Who benefits from National Roma Integration Strategies?

by Yaron Matras

The EU began to take an interest in Roma when Western countries felt threatened by Roma migrations. The century-old fear of an influx of Gypsies became packaged as a concern for their human rights. Now we have an EU mechanism of sorts and an ideology to go with it: Alongside a manifesto on preventing discrimination and facilitating employment, housing, and education, the EU Council recommendation from December 2013 calls attention to Roma as a threat to others — by asking for transnational coordination to control Roma migration; and to themselves — by foregrounding issues of child trafficking, safeguarding and forced marriage. Reminiscent of Emperor Joseph II’s edict on the Regulation of the Gypsies from 1782, the EU wants Roma to be productive citizens, but it also wants to continue to contain their movements and to pathologise their culture. Continue reading