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The Roma: a Minority in Europe

Roni Stauber
Raphael Vago

Central European Roma Policy: National Minority Elites, National States and the EU

Pál Tamás

Texte intégral


1There is no clear-cut answer to the question as to whether the self-image or ethnic identity of a national minority determines its readiness for social or national mobilization, or vice versa, whether political mobilization is a prerequisite for the development of identity. It seems, in fact, that identity emerges as a consequence of the experience of some form of common history. In many cases, this can mean the myth of common resistance. Nor can it be decided for sure whether discrimination strengthens or weakens a sense of unity, or the need to demonstrate it. In some cases, in some situations and according to some concepts, discrimination indeed reinforces unity. Many believe that without anti-Semitism, Jewish identity would not exist. Or, if it did exist, it would be quite different. Thus, we do not really know what Romani identity would be like had its bearers not experienced various types of recurring discrimination.

2Until recently the overwhelming majority of Roma could not really integrate without a certain degree of assimilation at least at some stage of their life. Thus, like other marginal Central European religious or ethnic groups they were ready to accept their labels of identity, usually developed by the outside world, for the following three reasons:

  • rejected and discriminated against by the majority, they had no other option;
  • they adhered to an ideology in which some form of communitybuilding effort played a role;
  • if they were members of an elite group, they might gain direct benefit from an ideology of identity building and from identity policies generated from above, or from the majority environment

3When differences by country are taken into consideration, three comprehensive phases can be distinguished in Central European Roma policy of the 1990s and in the concomitant Roma movements:

  • The era of the struggle for human rights: The early 1990s—the years of regime change, a definition of Roma political rights, and the extension or reinforcement of human rights to each and every citizen of Central European societies, including potential Roma elites − seemed to be an acceptable starting point. It became apparent, however, that prejudice against the Romani population did not disappear with the creation of a constitutional state, and that discrimination in education, employment, health and other areas was so entrenched that merely using human rights tools alone was insufficient. In those years some forms of political alliance still existed, especially in Hungary and the Czech Republic, between the majority parties, which took over the regimes and adopted an activist position on the Roma question, and the Roma civil rights elite. Thus, the first democratic Czechoslovak federal government had almost a dozen Roma members. In the period 1990−94 the founders of SZETA (a Budapest-based anti-poverty, human rights dissident group), which as early as the 1980s had demanded a more balanced Roma policy, were present in the Hungarian parliament, too, primarily in the SZDSZ parliamentary faction. However, the majority alliance soon declined or lost power, and the champions of a basic Roma civil rights program were marginalized. Nearly all Czech and Slovak Roma MPs elected after 1989 to their national assemblies were squeezed out of their respective parliaments in the early 1990s. There was no Hungarian representation in the parliaments in those years.
  • Reduction of economic-institutional discrimination. From the mid- 1990s the focus shifted to human rights programs, which presented fresh options for the possible treatment and elimination of discrimination. The governmental and civic actors developing those programs were aware that the Roma had been trapped in such an intricate web of disadvantages that they could only be released through the amendment of their constitutional rights or by offering them various forms of national minority organization. Consequently, willy-nilly, they had to re-examine certain social policy packages, whose forerunners Central European administrations had been attempting to adopt—although from different starting points—prior to 1989. Naturally, the element of ethnic policy was more dominant now than it had been in previous socialist regimes. But the fact remained that various social and educational packages were revived. Still, a powerful anti-discriminatory policy especially targeting situations affecting the Roma was lacking.1
  • The beginnings of self-organization of the ethnic elite: Although the socio-economic decline of the first years of regime changes was halted by the second half of the 1990s, the situation of large masses of the Romani population could only be stabilized close to the social bottom. The Romani masses profited little from the beginnings of upward mobility in certain groups. Privatization, which resumed from the 1990s, admitted onto the social ladder primarily lower middle class Romani groups that cooperated with the majority population. It was inherent in the process that the differences within Romani society were growing at a much faster rate than that observed in the majority population. Consequently, the first attempts at selforganiza- tion of the ethnic elite, the upgrading of debates about Romani identity and, albeit at varying speeds and in different forms in each country, adding political content to the Romani side as well—will be among the international impacts discussed below.
  • 2 Yasemin Soysal, “Changing Citizenship in Europe,” in D. Cesarini and M. Fulbrook (eds.), Citizensh (...)
  • 3 Gabor Kertesi, Megalazottak és megszomotitottak (Budapest, 1998); Agnes Diosi, Kívül, vagy belül? (...)

