Related Case Studies

Through Government Decision 1.221/2011, the Romanian Government approved at the end of 2011 a new Strategy for Roma inclusion for the period 2012-2020. The strategy is comprehensive, including all areas of life where it defines a large number of objectives, measures and at times very detailed activities to be implemented.

The stated goal of the Strategy is to: “ensure the socio-economic inclusion of Romanian citizens belonging to the Roma minority through the implementation of integrated policies in the fields of education, employment, health, housing, culture and social infrastructure”.

Yet, the Strategy does not acknowledge and assume the role discrimination has played and continues to play , as a source cause, in the marginalization of the Roma. Despite the fact that it does envisage activities for combating discrimination, its stated target groups are Roma Romanian citizens with Roma facing social exclusion as a priority category. The majority population is not mentioned as the target group. This “non-assuming” approach is evident in the way the Strategy describes its secondary goal through which it aims to: “render responsible central and local authorities, the Roma minority and the civil society for raising the degree of socio-economic inclusion of the Romanian citizens belonging to the Roma minority.” [1] Regarding a similar phrasing in the Draft of the Strategy, the Center for Legal Resources, in a statement drawing attention on discriminatory provisions of the Strategy, stated the following: “The idea according to which the discriminated against and excluded minority, as a group, must be rendered responsible, involves the premise that the Roma would be responsible for the situation they are in. At the same time, the idea according to which the minority would have to assume the responsibility for its own actions, this minority being in reality submitted to a process of marginalization and discrimination and often times accused as a group, and as part of the stigmatization process of anti-social deeds – is an idea which also showed up in the Nazi era, being an idea common to totalitarian regimes in search of scapegoats. Last but not least, this thinking mechanism shows the fact that there is no admittance, and even less assuming of the fact that the current exclusion is the result of centuries-old discrimination to this the majority has submitted this minority”. [2]

Furthermore, along the same lines, under section IV, when it defines the problem it addresses, the Strategy describes the Roma culture in terms which might be considered offensive: “The Roma culture is quasi-oral, a consequence of the absence of effective structures for self-referential formation and representation, to allow the leap from a popular low-literate folk culture to a modern one, integrating into the set of values of contemporary times. The consequence of this situation is the poor development of an internal market of ideas/social realities, a precariousness of the Roma public space/consensus. While the aspiration and competition of modern societies is to render the social/public learning structure more effective, the Roma culture remains underdeveloped. In this context, a value reconstruction is urgently needed, through the promotion of measures aimed at combating the socio-cultural gap between the Roma and Romanian cultures. The lack of a constructive effort having as purpose an authentic communication between cultures is one of the sources of underdevelopment.”

A large number of NGOs (19, of which an umbrella organization including 28 Roma NGOs) as well as two UN bodies signed a document with comments on the draft Strategy and brought new proposals. While some comments appear to have been acknowledged, little of this contribution, seems however to have been finally included in the Strategy. [3]

The Strategy estimates implementation costs to be of RON 234,710,000 (approx. EUR 54,583,720 ) for the period 2012-2015 and indicates together as sources for this budget: state budget, external reimbursable and non-reimbursable funds, the budgets of administrative-territorial units and other sources. Very few of the plans of measures for each field have a concrete budget attached to them, which makes it difficult to see how much money will come from the state budget and how much from other sources.

In January 2012 the Romanian Roma Civic Alliance (RRCA) umbrella organization was calling on the Government to allocate concrete budgets for the Strategy, warning that the fields of education, health, employment and housing did not have a concrete budget attached to them and claiming that: “the money for implementing the integration measures are stated in the Strategy in a general manner, without concrete details. The basis for Roma integration consists in a correct use of European funds. Our worry concerns the fact that Romania is the European country with the lowest absorption rate of EU funds for the past years (…) Under these circumstances, RRCA considers that the new Strategy for improving the situation of the Roma risks having the same extremely limited impact as the previous Strategy from the period 2002-2010.” [4]



1. Government Decision 1.221/2011 for the Approval of the Romanian Government Strategy for the inclusion of Romanian citizens belonging to the Roma minority for the period 2012-2020, available at: (Accessed on 04.03.2012)

2. Center for Legal Resources, The Center for Legal Resources draws attention on the discriminatory provisions from the Draft Strategy of the Romanian Government for the inclusion of Romanian citizens of Roma ethnicity, 27.10.2011, available at: (Accessed on 04.03.2012)

3. Proposal for amending the Draft Strategy of the Romanian Government for the inclusion of the Romanian citizens belonging to the Roma minority for the period 2011-2020, available at: (Accessed on 04.03.2012)

4. Romanian Roma Civic Alliance, Press release, RRCA calls on the Government to allocate concrete budgets for Roma integration, 11.01.2012, available at: (Accessed on 05.03.2012)