something to help Roma. Actually they don’t care about Roma and the situation is similar in all European countries. STOP TO TALK ABOUT ROMA, START TO DO SOMETHING!

  65. avatar
    catherine benning

    I’m beginning to take on board ‘somewhat’ why my government is screaming to be released from EU control from our social policies and their often absurd agenda in respect of social cohesion. This thread exposing exactly what they mean. Intelligent conversation rejected never to be seen or heard.

    Europe does not want to face up to the obvious fact that the agenda they have put into place, via their insane politically correct subjugation, is leading us into oblivion. And one has to wonder who is at the back of it? What is in it for those who watch with glee as we gesture and scream like the three witches in Macbeth in order to remove an alternative thinking or a new way to deal with notably failed policies, in case it leaves those who promoted such infancy fear their loss of income.

    Roma or Gypsies are human beings with the same failings all of us have, one way or another. Culturally they enjoy their way of life and are not willing to change it to a more rooted existence. Hence the discomfort of those who have to live with or around their lack of desire to conform to basic health issues.

    It is ‘unhealthy’ for children to be encouraged to thieve as it leads to rejection by the society they enter. It also promotes in them feelings of utter abandonment by genuinely caring adults. It is unhealthy to hoard garbage the height of an office block, then walk away from it for others to clear. It is naive thinking children do not need an education. That idea stems from fear at loss of control by those doing the overseeing. Once individuals become aware and enlightened you cannot so easily manipulate them to do what you wish, rather then they deciding their future for themselves. The Roma community, as well as many others in our midst, fear such enlightenment.

    The money being wasted on the failed psychology of yesterday is madness. Has it worked elsewhere? Just look at their results for the answer to that. No it has not. Those who cling to it it know it’s failed and fear once recognised they will be ousted for another more sensible attitude to help answer the anomaly.

    A broad clean sweep and an ousting of treacherous Macbeth morons is desperately needed in government before any semblance of civilisation is obliterated from European life. The officially elite have an unhealthy agenda and if you ask them to tell you what their plan is or why they have it along with what evidence they have showing they are right, they simply remove the pretense of loving nanny, turning immediately into attack dogs. They have no room whatsoever for common sense. These controlling few are everywhere and belong to the deviant losing class we are fighting to vote out of office.

    Just read this thread and take on board what you are seeing. A harridan who condemns any thought but her own, proven or otherwise. And an organisation that refuses to allow proven academic studies that clarify the situation should it be against EU policy to do so. Does Kim yong il and his band of merry men come to mind.

    European money should be withdrawn unless notable improvement in what it is meant to achieve can be seen very quickly. To do otherwise is a waste of tax payers good intentions. And it is being used simply to keep failed psychology and it’s off shoot going, for the good of the reapers that cling to it relentlessly. Karel Van Isacker has hit the nail on the head when he states ‘financial waste’ is the reason we have the unsolved issue still. What he forgets though are the Kling Ons who cannot be shaken off the underbelly. Time for the vessel to be taken out of the water for a barnacle scrub. As unless we rid ourselves of these official idiots nothing will move forward for us all.

  66. avatar
    Evaggelos Papandreou

    I think the EU should be able to punish Member States for taking insufficient action towards greater Roma inclusion.

  67. avatar
    David Fuzzey

    I think member COUNTRIES should be able to control their borders as they wish and the eu be damned.

  68. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Right on Mr Isacker! Pseudo socialist demand more money spend on roma integration without analyzing the failures. Education is FREE in both in Romania and Bulgaria(except higher education) yet roma illiteracy is major problem for their integration(For Bulgaria there is a social aid for 1-st class youngsters). Without realizing their own mistakes and the roma self- exclusion the hatred speach will continue because EU and these socialist aids the roma with billions euro but everyone else who’s not roma is excluded from these programs.

  69. avatar
    Eduard

    Wow, a lot of hate from everywhere (I mean real hate, not only towards the romas but also to each other (libs and cons).

    The problem lies in the upbringing, I’m really sorry to say that but that’s the truth. There are a lot of problems.

