With No Deliberate Speed: The Segregation of Roma Children in Europe

51 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2016 Last revised: 26 Apr 2017

See all articles by Antonia Eliason

Antonia Eliason

University of Mississippi School of Law

Date Written: March 25, 2017


The Roma have faced overwhelming discrimination throughout their history with Roma children facing particularly egregious discrimination. Roma children are frequently segregated from non-Roma students in schools through Central and Eastern Europe. While not legally institutionalized, the segregation experienced by Roma children is comparable in scope to that experienced by African American children through the 1950s and 1960s. This article looks at the failure of anti-discrimination measures, both at the national and at the EU level, to substantively reduce discrimination against Roma children in education, and argues that critical race theory provides the necessary context for understanding why the European Union and individual EU Member States continue to fail in this respect, despite numerous national and supranational measures aimed specifically at the Roma. The article reviews EU anti-discrimination measures, European case law, and national case law in light of critical race theory, arguing that it is not the measures themselves that are at issue, but, due to systemic discrimination, their enforcement. Three suggestions are offered: first, at a grassroots level, impact litigation needs to be used more widely before national courts to bring attention to the systemic issues and to have a broader impact on social policy. Second, from a top-down perspective, the European Court of Justice and the European Commission need to become more involved in ensuring that the provision of the Race Equality Directive are enforced. Finally, more international pressure needs to be brought to bear upon the European Union regarding the systemic discrimination against the Roma.

Keywords: Roma rights, discrimination, Race Equality Directive, EU Law, critical race theory, segregation, Roma, CRT, Hungary, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Eliason, Antonia, With No Deliberate Speed: The Segregation of Roma Children in Europe (March 25, 2017). Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2724905 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2724905

Antonia Eliason (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi School of Law ( email )

Lamar Law Center
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
United States

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