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Influence of Civil Society Actors on Formulation of Roma Issues within the EU Framework

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During the 1990s, the policy towards Roma, discussed at trans-national and domestic levels, has oscillated between use of minority and human rights concepts, developmental, anti-poverty and security concepts. These concepts used for analysing the situation of Roma have influenced not only the understanding of who Roma are, but also the understanding as to which policy measures are most appropriate for addressing their situation. The European Union, equipped in the pre2004/2007 European Union (EU) accession with the leverage of EU membership and Copenhagen criteria requiring stability of minority and human rights, rule of law and institutions guaranteeing democracy in the EU accession states, has made significant impact in the 2004/2007 accession phase on addressing the human rights situation of Roma. Following EU accession in 2004 and 2007 respectively, the EU was further instrumental in addressing the situation of Roma. Civil society actors have significantly contributed to a shift in policy on Roma, using the international environment, typical for an exchange between inter-governmental and trans-national organisations, European institutions, non-governmental organisations, philanthropic organisations, human rights activists, states and Roma. This article will present some evidence of the link between civil society and the EU and point out examples of successful infl uences that civil society actors have exercised within both periods.


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Affiliations: 1: Human Rights and Networking Coordinator, EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Vienna, Austria


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