    First, I had some roma friends and also romas who bullied us, at school. (elementary) The teachers tried to communicate with them and tried to talk sense into them not to bully us because we are just like them; and what happened? The roma kids told the teacher they would be knifed to death by their parents because they were racist. My friends who were also roma tried to help the teachers to change the behavior but they were ‘excluded’ from the roma community, even they were spitted upon by the mean kids. Unfortunately, it’s very common.
    Second, when I got into high school (grammar school, state financed) there was only one roma student in my class who is one of my best friends since (it was the best school in my county). Other roma students couldn’t get in because their points were far below average, so they went to another school (mostly vocational school, also state financed). And they didn’t even want to study (they told me in person that’s because they don’t see knowledge as a necessary quality in life. They look down on people with knowledge because they think they are better than others. I mean I am clever but I don’t think I’m better than anyone else because of this.)

    Third, I got a lot of experience with them (also good and bad): in school they often aggressive (don’t let the teacher speak; talk back to the teachers like f*ck you, I have to sh*t, etc.; harass, disturb and bully other students; when in group they even attacked one of my classmates: they grabbed his neck, hit him in the stomach, if an adult hadn’t interfered it could have been ugly); the other type is much more different, they’re friendly, helpful and kind, however they have issues (they are usually discriminated against because the behavior of the others and they’re also excluded as I written from the roma community: so they can choose to join the roma community or the main ethnic group (mostly they choose the main ethnic group and they don’t have a choice but even support and laugh at anti-roma slurs if that’s the case, it can be terrible, I can’t imagine how hard it can be for them): I think it’s the worst and I really feel sorry for them). What I got in difference when I talked with them is the familial background: the bad students mostly had parents with a lot of issues: jobless, alcoholic, imprisoned, dead, etc. (unfortunately in the roma community the number of these in connection with parents are very high, also in polls and statistics.) However, regarding the parents of the good students they don’t have any serious issues like the others. (They have jobs, they don’t have any addiction and they don’t die as soon as being 40 or 50, instead in their 60s or 70s.) I only blame parents who don’t listen, take care of their children, they should change their lifestyle first and look after their children. (First with help of the gov.: more state surveillance over the financial support given to the romas, psychological help, healthcare, or instead giving money, we should give them food, basic medicines, water and so on…unfortunately they often don’t spend the money on what they should: they have a house for example which soon will collapse but they have a FULL HD LED TV on the wall with parabola. So, first educate the parents, help them, teach them how to behave with their children and how to be stable financially. Later, the new generations will automatically learn that from their parents and the problems will be gone. That’s all.)

    That’s the plain truth, I had experiences, I had roma friends, I talked to them and listened to them. That’s what I got.

  70. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Mr. Eduard you are right but noone can be forced to study and as you speak it stops almost every attempt of integration. In Bulgaria there was a program which gave money to gypsy if they start an education program but it was disasstorous. Half of them couldn’t even write their names without mistakes….

    • avatar
      Eduard

      I think it would be possible with different motivations like money support or tickets with which they can buy only given things like food.
      That’s why we would need more supervision over the money by state officials. The problem is that the money given to them is spent on alcohol, drugs – or sorry to say -but women.
      And unfortunately integration won’t work until they live with the majority ethnic group, they have their own community which is contrary to the main one. That’s what we should change.
      Remember what I wrote? That they don’t even accept other romas who try to integrate. The attitude can be changed through education and help.

  71. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    “The Roma are Europeans and in most cases they are also EU citizens. They have been living among us for centuries. People forget their influence and contribution in European culture and heritage, like our music for example. In Spain, Greece, Hungary and Romania their music has been adding to these countries’ heritage for centuries now. What would Spain be without a flamenco, a music that the gypsies gave their soul into? ” for more read: http://eblanademocraticmove.blogspot.ie/2013/10/the-issue-of-french-deportation-of-roma.html

    • avatar
      Ericbana

      Yes Christos ,but try telling the old lady who has just had her bag snatched or the family who have just been abused in the street by a group of drunk Roma that it’s ok because they play good Flamenco !

  72. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    The EU should restrict dole, sorry solidarity payments to those countries that have treated the Roma so badly historically eg Bulgaria, Czech, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary etc.

    When said nations demonstrate that they are able to treat their Roma with dignity and respect then the EU should commence SOLICHARITY payments forthwith.

