Biased Elites, Unfit Policies: Reflections on the Lacunae of Roma Integration Strategies

 Abstract: In this article, I argue that policymakers employed unconscious biases and racist beliefs in the formulation and the implementation of the current EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies (ʻEU Roma Frameworkʼ) and its corresponding national strategies. Using Critical Race Theory, I explore how these policies have reinforced the commonly held belief in the need to civilize and otherwise change the habits of the Roma, and consequently have further reinforced the power imbalance between the Roma and the dominant majority groups (hereinafter used interchangeably with ʻnon-Romaʼ). I analyse examples of Roma versus universal policies comparatively, emphasizing biases in formulation, implementation, and discourse. I show that the objectives of the EU Roma Framework and national Roma strategies toward Roma education involve ethnic presuppositions and are far less ambitious than the avowed Europe 2020 strategy; this policy mismatch will likely lead to further educational discrepancies post-2020. Finally, I conclude that policies focused on the Roma are doomed to fail if no prior and concurrent actions are taken to change prejudiced attitudes and the behaviours of non-Roma, in particular those biases influencing policy formulation and implementation.


Margareta Matache

 YEAR: 2017

Type:  Article

Initially published by:

European Review, Vol. 25, No. 4, 588–607 © 2017 Academia Europæa doi:10.1017/S1062798717000254

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