Informality and the Invisibility of Roma Political Participation
The past decades have been characterised by a puzzling dilemma of the politics of the ‘Roma issue’ in European societies and also on the international level. On the one hand, due to the intense work of a range of influential international organisations of Roma representation and the enduring efforts of a group of dedicated politicians acting on the European level, the case of Roma has become thematised in political terms and as such, it has been drawn into the arena of governmental and inter-governmental politics and policy-making. As a peak of such efforts, the formulation of a national strategy on Roma inclusion has been made a task for all member states of the European Union and this way it has been successfully elevated to the existing mechanisms of monitoring and reviewing as parts of the Europe-wide applied open method of coordination in outlining developmental plans and policies. On the other hand, domestic statistics and research signal the lack of any improvement in the situation of Roma: occurrences of discrimination and segregation have not diminished (often even grew in numbers and harshness), poverty and the extreme inequalities hitting Roma in education, work and the daily conditions of living have not been decreased (often even became intensified), and the tendencies of exclusion have become stronger in a wide range of local communities all across. In an indirect way, these latter developments indicate the weakness and marginal state of Roma politics in attaining any breakthrough in the structures of power and thus letting way to the undisturbed reproduction of the prevailing conditions of deprivation and exclusion.
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