    • avatar
      HT

      I’m Hungarian and it’s weird to read that we treat our Romani population badly. The thing is that if they don’t even attempt to integrate to our society then it’s really hard to do anything. We have had different governments, but non of them could have done anything.
      This is a very big problem and I don’t think we are the ones who were failing to integrate them. France, Canada, Sweden also cannot do anything with them when they travel there. From France they send them home to Bulgaria and Romania. This is their “solution”.
      Just to make it clear; when I’m talking about “them”, then I don’t mean all the Romani population, as there are lots of hard working people – especially great musicians – among them. However there are also lots of them who don’t want to work at all, don’t want to integrate to society.
      Their problem is that they don’t even know what their problem is. Hungarian, Slovakian, Romanian, Bulgarian people have their dream to become a successful doctor, engineer, lawyer, hair dresser, anything. The problem is that some Romani people don’t even have the good dream or good example to see. They learn the wrong behaviour, wrong dreams, wrong viewpoints from their parents. So lot of them want to be the most successful thief or most successful maffia leader. Because this is the example that they see in life.
      So what we can and should do is to change their viewpoints, to make them abitious, to make them want to be integrated to society. Of course this is a very slow process. At least we have to convince the Romani parents to try to educate their children to life a different life style that they had. To have different values in life that they had. This is a very hard and long job.
      So when a Western European (where there are no Roma) judges Eastern Europe because of “treating the Roma badly” then they aren’t better than our far-righters who judge the Roma because of their poverty and bad learnt(!) behaviour.
      And actually we have given our Roma a lot of dole (sorry, solidarity payments) from our taxes, while most of them don’t work, what more some of them steal and are violent.
      And about the money that we get from the EU: all the countries get money from the EU, and all of them pay to the EU. Western Europe has also benefited from expanding the EU, because of its market has been enlarged. So actually the money that Eastern Europe gets from the EU can be considered as the fee for using our market freely.

    • avatar
      Borislav Sotirov

      Oh, so if Bulgaria, Czech, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary etc. treated the Romas so badly – why do we have them is such numbers? And why such rich and humanistic states that teach us, cannot handle the Roma problem themselfs and send them back to us?

      Why we, being poor, economically unstable, progressively aged and constantly depleated of qualified workforce, should have the means and money to do the Roma-integration miracle, that 2 ot 3 times well going states can’t do?

      The weaker must do what is unbearable fo the stronger? What a shamefull hypocrisy!!!

  73. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @HT
    Hmm, one of the reasons why Northern EU nations are beginning to tire of giving SOLICHARITY payments to poorer EU nations is their continual [face-saving] amusing analysis of EU payments.

    A the end of the day, HUNGARY gets more money off the EU than it gives in to the EU – please remember this, indeed it would be nice if Magyars had the politeness to thank the Northern EU nations for their generosity rather than continually and repeatedly refuse to admit receipt of charitable payments from the generally wealthy Northern EU cohort.

    • avatar
      HT

      @Tarquin
      Dear Tarquin! We don’t get charity from Northern EU nations, neither from Western ones. We signed an Accesssion Treaty according to which we get more support from the EU than the richer countries. In comparison Eastern European market is free for western and northern companies which is very profitable for them. The deal was benefiting for both sides. We don’t have to thank anything, especially not the accession. If we had to thank it, then you also should thank us to let your companies to make profit duty freely in Eastern Europe. The EU isn’t a charity union (in this case why isn’t the EU the same nice with Africa?) The EU wants to become a big market, and for this reason it has INTERESTS to invest in poorer Eastern European countries, and this isn’t about “generosity”. (By the way, the reason of this “original” poorness is the previous Soviet occupation).

      By the way, one consequence of our EU accession was a dramatical raise of prices while the salaries have stayed on the same level. So while our prices today in Hungary are 80%-90% that of Western Europe’s prices, the salaries are 3 or 4 (or more) times lower. So while Hungary and other Eastern European countries get high support from the EU, in the same time Western European companies make high profit on us. By this I don’t want to say that EU accession was a wrong idea. What I want to say that in long distance it can be benefitting, however in short distance now Eastern European people see that they pay much more for everything than before the accession, while they have the same constant salary as before 2004. So what I want to say is that EU enlargement of 2004 (and 2007 and 2013) was benefitting for both sides in long term and this issue shouldn’t be approached in so intolerant, ignorant and angry way how you do it here.