4This essay will focus on the concepts of political mobilization and counter-mobilization and their impact on shaping the ethnic identity of the Roma in Central Europe, beginning in the late 1980s/early 1990s.2 Although elements of human rights programs had not yet been implemented and the majority of Roma in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary were experiencing frequent economic discrimination, many among the Romani elites were clearly embarking on ‘ethnic awakening’ and, with varying success, had also begun to develop means of ethnic mobilization. Here, differences between countries became significant: the Romani elite in the Czech Republic, for instance, appeared to be the most combative (perhaps in response to the severe prejudice they suffered and as a result of their greater segregation and isolation in the region), while political and public associations of the Hungarian Roma enjoyed the most cooperation with the majority population and with the government.3


  • 4 Nicolae Gheorghe and Andrzej Mirga, The Roma in the 21st Century: A Policy Paper (Princeton, 1998)
  • 5 Grattan Puxon, “The Romani Movement: Rebirth and the First World Romani Congress,” in Thomas Acton (...)
  • 6 Zdenek Uherek, “Roma in the Council of Europe,” in B. Müller (ed.), The Council of Europe after En (...)

5The sociological-anthropological literature on Romani ethnic mobilization includes diverse positions on this process. According to Gheorge and Mirga, the Roma are changing from a social group into an ethnically mobilized community holding common interests.4 Puxon believes that mobility was merely a response to (physical) anti-Roma violence which was marked in many places, especially in the early years of the regime changes.5 An entire generation of young Roma was suddenly forced to react to the discrimination launched by the majority in a manner not experienced since the establishment of the communist regimes, and to re-define themselves, since they often felt themselves partially excluded from the new national communities (primarily in the Czech Republic). Spontaneous and violent actions against the Roma had occurred sporadically in the region in the past thirty years. However, this aggression should not be viewed as unexpected after a prolonged period of ethnic peace. Besides programs and political ideologies, manifestations of prejudice, believed non-existent since 1945−46, were to appear in those years in several areas of life. Although open confrontation had been rare, the majority populations of the state socialist years accepted the ideological status quo (which meant imposing Roma programs from the top down), but did not integrate Roma into many other areas of everyday social life.6

  • 7 Peter Vermeersch, “Minority Policy in Central Europe: Exploring the Impact of the EU’s Enlargement (...)
  • 8 In June 1990 five Roma on the OF list of the new anti-communist bloc were elected to the Czech Nat (...)

6Why were the Roma singled out for such hostile ethnic attacks? Vermeersch claims that the first Romani mobilization wave can be explained both by the weakening of the state and by a vacuum in public administration, as well as by the pro-Roma demonstrations of the new democratic, post-dissident organizations.7 This was true to some extent for Czechoslovakia in those years, but not for Hungary where, in an ethnically more homogenous society, ethnic mobilization in the form of minority-majority confrontation was not on the agenda from the outset and where the national state, liberated from Soviet influences, was not weakened as in Czechoslovakia before the collapse of the federal state. Other analyses suggest that international human rights and democracy- building organizations that appeared in the new democracies of the region may have played an important role in organizing the social programs of the transition in the early 1990s. Human Rights Watch and the Ford Foundation appeared in those years in Central Europe and the Soros network expanded its scope of operation. In many respects, the style of politics and the structure of inter-group power relations in emerging Roma elites were developed under their influence and these relationships survived periods of weakening or even the partial disappearance of organizational frameworks of Roma politics from this milieu in the 1990s. Both well-structured human rights arguments and ethnically defined social policies emerged at that time. In the 1990s Czech and Slovak Roma made serious efforts to set up their own parties, but these organizations did not grow into decisive forces anywhere.8 The self-government (local independence in decision making) solutions of the Hungarian ethnic minority formally excluded or curbed the process of party organization, although various camps did emerge.

