Roma in Europe continue to be victims of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. Despite formal legal efforts and declarations from the European Union (EU), the European Council, and EU member states where large numbers of Roma reside, real shifts have yet to occur. This article will attempt to elucidate the factors underlying the actual lack of improvement or even stagnation of Roma, as well as determine who is responsible for the situation in Europe, where a policy of publicly declared concern for Roma rights appears side by side with blatant violations. Cases of systematic persecution and degradation of the Roma minority will be highlighted, as will the question of the political obligation to protect human rights on the levels of the individual states, the EU and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This article will present the declarative “European” stance on discrimination towards Roma on the one hand, and the actual discrimination that occurs outside the framework of projects and programs in some European states on the other. Despite the efforts that have been made, Roma issues are still entrenched in the national, regional and local levels of political, legal, economic and social-educational structures.

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