      And about the Roma people: We already give them lots of aids from our taxes (and we gave them even before 2004). However changes in their life style cannot be solved by the state in one minute. They should be the ones who want to change (what we can do is just to help them in this process). But some of them do not even want to change; they just want to take the aid for poverty and the aid for having children and that’s it, whatmore lot of them steal and are agressive to people. The thing is that a country cannot feed 8% of its population while they don’t (wanna) work. We have to educate them to work and to live from money that they earn from their own job and not from aids. I support the Roma integration (because it’s the interest of all of us), but it’s really a long process which needs generation changes (first we have to convince Romani parents to send their children to school). What you said before is a so easy and so ignorant opinion about Eastern Europe that:
      “Roma are poor in Eastern Europe -> Consequence: Eastern Europeans treat them badly.”
      No, that’s not true! We are spending lot of our taxes for their aids. And we want to integrate them. E.g. that’s why public work was created here in Hungary; to give job for those who don’t have jobs, let them being Romani, Hungarian or anyone else.

      Please think and inform yourself before spreading your ignorant and intolerant opinion about Hungary and other Eastern European countries!

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @HT
      Dream on – if a nation takes more out of the EU than it gives back to the EU then that equates to CHARITY, eg Hungary.

      BTW, don’t cite EU legislation to me as if I should agree to it – I, like ALL UK citizens have never voted to be a member of the EU and I like many UK citizens want to stop paying CHARITY to countries like yours.

  74. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @Borislav Sotirov
    What hypocracy doth thou spake of?
    Please make sure that the monies the Northern EU nations give to you are proportionately passed onto the poor Roma you despise.

    • avatar
      Borislav

      @Tarquin Farquhar
      Wealthy EU countries want us to integrate Roma people, with our limited possibilities and vast Roma nombers. But these old Eu countries can’t do the same with their much greater possibilities. How the weaker should we do that, if the stronger can’t do it? They are returning them to us with an advice do what they themselves are unable to do. This is hypocrisy, enormous hypocrisy.
      Oh you are giving us some money for them, you better keep these money and spend them to our Romas at yours, where they will be better treated, according your higher standards. This is not a hypocrisy. See the upper posts of Karel Van Isacker, there is the problem well explained. The best will be if EU agrees and gives some grants to them. It will ease a lot the bureaucracy and inefficiency Karel Van Isacker speaks about . They will be glad with that grants, you will pay just the same you have to spend in your well doing countries. Yet it seems nobody can handle the Romas, being а resist or humanist.
      Yes we despise them, and you quickly joined as they came to yours! May be this is the reason they were always despised, even in India.

  75. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    @Borislav
    The Roma have their issues BUT I cannot help but think that the treatment meted out to the Roma in several poor/backward EU countries [like yours perhaps, judging by your comments] has contributed greatly toward the negative behaviour of the poor Roma.

    Some of the countries in question should NOT have been allowed into the EU until they had better integrated the Roma into their states.

    • avatar
      Borislav Sotirov

      @Tarquin Farquhar & Ruth Barnett

      This is the main misunderstanding – about the chicken and the egg. You can’expect somebody to be generous and forgiving forever. There is a moment of tiredness and about the Gipsy(Roma) issue it had passed centuries ago. Anyway, it is unjust treatment – you excuse the behavior of Romas because of attitude of host nations but are unable to understand the opposite? You should note my post above – nevertheless of the better treatment Romas are becoming unbearable problem in several richer/frontface EU states. It looks like the treatment is not an automatic cure of the problem, right? And a same problem but in much heavier size is in the Romas host states. We have much more of the same problem here – many more Romas and far lesser powers to treat them apropriately. If the richer EU states are already overwealmed and loosing their humanic sence by few Romas, why are you expecting the poorer ones be more successful with legions?

      @Tarquin Farquhar, I see you are eurosceptic. This is also a hypocrisy but is a large and another question. But if you are going to have an opinion you confirm some level of responsibility. Giving advices from aside is not a responsibilty. That’s why we say: if you know how – demonstrate. Yet you demonstrated you are just the same meal we are.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      @Borislav Sotirov
      I do not actually want the destruction of the EU per se BUT I do want it to be radically changed to a less Southern influenced EU system [prone to corruption] to a more Northern influenced EU system. Until that happens I will continue to highlight current EU weaknesses ad infinitum.

      FTR, the Roma may have ‘issues’ but surely if you (or your country) treat(s) people badly, then said people (viz. the Roma) may indeed return the favour?

