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Ethnicity, Power and Inclusion: Why Policies Towards Roma in Europe Are Failing

Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Despite the increasing number of policy measures and initiatives targeting the Roma in Europe, their position has continued to worsen. This condition embodies a policy paradox that requires answers from policymakers, activists and academics. I argue that a prime cause of the limited impact of these policies on the Roma’s situation is the lack of ethnic relevance of these policies, that is, their failure to take into consideration adequately the crucial importance of Romani ethnic identity as a causal factor. My work locates collective identity, specifically that of Roma in Europe, key to understanding power relations within European Union with regard to policy-making. I explore the causes of the limited impact policies towards Roma had focusing on the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Startegies and using the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania as case studies. My approach combines policy design theory and critical race theory, analysing the role of ethnic identity in informing policy processes.

Dr. Iulius Rostas is Affiliated Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at CEU, Senior Fellow at the Open Society Foundations Roma Initiatives Office and Visiting Lecturer at Corvinus University of Budapest. He has worked for the Open Society Foundations, the European Roma Rights Center and the Government of Romania and consulted the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the World Bank, the European Commission and the Roma Education Fund. Dr Rostas is the editor of “Ten Years After: A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe” (CEU Press, 2012) and in 2011 he published “Social Inclusion or Exclusion: the Rights of Persons Living with HIV in Moldova” (Cartier Publishing, 2011).