Roma in Europe

The Roma and Sinti are the largest minority in the European area – according to estimations, over 10 million live in Europe. At the same time, the Roma and  Sinti are the most marginalized and  the poorest social class in the socio-economic respect, regardless of the European country they live in.

In the past (and unfortunately also in the present), their lives have been connected to various forms of intolerance, racism and xenophobia, which have contributed largely to their poor and slow social integration. One of the reasons for the present condition is poor knowledge and understanding of their origin, history and culture.

Significant steps forward to the understanding of Romani identity in the European area took place in the second half of the 20th century (above all the document Recommendation 1203 of  the Parliamentary Assembly: on Gypsies in Europe) when the attitude to cultural differences shifted towards the enrichment of Europe. As a consequence, the Roma people became a constituent part of the European cultural mosaic. 

Video: The Roma people (Gypsies), available at:

Situation of the Roma

In 2011, the European Commission called upon the Member States to outline national strategies of integrating the Roma and listed the following data: 10–20 million Roma live in Europe facing discrimination, exclusion and violation of their rights.

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Demographic data

Statistical demographic data on the Romani people in Europe or the European Union, respectively, are found in various reports of international organizations and institutions which are oriented especially to fundamental human rights of the EU citizens, or they are representing Romani associations on the European or national level. All reports have something in common, i.e. statistical demographic data on the Roma people are difficult to get.

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Socio-economic status

The results of international studies on socio-economic status of the Roma in the EU show that their life is fundamentally worse than the life of non-Roma citizens in all fields.

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Many written documents report that the migrations of the Roma into the European area started already in the 14th century. Based on the similarities between the Romani language and Sanskrit, in the 18th and 19th century, the European linguists, among them the Slovenian linguist Franc Miklošič, established that their original homeland is India, and they outlined the directions of their journeys.

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