  76. avatar
    Ruth Barnett

    I agree with you Tarquin, the non-Roma communities in most if not all European countries must take some responsibility for their own bad behaviour towards Roma, which has undoubtedly contributed to what then appears to be Roma bad behaviour.
    Ruth

  77. avatar
    AT

    I have recently had time and reason to do some reading about Roma people because of my job. I think it’s interesting that people think nothing has been successful to integrate Roma, because it seems that actually we are still waiting for evaluation of the work that has been done recently. So maybe we could wait for the research before we can dismiss the efforts made. I read a book from Slovenia which was reporting on experiences of people working on the health of Roma people. It included some interviews with Roma people. One woman said she was born in 1951 and visited a doctor for the first time in 1982. She described using plants and roots to treat illness. I can’t imagine living in such poverty. Another interview is with a doctor, who started a clinic for Roma children in 1976. She describes offering vaccinations to the Roma/Gypsies. Because this can only be done with the children aren’t sick, they have to make specific check up appointments. The first woman to bring in her child arrived with the child’s godmother, who had bought special clothes for the child in Austria for the occasion. I can’t imagine how it must be to live a life in which going to get an injection is such a special occasion that someone buys a new outfit. I suppose it’s just very rare that we ever hear the personal point of view of Roma people. I know that it’s very easy to make assumptions and to make judgments, and it’s very easy to fear them, and to believe in stereotypes. But as we wish that Roma people would educate themselves, maybe non-Roma people would benefit from also making an effort to increase their knowledge. We might meet somewhere in the middle.

  78. avatar
    Ruth Barnett

    TK What is your evidence that ‘they’ don’t want to integrate. If you are personally a Romany you can tell me that you don’t want to integrate but that does NOT mean all the others don’t want to integrate. If you are not a Romany you need a little humility to ask them what they actually do want.

  79. avatar
    Milen

    And Bulgarians came from Asia, drinking fermented horse milk, so did the Hungarians, who knows where the Albanians came from, Germans were dirty decentralized Goths, who sacked Rome, the original inhabitants of England were crazy human-sacrificing Celts. It doesn’t matter where you come from, especially when it happened thousands of years ago. Every nation and ethnicity has the potential of greatness. What they need is a helping hand, and fair treatment.

  80. avatar
    George Danieldsg

    Roma must have an minimum income enough for living.Then all will be in the right path.Desperation for survival creates the 99% of problems.

  81. avatar
    Stephane Czajkowski

    What about having helped the European countries where they are living when it was possible instead of having invested in Africa or in Muslim countries? Now, European countries have debts, Europe has her own debts. European ground is exhausted. It has no resources anymore. Many East European women have nothing but the choice to prostitute themselves. Where will Europe get money? Thank you again Europe for that situation!

  82. avatar
    Alex C.

    Speaking of president of Romania, did you know he is the most prolific advocate for the gypsies in Europe?! Because of him they have access to public schools and public support.
    Maybe you should talk to him about it.

  83. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    Indeed, enough money wasted on them. Even people on the field acknowledge the EC funding was a disaster with most money left behind in non-Roma (read NGOs set up by local politicians) pockets or in the pockets of Roma leaders. Time we care about the really needed people in society: homeless, people with disabilities, teenage mums, drug addicts. And I wonder how many of the EC staff subcribing to these funding streams towards Roma have ever visited Roma settlements? Anyone? I can always assist you on a visit to those so-called “Roma projects”. A PURE WASTE of Europe’s taxpayers’ money.

  84. avatar
    Nikolaos Sotirelis

    There should be a pan-european programme to deal with Roma’s poverty, education and health, but which will respect their culture and custom.
    For instance there could be subsidy to the employers who hires Roma and free loan for accommodation, with the precondition that all the family children shall go to school.
    Free access and subsidy for their university education.
    Priority for hire them in Public sector etc.
    Farther more, I’m really ashamed for some comments of this post!

  85. avatar
    Mariana Kremser

    EU …wie viel hat schon Beazahlt fur nix, seit 5 Jahren …Krise…kriese …Griechiland…bla…bla…ungefahr 700 miliarden euro ??? Mit nur 7 miliarden euro hatte schon EU keine Problemm gehabt mit Armut und rroma. Schulle, Arbeitplatze, respekt fur alle Menschen in EU ! Und leider Ich bin sicher die meisten Geld sind schon in Russland und EU auf die Knie !

  86. avatar
    Panos Mentesidis

    you can try but its as useless as trying to lift an elephant with your back..roma will never get integrated. give them some land next to big cities in europe and hope that they wont stink up the place…the alternative is to send them back to pakistan..but that might be a bit racist and xenophobic plus theyve been in europe for a thousand years so we kinda got used to them..and they sell cheap weapons and drugs so tthats something..