  • 9 Peter Vermeersch, “Roma Identity and Ethnic Mobilization in Central European Politics,” ECPR joint (...)
  • 10 Jana Plichtova, “Czechoslovakia as a Multicultural State in the Context of the Region,” in: Minori (...)

7The appearance of the term ‘Roma’ in Central European political language after the regime changes is an important element of the new self-definition. This collective noun first appeared in the terminology of West European (Gypsy) interest organizations at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s. In 1971, activists of several countries created the World Roma Congress (WRC), which subsequently inspired the creation of organizations such as the IRU (International Roma Union) and the RNC (Roma National Congress). Articles published as early as the 1970s held that the many negative attributes associated with the word ‘Gypsy’ in the majority language meant it would be simpler to substitute the term ‘Roma.’9 By the 1990s the new political label had not yet fully replaced the term ‘Gypsy’ in political language. Hungary adopted it least; even the Minority Local Government established by the Hungarian authorities used the appellation ‘Gypsy’ in 1993. However, the term ‘Roma’ contributed to the re-arrangement of the ethno-political language and also perhaps to the ethno-genesis and consolidation of a political ethos. It should be noted that only some Central European Gypsies were actually ready to accept becoming part of a unified Roma political community. The liberal Hungarian public and social researchers are almost unanimous in attributing this partial rejection of the ‘ethnic way of thinking’ to the discriminative environment and to the survival of the former state pattern of assimilation. Others hold that it follows from the pre-modern nature of the Roma who cannot define themselves in ethnic-national frameworks derived from modern concepts.10 Still other theorists insist that many of the uncertainties about formulating concepts of belonging to a community are rooted in administrative ineptitude. In any event, for the Romani elite and Romani activists, participation in collective actions, protests and in the struggle against discrimination has had a consolidating effect and has helped to build an ethnic community. The boundaries and networks so important to ethnic definition may well emerge in just such situations and in various places.

8The Central European Romani organizations of the 1990s, however, were not mass movements. They could move any sizeable Romani mass at best for protest movements connected with concrete locations and events and for a short time. Consequently, the question was how the ethnic elite could convey the experiences of a new movement and the positive sentiments of unity to others— the Romani masses whose experience of their Romani identity consisted exclusively of negative events rooted primarily in local conflicts and suffering due to various forms of exclusion. Consequently, the Romani experiences of the ethnic elite and of the Romani masses may differ fundamentally, at least in respect to a ‘national’ or ethnic way of thinking.

9The images conveyed by the media further complicate the situation. The choreography of modern majority-minority conflicts is much influenced by the way these clashes are portrayed there. The Central European media of the 1990s conveyed an important message—insofar as it reached them—to Romani groups which, out of necessity, had experienced the limitations of life’s opportunities almost exclusively through what went on around them. In fact, through the tone and presentation of the Romani conflicts they learnt that there were forces in the majority society that opposed discrimination and were trying to persuade the state to take serious action against it. Thus, between a seemingly pro-discrimination local administration and the opponents of discrimination in public life, the Roma may have had some room for maneuver. One should not paint an idealistic picture of the Central European media, but for the most part, it reported fairly in the 1990s and adopted some degree of political correctness in the presentation of minority affairs, a situation that is now the norm.

10Formulation of the majority media image of the Roma has become the focus of majority enlightenment campaigns as well as of international human rights organizations. In addition to this struggle in the public arena, in Hungary this picture has been supplemented by partial modernization of the traditional Romani entertainer image. The stereotypes of the Gipsy entertainer, as an organic part of the local village community, such as that held by the Hungarians, never existed among the Czech and Slovak publics. While the market for ‘Gypsy musician’ communities is shrinking and the one-time Romani elite belonging to those communities is diminishing, the Romani heroes of highly popular soap operas of commercial television stations serve to eliminate prejudices—although perhaps not enough to influence the majority population. However, success in widely publicized local conflicts, with the support of human rights activists from outside, against discrimination in services or in schools, certainly adds to the growing self-esteem of the local Romani population.

