Will both we Roms feel the consequences of financial and economic crisis?
Of course that we will feel consequences, not that much from the world financial crisis, as much from the economic crisis. Namely, world financial crisis began in august last year, and it was more remarked as a crisis of mortgage credits, and the first real consequences resulted in fact that rich people were waken as less rich. So, it was concern only for richer parts of society. However, it was a matter of day when a crisis of financial market will be transferred onto the real economy and cause economic crisis. That is actually happening, and already now we see the first results in the most-developed economies in world where it is obvious that the economic crisis is sliding into a recession. Economic crisis will have much harder consequences and it won’t, as financial, hit only rich, than poorest and the most-vulnerable levels of populace – those with low incomes, unemployed and pensioners…
Roms are the European most-vulnerable and most-marginalized group today. Actually, Roms were amongst the greatest losers in transitional period. At the beginning of 90s, they were amongst first who lost their jobs.


Even in some developed countries of southern and eastern Europe, much before the emergence of economic crisis, poorness of Roms was very pronounced – even up to 10 times greater than it is case with the non-Romany populace. Although countries like Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic made extremely great distances during the 90s, position of ROms still represents on of the most-critical topics on their road to closing to the EU.
Conditions in which Roms today are living are incredible. Too often, Romany children could be seen to spend majority of its part of day on dumps in the countries of central and eastern Europe. The greatest institutions of human rights aren’t speaking about the issue that is essential issue for the Romany nation. They aren’t speaking how many pupils in Europe remained unembraced with elementary and secondary schools, how many Romany girls put their hands off the further education, how many Romany families are that doesn’t have neither one employed member, how many Roms are that are roaming on the streets of western Europe in look for a job, how many Romany juveniles are who are exposed to ruthless exploitation of different bosses and dealers, etc.

In impossibility to provide schooling for them, the greatest part of Roms is cleaning up old carton, and earn only for a food. Also, often can be seen entire Romany families which live in small wooden houses or decrepit shacks in which there is neither electricity nor water, and view into the future is too twilight. Similar picture, maybe only in smaller quantity, is present in many countries members of the European Union, in which Roms are living as a minority populace. Isn’t that counter-civic relation towards on nation today?


There is a great social-economic inequality between major European populace and Roms, from who majority live in the extreme poorness. If no changes occur, this constant poorness can become a great bulk in further prosperity of Europe, which will be equally a tragedy both for the Romany and non-Romany populace

Situation which is currently reflecting as a consequence of economic and financial crisis on Romany community as the most-vulnerable and most-marginalized group deserves urgent acting of all governments which shape their policy in search for exit from the economic crisis.
Actually, Roms were amongst the greatest losers in transitional period. At the beginning of 90s, they were first who lost their jobs, and they were constantly blocked to become a part of the working force, mostly because of lack of adequate qualifications.

Only during 2000, almost 80% of Roms in Bulgaria and Romania lived with less than 4,3 dollars per day. Poorness combined with high reproduction level leads to the conclusion that fatigues of Roms will only grow in the following years. High level of unemployment, mostly amongst the young population puts Roms into the bewithed circle of poorness and asocialization, which further leads to lower life’ standardand leave many of them in marginalized settlements in which they even don’t have electricity or water. Lack of education inhibit to Roms possibility of getting the job and limits their further options. More than 600.000 children of school age who live in countries that should become members of the EU have never gone in elementary school, and even less that 1% of Roms complete some higher education. Many such pupils are often allocated in the worst classes. And many of them are even wrongly allocated into the specialized schools for mentally-ill persons, and that is mainly because they haven’t possibility to attend pre-school education, or because they don’t know language of major population.


While some live in a relative comfort, millions of Roms across the planet live in tents that they are building wherever they can. Others aren’t so lucky, they live on the street and all they have is only a peace of carton or plastic. Many Roms are earning for survival by working whatever they can: root up over the trash-cans, work as physical workers or with support of small wagons they collect carton, empty bottles, cans and similar.
Inequality between rich and poor people doesn’t exist only in countries in development, yet, as reported by the World Bank, “pockets of poorness” are something quite usual in all countries. From Bangladesh till USA, regardless how much are some people wealthy, there are still some who are fighting for survival and to provide a roof over the head. One report from the World Bank showed that around 57% of the world population is living with less than 2 EUR per day.

Because of creation of great world financial and economic crisis, and Millenium’ development goals of the UNs, countries of south-eastern and central Europe should devote greater attention to Roms. So much more because it is about one of the most-vulnerable parts of society. That should especially have in mind during the process of creation of strategy of development and fight against poorness in countries of south-eastern and central Europe which is in progress. It will fully correspond with the offered initiative Decade of inclusion of Roms.

Current financial and economic crisis mostly targeted Roms. That’s why every government which is confronted with financial and economic crisis must establish a system and adequate programs of social protection in the countries of south-eastern and central Europe, that will secure adequate addressing of social compensations for the most-vulnerable categories of population. Those programs would include those who are most-jeopardized and to whom help is most needed, and support those who are capable and who work to improve their possibilities of employment and realization of income.

Governments must undertake fast and decisive action to avoid that financial crisis outgrow into the general crisis. Governments should also take special attention about the realization of obligations subscribed for the solving of long-term and sustainable solutions for Roms, refugees, displaced persons and returnees on basis of contract about readmission…
Both today, at the beginning of the 3rd millennium, Roms aren’t still neither at the beginning of their emancipation. Still, at Roms, ultimately actual issue is naked survival. Roms – that most devastated, most-persuaded, most-humiliated nation, remained mostly at the bottom of life in vast mass of illiterates, unschooled, unqualified, unemployed, so far.


Romany community already for more than 1000 years lives in conditions of diaspora, which can be hardly compared with the diaspora situation of some other nation. Roms in south-eastern and central Europe live almost without exception on the margins of society on margins of towns, on margins of economies and work-share, on the cultural margins, and not rarely with completely archaic life independent from the life of surrounding societies.
Integration yes – assimilation no.

Beginning of the integration of Roms without assimilation is something that can’t be delayed as a result of the world economic crisis, and that should be the most important task of south-eastern and central Europe in the Decade of Roms. These and other actions are in accord with the Millenium’ development goals of the UNs, as well with the Plan of social inclusion of the EU. Important points of these initiatives, like lowering of poorness, especially in view of better living conditions, health care and social inclusion, are completely coincidental with the starting points for the improvement of status of Roms.

PhD student Bajram Haliti

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