The Missing Piece: Empowerment of Roma Grassroots Organisations in EU Roma Integration Policies

10 / 2014
Serena D’Agostino

The fourth edition of Roma Pride has brought Roma civic activism back in the spotlight. This Roma-rights mobilization, taking place every October in several European cities, has emphasized the centrality of an active civil society in pursuing a successful integration of the Roma in Europe. The ‘Award for Roma Integration’ and the ‘Civil Society Prize 2014’ conferred last October by the European Union (EU) to Roma and pro-Roma Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have confirmed this approach. Nonetheless, a general discontent towards the EU Roma Integration Policies exists within the Roma Civil Society, who calls for stronger support to and the promotion of “Roma- led change”. This Policy Brief investigates the reasons behind such discontent and identifies the ‘distance’ from Roma communities as the Achilles heel of EU policies. It argues for further efforts by the EU to empower Roma organisations operating at the grassroots through community capacity building, structured dialogue and simplification of the funding mechanisms.

About the author

Serena D’Agostino is a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for European Studies and the Department of Political Science of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is part of the joint research programme “Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe” (EDGE) and affiliated to the IES cluster “Migration, Diversity and Justice”. Her research interests focus on EU policies for Roma integration, minority rights, equality & non-discrimination.