Wednesday

12th May 2021

EU failing on Roma rights

  • Roma children face a daunting future in Europe (Photo: Council of Europe)

EU and member states are failing to help Roma communities, with some 80 percent still facing the risk of poverty.

A report on Tuesday (29 November) by the Vienna-based Agency for Fundamental Rights reveals one in three live in households with no tap water, while one in ten has no electricity.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The figures reveal the failure of repeated integration goals, from the EU commission in 2011 and EU states in 2013.

Agency director Michael O’Flaherty, in a statement, described the deprivation and discrimination against the Roma as a "grave failure of law and policy in the EU and its member states."

"Our manifest inability in Europe to honour the human rights of our Roma communities is unacceptable," he said.

The report surveyed some 25,000 people across all EU states. Of those, almost 8,000 were Roma, Europe's largest minority group.

The face-to-face interviews reveal national and EU-led efforts to increase employment, education, housing and healthcare have a long way to go.

Almost the entire Roma population in Spain, 98 percent, have an income below the national poverty threshold, followed by Greece at 96 percent and Croatia with 93 percent.

And at least a quarter of those interviewed said someone in their household had gone to bed hungry in the past month.

The report notes that the 2013 EU goal to reduce poverty through social investment "is far from being reached".

2013 commission guidelines to address Roma child poverty and social exclusion have also failed to achieve results.

Few Roma children attend pre-school or kindergarten in Greece and Slovakia. Those between 7 to 15 also have restricted access to education, when compared to non-Roma and just under half of those between 15 to 18 don't attend any school at all.

Most Roma in Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria find themselves in segregated schools, despite laws which make it illegal.

One in ten Roma children living in Greece and Romania are working instead of going to school.

The report notes that the vast majority of Roma still have no idea about state structures set up to help them deal with discrimination.

Yet the results are still marginally better when compared to a similar survey carried out in 2012 by the agency in 11 EU states, which revealed that 90 percent of those interviewed were at risk of poverty.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

News in Brief

  1. Israeli rockets kill 20 people in Gaza retaliation
  2. No more EU expulsions likely over Russia bomb attacks
  3. EU ready to ignore Hungary veto on Hong Kong
  4. Borrell admits EU neglect of Western Balkans
  5. Macron accused of 'cowardice and deceit' in military letter
  6. EU citizens in UK applying for settled status face legal limbo
  7. Netherlands gives €2bn to offshore carbon storage project
  8. Germany will allow Johnson & Johnson vaccine for all ages

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Russia penetrated Merkel's 'inner circle', Khodorkovsky says
  2. First recovery euros could be paid out in July
  3. Commission wants help for Italy after weekend's migrant arrivals
  4. Mercosur trade deal will fuel 'poison pesticides' back into EU
  5. Can new Iran talks avoid mistakes of the original JCPOA?
  6. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  7. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  8. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us