Anti-Gypsyism is increasingly recognised as a key obstacle to the sustainable inclusion of Roma in society. Its historical roots run deep and continue to divide the largest ethnic minority in Europe from non-Roma citizens. Whilst important initiatives have been taken at EU level to address the issue, Roma continue to experience discrimination, segregation and violence. Anti-Gypsyism has an adverse effect on the image of Roma in public discourse, it prevents equal opportunities in education and on the labour market, it obstructs Roma communities’ hope for change, and it undermines the political willingness of decision-makers to (openly) take positive action.

Many Eurodiaconia members work with Roma. Since 2009, they have been regularly exchanging experiences and project methods, and contributed to EU advocacy on Roma inclusion, in the context of Eurodiaconia’s Roma Network. However, up until recently, no specific emphasis had been placed on exploring the role which diaconia could play in tackling Anti-Gypsyism. This changed in 2016, when Eurodiaconia dedicated its annual Network Meeting on Roma Inclusion, hosted by the Church of Sweden in Uppsala on 6-7 October, to the topic of Anti-Gypsyism. The aim was to explore which role diaconal actors could play in addressing the problem as churches and service providers, and to identify key venues for concrete action. On the basis of presentations and group discussions, Eurodiaconia members developed Guidelines on tackling Anti-Gypsyism.

The publication outlines key aspects of a diaconal strategy against Anti-Gypsyism. It combines insights from members operating in different national contexts, cooperating with different partners and focusing on different thematic areas. As such, the Guidelines are not intended to set out a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, they aim to illustrate the broad range of potential actions which can be undertaken in general; in practice, individual organisations and churches can select actions which best align with their own profile and expertise. Each thematic section of the Guidelines describes concrete initiatives suggested by members, and is accompanied by a concrete and up-to-date project example from Eurodiaconia’s membership.

The Guidelines are intended to be a flexible resource, which can be updated in accordance with new project ideas. We would also warmly like to encourage our members to translate these Guidelines into their respective national languages for further dissemination.

Should you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact Stephan Burger, policy officer in charge of Roma inclusion with Eurodiaconia, at

To learn more on which role diaconal actors play in addressing Anti-Gypsyism, check out our guidelines in English or Swedish.