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'It's a vicious cycle': One in three Roma people in EU states are victims of harassment

The report also found that 80% of Roma people living in the EU are at risk of poverty.

Image: Britta Pedersen via PA Images

THE ROMA COMMUNITY in the European Union face the basic challenges of poor sanitation, hunger and youth unemployment on a daily basis, according to a new report.

The report, published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), said the findings underline the persistent inequalities that have long plagued Europe’s Roma community in many counties.

It found that anti-gypsyism remains high with one out of three Roma people being victims of harassment.

The report said that EU Member States need to recognise and monitor anti-Gypsyism and take effective measures to combat such hate crime and hate speech.

80% of Roma people are at risk of poverty, compared with an EU average of 17%. A total of 30% of them live in households with no tap water.

Such conditions undermine progress in education, health or employment, according to the report.

It said that greater efforts need to be made on reducing poverty, including the eliminating segregated housing, better access to public utilities as well as providing more social housing.

Education and youth unemployment

In relation to education, the report found that this area has improved in some Members States.

Over 50% of young Roma children attend early childhood education. The report said that this is often much less than non-Roma children their age.

“Member States should provide access to high-quality education, learning support to compensate for the poor living conditions of many Roma pupils, as well as targeted support at every stage of their education,” the report said.

The report also highlighted that the proportion of young Roma people aged 16 to 24 years, particularly women, who are not in education, employment or training remains high in comparison to the corresponding rates for the majority population.

It said that Member States need to boost employment, particularly for young Roma people, through on-the-job training, traineeships and apprenticeships, for example.

Roma people should also receive targeted support to help them set up their own business, the report said.

Commenting on the report, FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty said: “Anti-gypsyism, from discrimination to hate crime, fuels the vicious cycle of Roma exclusion. It leaves them as societal outcasts and treated in a stereotypical manner that is intolerable.

“We need to break this vicious cycle. So why not start with the obvious – ensuring that each and every Roma enjoys the same opportunities as other EU citizens?”

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