  87. avatar
    Braňo Lulek

    they are incompatibile, we cannot integrate them, their popolation is only growing, and they are hungry. Read something about discriminating caucasians at us, then maybe you all will understand my opinion.

  88. avatar
    Bogdan Caramalac

    They want to be themselves. That’s the roma cultural identity – i.e, rejecting any mode of living, socializing and thinking but their own; that’s why all integration attempts fail. It’s just wasted money. Instead, Europe should play tough, demonstrating that it’s not a milking cow for them. Then, they will adapt naturally.

  89. avatar
    Raluca Păsă

    It’s a bit unfair to generalize as I’m sure there are some among the many Rromas who would like to not have that label and just work, live and have the same opportunities as the rest of us citizens. On the other hand, I agree with Bogdan, in that they refuse to blend in and absorb other customs than their own. In Romania, specifically, we have special designated spots at universities and highschools for Rroma people who would want to study and obtain a higher education. The problem is that, I for one didn’t see a huge demand from their side to occupy these places; there’s also the aftermath,when, even if they graduate, they meet additional difficulties and discrimination when trying to integrate on the job market. It’s a sensitive topic, which needs to be tackled locally, definitely not supranationally.

  90. avatar
    Pedro Redondeiro

    THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED BY MODERATORS FOR BREACHING OUR CODE OF CONDUCT. REPLIES MAY ALSO BE REMOVED.

  91. avatar
    Borislav Valkov

    Don’t force anyone. Simply make them choose their own destiny and let them followed it. There are Roma who reject civilized world and live by their own laws- they can live in local reserves; there are Roma who needs social aid to adjust- they need psychological help; there are Roma who needs education- send them in schools; and many more needs that are needed by the Roma society(give them subsidy in creating a Roma business examples for a better life). But the main goal for a integrated society is to make the minority have the same rights and laws that are followed by the majority: so the jobless parents with many children must be thing of the past after the integration is completed or a law offenders that are innocent simply because they are Roma(There was a Roma murderer in my country and he simply said that he killed a pensioner to give the victim’s money for food for his children and that’s fairness thanks to one Roma- defending NGO).

  92. avatar
    Petio Peshov

    Everyone deserve a chance. Give them a chance. Like a normal citizens. If you privilege them that will never ends. Don’t victimized all the Roma, gypsy people etc. When you see a man willing to try is a one thing when you see a man with a chance blowing it just to be assisted is other thing. For information in Bulgaria the education is a right and obligation and it is free before the college and the university but the culture, the unemployment, the illiteracy, the early marriage (11,12 years old girls), the large families (lot of children 5-10 etc) makes their integration very delicate. It is possible to keep but it has to be a mutual process.

  93. avatar
    ironworker

    I’m not a racist nor an ethnocentric. But the real issue here is that this ethnic group opposes integration in a very peculiar way. I don’t know why, scholars have no idea, time itself cannot give a resonable answer, so Good Luck for optimistic and political correct people in trying to integrate them.

  94. avatar
    Beatriz Rios

    I´m new to the romani situation, and I live in America, where there is no romani presence.
    People who have money can probably help the most in this situation or get the romanis to help themselves by raising money to improve their living conditions in all possible ways. They must learn how to organize for that, otherwise they will perpetuate their conditions.
    I can imagine how difficult it is for people of different cultures to find some kind of common ground and integrate, but it can slowly be done. It needs to be done by first creating awareness of the situation in both the romani´s themselves and the citizens of each country. Later, they help one another out in understanding one another better. Then, they organize to raise money, and make proper use of it. That´s where experts can volunteer with their expertise…
    I suppose much of that is already being done, but the more the people understand their situations, the better they can come up with solutions for it.
    The money, property, resource factor always gets in the way of dealing effectively with this… I wish I knew or had a way to solve it once and for good. Life is so complex or is it that those that have the means and the knowledge to do better, just don´t how to solve these problems? I´m guessing it´s very much a part of it…

  95. avatar
    Yvetta

    Education is the key out of poverty and social integration. However, for that to happen bilingual schools would have to be set up, as a lot of Roma people do not speak the official language of the country they live in. And obviously their attendance would have to be closely monitored. Eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Romania cannot afford this right now and this is why the problem will not be resolved soon. In the meantime, the EU is planning to bring more countries in the Union with large Roma populations and this could end up being a social bomb.

