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The European parties have announced their election manifestos for the European Parliament elections in June 2024. An analysis of their programs shows that the problems of the “largest European minority” (Roma) are ignored by the European parties to date. To be completely accurate the Greens have mentioned only once in their manifesto the fight against anti-Gypsyism, but that’s it. The political views of the far-right and the far-left parties are more or less clear but what are the priorities of the major European parties that will play a decisive role in European politics after the elections?


  The Center-Right

The European Peoples’ Party (EPP) wants to preserve the “Judeo-Christian culture and heritage” of the “European civilization” and the “European way of life” which are threatened by the Russian aggression and the “Radical Islamism”. The growing anti-Gypsyism in Europe is not a problem for EPP but growing anti-Semitism is explicitly mentioned in the paper. Thе impression is left that the EPP adopts the Huntington’s view of the “clash of civilizations”, dividing the world into civilizational zones that inevitably come into conflict. The EPP wants also to reduce the immigration into EU from non-European countries by transferring asylum seekers to “third safe countries” outside the EU but this should not apply to Ukrainian refugees, according to the paper. Thus, EPP is creating a differentiated treatment of refugees depending on their country of origin. For example the migration from Africa to Europe should be restricted because the EPP is concerned about the “brain drain” from Africa. While Ukraine is mentioned 21 times in the EPP manifesto, the Western Balkans are mentioned only once in the entire 29-pages document. This clearly demonstrates that the EU integration of countries like Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia is not high on the agenda of the Europe’s largest political party. These are countries with significant autochthonous Muslim and Roma populations which hardly fit into the EPP’s concept of Europeaness. While North Macedonia has been left for 20 years in the waiting room of the EU, the EPP manifesto encourages Belarus “to enter the European path”.


The Socialists 

The Party of European Socialists (PES) claims to be “the party of Feminism” promoting a “Feminist Europe” with “zero tolerance for sexism, racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, LGBTI-phobia” but just like the EPP it avoids the issues of Roma and anti-Gypsyism in its election manifesto. The European Socialists seem more concerned about Israelis and Palestinians outside Europe than about Roma in Europe. The word “Roma” is completely omitted in the Socialist manifesto, the words “minorities” and “racism” are mentioned only once. Neither the fight against anti-Gypsyism, nor the fight against neo-fascism are among the priorities of PES. Instead, the PES cautiously states in its manifesto that it would not cooperate with the far right and it condemns the other parties “that have enabled the far right to access power”. This is passive, non-confrontational position of the second largest European party. The EU enlargement in the Western Balkans occupies a minor place among the party’s electoral priorities. It seems that the leftist parties that are members of PES are increasingly distancing themselves from the issues of minority protection, anti-racism, anti-fascism, taking an openly conformist stance that brings them ideologically closer to the centre-right.


   The Liberals

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) does not include in its manifesto anything about Roma, anti-Gypsyism, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia. Rather ALDE pays more attention to the human rights violations away from Europe in China, Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. The word “racism” is mentioned only once, the word “minorities” twice, and the word “migrants” five times in the entire paper (24 pages), as if the European Liberals feel uncomfortable discussing these topics. On the other hand, ALDE manifesto focuses on gender equality, EU security and defense, digital transformation and green transition. Moreover, ALDE shows a slightly stronger commitment to the accession of the Western Balkan countries into the EU by 2029.


Finally, a logical question arises. If improving the situation of Europe’s 12 million Roma is not important for the European political parties, then what is the role of the Roma and pro-Roma organizations in Brussels? It appears that the organizations of other “vulnerable communities” have a more effective lobby at European level, while the Roma remain unrepresented or poorly represented, despite their significant numbers in Europe. But what are the reasons for this? How can such a large ethnic community present in all EU Member States be so easily ignored in European politics? Until these questions are clarified, no change can be expected in the attitude of European political establishment towards Roma. The Roma will remain invisible



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