Counter Anti-Gypsyism

Not surprisingly, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency last year concluded once again that the Roma are the most discriminated against group in the EU: Every second Roma respondent said that they were discriminated against on the basis of their ethnicity at least once in the previous 12 months.”

Anti-Gypsyism most evidently reveals itself in violent acts, hate speech, or racist discourse. But beneath that most visible layer of anti-Romani sentiment, lie deeper, often invisible or even unconscious, discriminatory attitudes. Even if authorities acknowledge the socio-economic situation of Roma as a problematic issue, they are often denied their full rights as equal citizens, excluded from an active role in policy design and implementation, and approached in a patronizing manner. Such ‘applied anti-Gypsyism’ is the background to the unequal treatment of Roma – on the labour market, or in the provision of social services such as housing, healthcare and education.

In 2006, Valeriu Nicolae elaborated the paper "Towards a definition of Anti-Gypsyism".

The European Union must not only speak out against flagrant forms of discrimination and use all legal means to prosecute overt anti-Gypsyism, it also needs to take the hidden but structural patterns of discrimination into account in policy design and implementation, because the anti-Gypsyism-factor compounds other factors inhibiting effective Roma inclusion policies. In particular at local level, additional efforts are needed to overcome the negative effects of applied anti-Gypsyism.

 The EU could also make an active contribution by supporting awareness-raising initiatives with an explicit anti-Gypsyism component, to complement the implementation of the Equality Directives and the Framework Decision of Racism and Xenophobia, analogous to the 2001-2006 Community Action Plan against Discrimination. 


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