  96. avatar
    Eu CuMine

    By help/force them into school and helping in every way those who cannot attend due to poverty.

  97. avatar
    Reno Zed

    Education of curse but even forcing then in that. Roma’s children should be taken away from their families if they refuse to let them go to school until the legal age.

  98. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    you can please return the lands of romanians… these people have been nomads in the south of europe for centuries but the governments has stealed their lands hundreds of times.

  99. avatar
    Pier Dal Ri

    By taking away and reeducating their children to learn to be good citizens, for the older there is no hope, close them in camps and feed them

  100. avatar
    Arrigo Delaria

    it’s enough to consider them normal citizens, stop support them, they must send children at school and wash themselves, all the other eu citizen with a similar behaviour go to jail soon or later, why they have to be different?

  101. avatar
    Karel Van Isacker

    First, money spent on Roma is mostly used by their umbrella organisations (read: stolen) and does not reach the target groups at all. Second, the European organisation for Roma protection released a nice report recently outlining how Roma end up being their own worst enemy. Before spending any more money on them, maybe one should understand how the Roma community functions. The EC officials however that are responsible for the relevant programmes lack the expertise and insight alltogether while representative Roma organisations are mostly nothing more than NGOs set up by local politicians (mostly their wives) to funnel EC money to their pockets, disregarding at all the target groups, while also offering solely one off solutions which are cancelled/abandoned as soon as the project is finished. Kinda ridiculous.

  102. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Central and political powers in the European economic and social plan can create rehabilitation programs for labor market of the most unequal communities of European states less individualism more solidarity opportunities of equality for all European residents will be a first step on the road certain

  103. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    They need education and they should be integrated . Their communities are really bad , they have bosses and they use poor Roma people to get rich . “The organised begging bands from eastern Europe are usually made up of ten to 18 people, working in rotation. Invalids and children are shared out in the different bands.”

    Ott has appealed to the population not to give money to beggars. The authorities say that disabled people and children, who attract more sympathy, are being used by gangs to earn money ? in some cases up to SFr500 ($468) each per day. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/police-target-begging-gang-masterminds/7436806

  104. avatar
    Mladen

    Poverty should be the aim, if we overcome the exclusion, then we automatically will overcome the poverty. Roma people have unique skills and traditions and this must be used. If we can implement this to the tourism it will help a lot. They will do what they do best and in the same time they will get paid for it and will meet different people from different cultures, they will learn on order

  105. avatar
    Toni Muñiz

    WOW alot of racist intolerant xenophobes here, by EU gov fascist standards, as they dont like these sort of comments and want to quiet them. Finally seems as Europeans are waking up. I for one am proud. Do not allow EU and local gov silence freedom of speech by their fascist left wing totalitarian laws.

  106. avatar
    Tomos Saggers

    I am disabled and have struggled to get my benefits sorted after 2 years i now have a court appeal date so please understand where I come from on this issue why should I struggle when a lot of not all but a lot of Roma get a better chance at life than I do financially. Roma children aren’t to blame but Roma adults are in my community I have never seen so many child marriages benefit fraud and negative social consequences than since the Roma community arrived. My health has suffered waiting for my benefits to be sorted and yet on my street there are about 5 Roma families whom relularly attend the job centre,sell scrap metal and also drive brand new mercedes clk and BMW m3 cars I have a problem with ROMA customs and attitudes not the children. It’s to easily made easy to have a problem with the Roma society because of the issues the Roma society carries Roma women and children need to be seperated from Roma men and given a chance to not be coerced willingly or unwillingly in continuing this culture. It’s the 21st century we shouldn’t except any religion or culture that perpetuates female segregation,criminality,incest and a refusal to integrate be that Roma,christian Muslim female segregation(akin to early racist segregation of the Irish and black people

