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National Roma integration strategy: do good intentions fail?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>6/01/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Roma Rights Journal of the European Roma Rights Centre
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)23-30
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article presents an analysis of Polish experiences in designing and implementing the National Roma Integration Strategy for the years 2004-2013 (hereinafter referred to as the “Programme”). Close scrutiny of the Programme is imperative as it constitutes one of the main pillars of Polish integration policies and forms a ‘prototype’ for the upcoming strategy for 2014-2020, which apart from small technical adjustments to the modus operandi has remained basically the same. The analysis is also timely as there is mounting evidence that many problems identified in the early 2000s have not been fully resolved, and there is a danger that similar mistakes are being replicated. The article argues that the main shortcomings of the Programme are rooted in the down-playing of strategic dimensions of exclusion, and a failure to conceptualise integration of Roma as a process requiring changes in institutional settings and in the attitudes of both the majority and the minority population. The Programme’s narrow focus on the immediate needs of (often randomly selected) groups and communities, although effective in delivering practical and appreciated aid, has failed to recognise a need for wider pro-integration reforms and in many instances (perhaps unintentionally) only exacerbates divisions between the communities, thus undermining the legitimacy of public provisions.