From Victimhood to Citizenship-The Path of Roma Integration

The Path of Roma Integration – A Debate
About the Book

The disappointing results of over two decades of activism in the supposedly more liberal climate of post- Communist democracies prompted András Bíró, Hungarian journalist and renowned human rights activist to put down his reflections about the situation of Roma in Eastern Europe. These thoughts in turn stimulated insightful responses from two scholars of the subject: Nicolae Gheorghe, an ethnic Roma living in Romania, and Martin Kovats, among others special advisor on Roma issues to the European Commission in Brussels. These authors do not shrink from expressing forthright views, as in discussing the apparent conflict between certain human rights values and what some regard as traditional Roma culture and in exploring difficulties and ambiguities implicit in using the term Roma . The respective merits of ethnically based Roma political parties as opposed to a civic approach are also examined. The three essays challenged other stakeholders who discussed the burning issues raised therein at a workshop, the distilled text of which constitutes the fourth chapter of the book. While no straightforward solutions are offered the pre-eminence of the main contributors and the lively ensuing conference arguments guarantee that this book will become a touchstone for future debate in a time when pro-Roma policies are facing ever-growing threats amidst the crisis in Europe.