11In the mid-1990s, a new politically charged and internationalized manner of rhetoric emerged in various forms in the region. The Czech Romani discourse was the first to become imbued not only with ethnic, but with national ideology, too. In the 1990s only a minority of the Slovak and Hungarian minority elites adopted this new language. Integration emerged not as a personal decision synchronizing individuals and the majority represented by the state but as a deal between communities and representatives of political and economic power. Since Central Europe did not have mass immigration during this period, no integration debate measurable by West European standards existed there. But in the ongoing discussion about integration and adaptation strategies of marginal groups many actors on the majority side used immigrant integration policy arguments, substituting the local Romani population for the almost non-existent immigrants.

  • 11 E.g., I. Hancock, “The Struggle for the Control of Identity,” Transitions 4. (1997), pp. 35–44.

12As a result, although legal regulations in the region stipulated equal treatment for all minorities, the dominant trend in the public discourse was to treat the Roma somewhere between ‘minority’ and ‘immigrant’ issues, in Hungary, closer to the former and in Czechoslovakia, to the latter. Only in the second half of the 1990s were there specialized social and educational programs for the Roma. The concept of a ‘non-territorial European people’ began to appear among groups of Roma elite actively concerned with identity matters, although the notion never really became popular in Central Europe, except among the Czech Romani elite. International networks of Romani activists discovered and actively shaped this image for themselves relatively early. In fact, this concept is well represented in the articles of US-based Romani linguist Ian Hancock. According to him, it is, or could be, some sort of national liberation movement.11

13However, since in contrast to the archetypes of such movements, national liberation would not really make sense in the Romani context (who would be the foreign oppressors and what political unit would be established if the movement were successful?), even a symbolic ‘external homeland’ has become important. Stressing ‘common Indian roots’ may serve this purpose, and transnational aspirations using ‘Europe’ as a symbolic reference are also used to this end.

  • 12 See Soysal, “Changing Citizenship in Europe,” pp. 17–29.

14The activities that led to the first Roma documents of the Council of Europe and the OSCE tried the ‘transnational’ option of a symbolic external homeland in the middle of the 1990s. These first specialized European Romani programs used human rights language as a kind of international moral standard and gradually reached a transnational community approach, which could be called ‘post-national citizenship.’12 In the eyes of some groups this special status of the Roma seems to have been reinforced by Decision No. 1203 of the Council of Europe, which refers to Roma as ‘a true European minority’.

  • 13 On Council of Europe policies, see MG-S-ROM 2000 [17], “Activities of the Council of Europe concer (...)

15In contrast to this approach, or rather paradoxically mixed with it, is a debate in many places about authenticity, namely: Who is a true Roma? And consequently, who is authorized to represent the Roma vis-à-vis the outside world? Would it be the new Romani ‘national intelligentsia,’ which has emerged as a partner in international philanthropy and human rights activism? Or, are the ‘authentic leaders’ those that live and suffer together with the oppressed masses? For example, local Romani activists often participated in pickets and others protest actions against the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in Budapest in the late 1990s claiming that it was not working with ‘real Roma,’ that is, those fighting exclusion via integration of the Romani masses.13 In any event, the debate among Romani community builders about whether the nation or any other community-building principle could and should be used as a mobilizing vision has by no means ended.

  • 14 Neményi and Szalai, A kisebbség kisebbsége.