  107. avatar
    Brian

    Couldn’t help but be amazed at the different comments. Im in South Africa doing some research on the ‘xenophobic’ attacks taking place in this country so i thought i would research other ‘xenophobic’ occurrences around the world. Couldn’t help but note that some of the comments on the Gypsies (Roma) have a lot of resemblance on how the South African apartheid white community viewed the ‘black’ community. I guess when you feel you have no right to socio-economic inclusion crime will be one of the few means to survival. It was almost a noble thing to steal from a white person in apartheid South Africa, because in some way it justified the misery that people went through. i don’t think that there are people who don’t want to be loved and to love back. That is just human nature that transcends culture and such. it is more natural for a person to integrate than to separate; such is as common as the nature in which we all as human beings catch a cold. What normally drives people away from common human nature is a certain dis-ease within society. Many white people in South Africa viewed ‘black’ people as sub human, as if they lacked the human nature which is common to all human beings. Such hostile behaviour drove a lot of otherwise good ‘black’ people to resort to crime, and hatred so deep that they couldnt look at a white person without wanting to kill him. But gradual has been the realisation that we are all humans, and that, “if you prick me, do i not bleed?”. Maybe such should be the question in relation to the gypsies (Roma) people that if, “you prick them, do they not bleed?” ….. because if they do, you can rest assured that what you value, they value, and what you don’t value they don’t. But maybe they have been on the outskirts so much that they actually believe that if you prick them they will not bleed, and the rest of the people having taken the defence mechanism as reality, have come to believe that if you prick the Gypsy, s/he will not bleed.

  108. avatar
    Lumijakhere Rroma

    Dear debaters,

    My name is Elez Bislim from Macedonia but currently im living at Brazil-Sao Paulo also as my self im Rroma person also im researching thiss problems many year
    But Im so happy that is opened this issues about the Rromani people and how they are so discriminated around the EU and more.Its try the we are the lowest class in EU in everything .

    But we have to know that before we say something bad you need to know something is try or no.

    thiss is my web side http://www.worldrroma.org we can debate lot of this issues im viling to discus

  109. avatar
    Aman

    I do feel very sorry for each and everyone one you who has left your comments an thoughts on here . The reason is simple none of you are a Roma therefor none of you really knows what you are talking about is a shame that you all can say some really horrible things about us , we do want to be a part of the society the society don’t let us because you all think you know us and have hatred for us we have no chance . We have no leaders to stand up for us we have no government to fight for our rights and that what the entire word take advantage of our weakness and that shows how evil the humans really are to bully weak people the media can write what they want about Romanys and don’t have to give answer to anyone they wouldent dare write about any other ethnicity as then there it would be riots . I feel sorry for anyone who never took their time to get to know a Romany to learn our culture to enjoy our music to have a friend who would never ever let them down to see how hard some of us work and only can work on basis of not saying to our employer we are Roma and to experience how we get praised and awarded for our loyalty at work but what a shame that we are afraid to say what we are so we can keep our job and support our family’s . Roma people is far from dirty , however if you have no toilet and are denied a puplic toilet because you just maybe still the toilet brush what can you do ?????

    • avatar
      Filip Anton

      Roma situation is a complicated one. The idealist views Ruth Barnett where we are all equal and human beings and thus we all deserve equality and fair European treatment forgets Roma don’t wanna be European. The emotional views of Aman you should all be ashamed of yourselves for how you treat them forgets that you need reason and brains not emotions to solve problems. The realistic views Boris Valkov who lives in Bulgaria who is correct but fed up to the point where he would rather not do anything. The truth is Roma don’t wanna be European. They don’t wanna be citizens of any country. They wanna be free men with no responsibilities or taxes. No matter how much money Europe throws their way they will simply use it to buy more drugs and guns and do all that stuff they love . What you need is some kind of educational programme to convince them paying taxes , not lying, not cheating and being a citizen is a good thing. I’d doubt you can ever convince them because Roma wanna be free people without any responsibilities or attachments to any law. True freedom that means not bound to any law except their own. So if you really wanna help out you need to live among them and make them grow up with your values. They are very quick to learn and very hard working. All these idealists and emotionalists need to move to Bulgaria and Romania and live with the Roma people and teach the communities how to behave properly. They cannot teach themselves that. They are really open to people living among them and taking charge of their communities. So if you REALLY wanna help instead of typing here find a poor gypsy village and live among them and teach them what’s right and wrong. Is the ONLY way.

  110. avatar
    Ruth Barnett

    Dear Filip Anton – what is your evidence on which you base your sweeping statement “Roma don’t wanna be European”? Ho many Roma have you got to know and have had discussions with? What makes you think they need education from you? Perhaps it is you that needs to learn more about Roma and their cultural achievements. I know Roma/travellers who do pay taxes and some who would willing pay taxes if they were provided with the facilities that the taxes pay for – but so often they have no access to these. Perhaps if more people behaved decently towards Roma they would experience more acceptable behavior from the Roma?
    Best wishes
    Ruth Barnett

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