European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights: 80% of Roma are at risk of poverty, new survey finds

Widespread deprivation is destroying Roma lives. Families are living excluded from society in shocking conditions, while children with little education face bleak prospects for the future, a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. The report analyses the gaps in Roma inclusion around the EU to guide Member States seeking to improve their integration policies.

“Our manifest inability in Europe to honour the human rights of our Roma communities is unacceptable. The levels of deprivation, marginalisation, and discrimination of Europe’s largest minority is a grave failure of law and policy in the EU and its Member States,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “The publication of these findings provides an opportunity to galvanise policy makers into action and focus resources on redressing this intolerable situation.”

The ‘Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II): Roma – selected findings‘ report shows that:

  • 80% of Roma interviewed are at risk of poverty compared with an EU average of 17%. 30% live in households with no tap water and 46% have no indoor toilet, shower or bathroom.
  • 30% of Roma children live in households where someone went to bed hungry at least once in the previous month.
  • 53% of young Roma children attend early childhood education, often less than half the proportion of children their age from the general population in the same country.
  • Only 30% of the Roma surveyed are in paid work, compared with the average EU employment rate for 2015 of 70%.
  • 41% of Roma feel they have been discriminated against over the past 5 years in everyday situations such as looking for work, at work, housing, health and education.
  • 82% of Roma are unaware of organisations offering support to victims of discrimination.

The survey findings indicate that despite Member States’ efforts, they are still falling short of most of their integration targets, a key element of the EU’s 2011 National Roma Integration Strategies Framework. The results underline the need for:

  • Early childhood learning support and integrated schooling.
  • Better employment opportunities and greater social protection to eradicate poverty.
  • Targeted education and training to specifically help Roma youths and Roma women in their transition from primary to secondary education, and thereafter find work.

The report is based on a survey that collected information in nine EU Member States, derived from nearly 8,000 face-to-face interviews with Roma. It is part of the Agency’s Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II), which collected data on immigrants and ethnic minorities’ discrimination and victimisation experiences and income and living conditions in all 28 EU Member States.

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