16In contrast to the concept of the ‘post-national citizen,’ Romani government policy makers and movements determine the conduct of Romani communities in relation to the national states that surround them. Foreign writers often present the Hungarian national minority self-government of the 1990s as a successful paradigm.14 Interestingly, international recognition of this model, which has since been accused of corruption, political disintegration and lameness, has greatly increased and it is cited in many places as possibly worth replicating. Central European communities are not launching joint projects for influencing the majority population. Moreover, since no lasting and visible alliances of larger minorities wielding influence are perceptible anywhere, no such Romani or other minority groupings have appeared which could trigger breakthroughs on some important points. Nor have attempts been made on the part of the Hungarian elite of Slovakia or Romania to help the Roma build their own minority institutions on the lines of already existing Hungarian networks. Rather, some kind of latent competitive situation is apparent. Increasing self-consciousness of Hungarian-speaking Romani groups may lead to new identities. In many regions of Slovakia, Roma who previously pronounced themselves to be Hungarian are now publicly declaring their Romani identity. Consequently, the decrease of official Hungarian and Slovakian minority numbers is narrowing the political base of Hungarian minority elites. In Slovakia due to past political dominance but also actual population numbers, Hungarians are still the most significant minority in the country and are broadly represented in the political system. However, consolidation of the political consciousness of Romani communities and demographic processes may, within a short time, make the Roma the largest minority in the countries in question, one that would require special treatment and political recognition.

17The possible impact of such a development on the political elites of other minorities cannot be underestimated. In Hungary, in the realm of symbolic politics, certain forms of Romani-Jewish relations also exist, primarily in association with Holocaust memory, but also in the context of liberal human rights programs. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a sufficiently large and influential Jewish community for such an alliance is lacking. However, arguments over cooperation may be superficial and asymmetric. While some Romani elite groups may consider the Jewish community a real ally in their fight against exclusion, others, albeit less numerous, regard them as competitors who were able to demonstrate their historical suffering to the majority, and received moral, cultural and even financial compensation, while the Roma were less successful. At the same time the Romani masses, as the marginalized poor, are not really interested in differences within the upper-middle classes, whom they view as monolithically affluent and culturally alien.


18In the 1990s the emergence of various international human rights organizations, and later the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and from 1997−98 perhaps the EU, fundamentally redrew the language used by governments, public administration and the regional media in Central European Roma policy. Various European institutions triggered the actual turnabout since the majority political elites that sought membership in them depended greatly on the degree to which others considered them ‘democratic,’ and were consequently also willing to adopt a major change of style.

  • 15 Boris Tsilevich, “EU Enlargement and the Protection of National Minorities − Opportunities, Myths (...)

19For years the EU considered minority issues the internal affairs of member states. Later, although not as obligatory laws but rather as a kind of ‘common European standard,’ there appeared various desirable minority policy principles (European Convention on Human Rights, Copenhagen Document − 1990, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities − 1995, Article 13 of the Amsterdam Treaty − 1997, EU Charter on Fundamental Rights − 2000). In June 2000 a general anti-discrimination program was adopted under the name ‘EU Race and Employment Directives’. The deadline for implementation of the directives in the member states was July 2004. However, according to ENAR (European Network Against Racism) few member states have complied.15

  • 16 Martin Kováts, “Problems of Intellectual and Political Accountability in Respect of Emerging Europ (...)
  • 17 Günther Verheugen, “Entering the Final Stage,” speech at the Economist conference, Vienna, 2 June (...)

20Prior to 1990 the EU did not concern itself with West European Roma. Although in the years 1986−89 it commissioned research on the schooling of Roma children,16 this remained an isolated attempt. Undoubtedly the most important Roma policy documents of the 1990s originated in the OSCE and the Council of Europe (in 1993 and in 2000 the reports of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities [HCNM] and the Verspaget Report in the Council of Europe in 1995). These texts reflect the views of predominantly non-Romani experts, which for some time also become ‘official,’ and ‘European’. The first OSCE HCNM report, which appeared under the auspices of the office and the high commissioner personally, linked the difficulties of the Roma to regime change and transition. These problems are viewed as serious as discrimination, and the majority of Roma find it hard to overcome them. The second report was prepared by an American expert on autonomy, who was not especially interested in the specificities of the East European post-socialist transition. For him the Roma issue was one of discrimination and could be treated as a cultural problem. His conclusions were also based on that understanding: if the Roma were allowed more active involvement in political decisions, the problem would become more manageable.17

  • 18 Uherek, “Roma in the Council of Europe,” pp. 38–45.

