With 10-12 million Roma living on the continent they are the Roma are the largest minority in Europe. In difference to other people, they do not have a home country and are very diverse with multiple subgroups. Most Roma communities are living in Eastern Europe and are often judged as Europeans biggest social problem.
Among the Roma there are more people poor than among any other ethnic group in Europe. Roma often experience problems in accessing rights and services in many areas of life. There are many Roma that are not just facing relative but also absolute and extreme poverty. In some cases Roma poverty rates are 10 times higher than of the non-Roma population. (1)
Recently the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) conducted a survey in around 84.000 households (Roma and Non-Roma) across Europe.
This survey confirms that the situation of the Roma is still characterized as prevailing discrimination and social exclusion while living in marginalized and extremely poor socio-economic conditions. For instance, the survey shows that only 15% of young Roma adults surveyed upper-secondary general or vocational education in comparison to 70% of the majority population living close by. According to the survey, less than 30% of Roma are in paid employment and on average about 90% of the Roma live in households with an equivalised income below national poverty lines. (2)
Reducing the gap between Roma and non-Roma, strategies and policies need to be developed and implemented more effectively. Policymakers on European, national, regional and local level should take into account strategies that pay greater attention to school participation as well as school completion, social inclusion, improvement of skills and education of Roma jobseekers and an overall implementation of policies to stop the inheritance of poverty from generation to generation. With the ever-growing emphasis on formal skills in today’s society the gap between those who come from educationally rich and educationally poor backgrounds will increase.
Unfortunately there are currently not really strong and proportionate measures in place to manage the deep-rooted problems regarding the majority of EU’s Roma population.