Roma still marginalized in Western Balkans 

Social inclusion of Roma in the Western Balkans is still a remote dream, according to a recent survey. School attendance of Roma children has increased, but access to health, employment and housing remains limited. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Southern Europe
Roma still marginalized in Western Balkans  - NewsMavens
Roma woman begging. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

While it's encouraging to see more and more Roma children enrolled in schools, it's also depressing to know that, once they graduate from schools, they will be two times less likely to find employment than non-Roma graduates. 

The survey clearly shows that Roma are often the victims of outright discrimination and social exclusion across the Balkans. 

Two years ago, financier George Soros expressed his wish that Western Balkan countries 'set an example for what can be achieved' when it comes to integrating Roma minorities. But the region needs to do a lot more before fulfilling this hope.

Details from the story:

  • The 2018 Regional Roma Survey is the first large-scale data collection on Roma in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo since 2011.
  • The survey showed that the number of Roma girls and boys attending compulsory primary education increased. Attendance in secondary school is much lower. 
  • According to the survey, percentages of youth (ages 18-24) not in employment, education or training are high, ranging from 73 in Serbia to 86 percent in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Among young women, it ranges between 81 (Macedonia) and 93 percent (Montenegro).
  • The report revealed that Roma are less likely to have access to health care in comparison to non-Roma neighbors.
  • Roma are now less likely to live in overcrowded households, although still more likely than the non-Roma population.
  • Many Roma dwellings don't have access to running water, ranging from 10 percent in Macedonia to more than half of the Roma population in Albania.
  • Roma Integration 2020 is a project that aims to reduce disparities between Roma and non-Roma citizens in Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. It is supported by the European Commission and Open Society Foundations. 
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