Romani Mobilities in Europe: Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Conference papers pages:200-210
Romani Mobilities in Europe: Multidisciplinary Perspectives location:Oxford date:14-15 January 2010
Since the accession of ten post-communist countries to the European Union (EU), various EU institutions have expressed their concern about the precarious social position of the Roma in these new member states. The EU has singled out this group for extra attention. This strategy is based on the assumption that the Roma need support "from above" because they - in contrast to other minorities in this region - have no clear national lobby or external homeland to defend their interests. The EU is thus considered to be the Roma's best ally. This paper sets the benefits of such special EU concern against the problem of its politicization. The EU has managed the put the Roma on the political agenda by considering them a category of people who are exceptionally vulnerable and therefore in need of special attention; but this EU attention - although well intended and, in certain aspects, not unlikely to produce some positive effects - can have problematic unintended consequences once it becomes politicized in the domestic arenas of countries where politicians try to mobilize voters on an ethnic basis and seek to win the support of Euroskeptic citizens.