The European Commission must increase its fight against Anti-Gypsyism


On the occasion of the International Romani Day on 8 April, Eurodiaconia calls on the European Commission to make the fight against Anti-Gypsyism a priority within its EU Framework on National Roma Integration Strategies.

The current sociopolitical climate of rising nationalism and xenophobia provides fertile ground for Anti-Gypsyism to develop and spread. The term ‘Anti-Gypsyism’ refers to a specific form of racism against Roma and Sinti, which enjoys a relatively high degree of social acceptance. Anti-Gypsyism has an adverse effect on the image of Roma in public discourse, it prevents equal opportunities in society, and it undermines the political willingness of decision-makers to take positive action.

In light of the prejudice and violence Roma people continue to face, Eurodiaconia, in partnership with its members, has developed Guidelines to outline concrete approaches to tackling discrimination and to set out key aspects of a strategy against Anti-Gypsyism. However, efforts by civil society actors should go hand in hand with effective institutional action.

The EU Framework on National Roma Integration Strategies, launched by the European Commission in 2011, represents an important step forward in promoting Roma inclusion at the national level. The Framework encourages policy reform in the interlinked fields of housing, health, education and employment; however, Eurodiaconia regrets that the Framework lacks an explicit focus on tackling Anti-Gypsyism. In light of the ongoing Midterm Review of the EU Framework, Eurodiaconia calls on the European Commission to make the fight against Anti-Gypsyism a key pillar for future action by mainstreaming it across the EU and by keeping the issue high on the agenda in bilateral dialogues with National Roma Contact Points.

Heather Roy, Secretary General of Eurodiaconia, commented that ‘civil society actors have a significant role to play in safeguarding equal opportunities for Roma people. However, these efforts need to be complemented by a strengthened institutional commitment to combatting Anti-Gypsyism. Expanding the scope of the EU Framework on National Roma Integration Strategies would be an important foundation for ensuring meaningful and sustainable Roma inclusion.’

Eurodiaconia is a dynamic, Europe-wide community of social and health care organisations founded in the Christian faith and working in the tradition of diaconia. It represents more than 40 members working in over 30 countries, including churches, not-for-profit welfare organisations and NGOs. Together, our members provide services to hundreds of thousands of persons in need across Europe.