21In the Council of Europe, a great deal of analytic work grew out of the ambitions of Dutch representative Geraldine Verspaget. It was also she who headed the work committee that prepared the report under her name. There is nothing wrong with this in itself (such individual political profile-building efforts can also be observed among some Hungarian European Parliament members, for example, Katalin Lévai). However, Verspaget’s starting point was an old-fashioned ‘ethnographic’ Romani image, which was not entirely free of certain ‘good savage’ stereotypes, and surprisingly, she devoted much space to the study of ‘nomadism’ as a positive tradition. In fact, she concluded that it was precisely the ‘communist coercion to settle’ that destroyed the traditionally happy communities.18

  • 19 Verheugen, “Entering the Final Stage”; Michal Vasecka (ed.), Ca Cipen Pal o Roma. Suhrnna sprava o (...)

22At the beginning, despite these studies, officials involved in the eastern enlargement of the EU did not consider the Roma problem a matter of importance, and although when established, the Directorate General for Enlargement regularly put the question on its agenda, even by late 2005 no official had been put in charge of this problem in Brussels. In fact, the EU and the West in general began to take the Roma conflict seriously only after large numbers of Roma immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe began seeking political asylum, or at least protection, within their borders. From then on they included the Roma problem among the tasks they mapped out for candidate countries as urgently requiring a solution. The annual Brussels country reports regularly recorded any progress made, or lack of it, as well as an assessment of any new solutions. EU enlargement politicians consider social policy adjustment in the region—not necessarily in Romani matters alone— potentially the most important outcome of their work.19

  • 20 2003 Activity Report. “Activities Relating to Roma, Gypsies and Travellers,” Brussels, Directorate (...)

23As a result of this special Brussels attention, Roma policies of the regional governments are more consistent and more similar to one another than is customary for other sectored or area policies at times of transfer of power between conservative and social democratic governments. The programs promoting preparation of the countries for accession had elements expressly designed to aid the integration of the Roma. In most cases the PHARE program was used for this purpose.20

24Between 1993 and 1999 the six candidate states directly affected received via this channel 20 million Euro for various Roma projects. With the approach of accession this amount increased to 11.7 million in 1999 and to 31.5 million by 2001. Although the 66.5 million Euro allocated to this area between 1993 and 2001 is dwarfed by the overall amount of assistance received by these countries (large local government contributions were made to these aid amounts and the programs were separated—as stipulated by the EU—from other projects), the role of this assistance is considered rather significant.



Source: European Commission, Directorate General for Enlargement, 2002


25Since the accession, it is no longer clear who exactly is continuing and in what form the philosophy of Brussels Roma policy. Naturally, the divisions responsible for the enlargement no longer exist, the relevant Brussels programs having been dismantled, and the political staff of the Community only reacts to domestic conflicts in member states if they become international scandals. Satisfactory Roma programs could be developed from structural funds. However, local Roma programs must compete with all other local economy-building and social policy projects; therefore for the time being it cannot be foreseen how far the Romani elites, and those who call them their allies, will be capable of doing this. Perhaps the program based on the Open Method of Coordination adopted in March 2000 might be suitable for monitoring the situation at the European level. This program stipulates among its objectives social integration in general and the inclusion of minorities, in particular. Since its development, indicators (18 so-called Laeken indicators) have also been defined to monitor their fulfillment. The member states must develop action programs for the implementation of the program objectives and make regular reports on progress. In principle, this could amount to some sort of coordinated program for fighting Roma poverty, but the procession of social inequalities—even if they are ethnically tainted—is returned or even pushed back to national competencies. Romani elites are losing their transnational sources for movement organization and the existing common legal guarantees within the EU focus more on individual freedoms and spaces of action and much less on collective cultural or other sorts of autonomy. Romani political identity building in Central Europe in the coming years will be negotiated primarily not with Brussels or Strasbourg but with the national governments and with local public opinion dominated by non-Romani media and leaders. Most of the Romani intelligentsia is badly prepared for this political round. The space for EU action is there; however it is not really clear through which channels and tools it could be exercised even with that intensity of pressure observed in the debates prior to accession. On the transnational level Romani identity building has a much weaker umbrella now than prior to 2004.


