Who are gypsies 1

After the end of the Soviet Union, nationalism and racism increased in Europe. The transition to a market economy did not bring the hoped-for good living conditions, and in many places the disappointment took the form of violence against Roma and Sinti. Arson attacks and murders occurred all over Europe.

There is a system of discrimination: in 1999 the city administration of the Czech city of Usti had a wall built around a Roma settlement because other residents had complained about the noise and dirt. However, after protests, the wall soon had to be torn down again.

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) found that in 1998, 75 percent of Roma children in the Czech Republic attended a special school. They were 27 times more likely to be sent to such a school than other children. In 2007 the European Court of Justice condemned the Czech Republic for this practice. Apparently little has changed since then.

The career prospects of the children are correspondingly poor. Two thirds of the Roma in Central and Southeastern Europe are unemployed. To change this, several countries offer special education programs for children from Roma families.

In Eastern Europe, many Roma live in ghettos with inadequate electricity and water supplies. The child mortality of Eastern European Roma is around three times higher than the population average, and life expectancy is ten to 15 years lower. To escape poverty, after Romania's accession to the EU in 2007, thousands of Roma moved to the West, where they are not welcome everywhere.

Roma are also discriminated against outside of Eastern Europe: Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was the first to start a deportation campaign in 2008, and all Roma had to register their fingerprints. France sent more than 9,000 Roma to Romania and Bulgaria last year and more than 8,000 this year, many of them lived in illegal camps and a few are said to have been involved in violent clashes with the police.