1 Mária Neményi and Júlia Szalai (eds.), A kisebbség kisebbsége (Minority of the Minorities) (Budapest, 2005).

2 Yasemin Soysal, “Changing Citizenship in Europe,” in D. Cesarini and M. Fulbrook (eds.), Citizenship, Nationality and Migration in Europe (London, 1996), pp. 17−29.

3 Gabor Kertesi, Megalazottak és megszomotitottak (Budapest, 1998); Agnes Diosi, Kívül, vagy belül? A cigányság és a Magyar társadalom (Beszélő, 2000), pp. 4, 29-38.

4 Nicolae Gheorghe and Andrzej Mirga, The Roma in the 21st Century: A Policy Paper (Princeton, 1998).

5 Grattan Puxon, “The Romani Movement: Rebirth and the First World Romani Congress,” in Thomas Acton Thomas (ed.), Scholarship and the Gypsy Struggle (University of Hertfordshire Press, 2000), pp. 94–113.

6 Zdenek Uherek, “Roma in the Council of Europe,” in B. Müller (ed.), The Council of Europe after Enlargement. An Anthropological Enquiry (Praha, 1999), pp. 38−45.

7 Peter Vermeersch, “Minority Policy in Central Europe: Exploring the Impact of the EU’s Enlargement Strategy,” Global Review of Ethnopolitics 2 (Jan. 2004), pp. 3-19.

8 In June 1990 five Roma on the OF list of the new anti-communist bloc were elected to the Czech National Council, but the Communists also managed to get Roma into the Council on their own list. A Roma representative was elected to the Slovak National Council, too. In 1999 there were already five registered Roma parties in the Czech Republic; at the same time, 14 Roma parties could be found on the list of registered parties of the Slovak Ministry of Interior. However, the political power of these parties is not even worth mentioning. Even the most successful of them, the ROI (Roma Civil Initiative), only managed to get 0.67 percent of the vote in 1994.

9 Peter Vermeersch, “Roma Identity and Ethnic Mobilization in Central European Politics,” ECPR joint sessions, Grenoble, 6-11 April 2001.

10 Jana Plichtova, “Czechoslovakia as a Multicultural State in the Context of the Region,” in: Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe (London, 1998), pp. 11–19.

11 E.g., I. Hancock, “The Struggle for the Control of Identity,” Transitions 4. (1997), pp. 35–44.

12 See Soysal, “Changing Citizenship in Europe,” pp. 17–29.

13 On Council of Europe policies, see MG-S-ROM 2000 [17], “Activities of the Council of Europe concerning Roma/Gypsies and Travellers,” Strasbourg, 2000.

14 Neményi and Szalai, A kisebbség kisebbsége.

15 Boris Tsilevich, “EU Enlargement and the Protection of National Minorities − Opportunities, Myths and Prospects,” 2001,; Andre Liebich, “Ethnic Minorities and Long-Term Implications of EU Enlargement,” 1998,

16 Martin Kováts, “Problems of Intellectual and Political Accountability in Respect of Emerging European Roma Policy,” Paper presented at the Romani Studies Seminar, University of Greenwich, 11 Jan., 2001.

17 Günther Verheugen, “Entering the Final Stage,” speech at the Economist conference, Vienna, 2 June 2002.

18 Uherek, “Roma in the Council of Europe,” pp. 38–45.

19 Verheugen, “Entering the Final Stage”; Michal Vasecka (ed.), Ca Cipen Pal o Roma. Suhrnna sprava o Romoch na Slovensku (Bratislava, 2002).

20 2003 Activity Report. “Activities Relating to Roma, Gypsies and Travellers,” Brussels, Directorate General III Migration Department, Nov. 2003.

Table des illustrations

Légende Source: European Commission, Directorate General for Enlargement, 2002
Fichier image/jpeg, 198k


PÁL TAMÁS is Professor of Sociology, Director of the Institute of Sociology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a well-known media commentator. He specializes in societal conflicts, especially in postcommunist societies, ethnic issues, EU enlargement, and social science research. He has served as Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at US and European universities.

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