Valeriu Nicolae

is Senior Advocacy Officer for the Roma Initiatives of Open Society Institute.


Roma girl

No accountability

The case of Roma social inclusion in Europe

The main stakeholders currently involved in Roma social inclusion continue to struggle to define clear and distinct responsibilities, or simply avoid them. Ahead of this year’s European Roma Platform, Valeriu Nicolae calls for systemic change that addresses key issues of anti-Gypsyism and multi-stakeholder cooperation.

Roma activist Valeriu Nicolae departs for Euro-Narnia, a parallel world ruled over by the mighty Baroslan whose inhabitants discuss in strange and wonderful terms remedies for the Roma problem. But what is the role of the Queen in all of this?

UEFA’s recent condemnation of the racist fans of Steaua Bucharest was the most powerful statement ever issued by a European institution against anti-Gypsyism and had a positive echo in the Romanian press. So why do EU bodies fail to take a similar stance?

The presidential referendum controversy represents an all-time low for post-communist Romanian politics, writes Valeriu Nicolae. Corruption isn’t likely to disappear any time soon, since an honest political elite working to reform society would lead to a collapse of the entire system.

Profound lack of political accountability towards Roma constituencies plays into the hands of populist Roma politicians, writes Valeriu Nicolae. Real inclusion will happen only when majorities stop expecting Roma leaders to solve what is a majority problem: European anti-Gypsyism.

Change must start from within

Roma integration: EU rhetoric and institutional reality

By the end of 2011, European member states are expected to have demonstrated their fulfilment of the requirements of the EU Framework Programme for the integration of Roma. But what are the chances of the programme succeeding if structural anti-Roma racism exists within European institutions themselves? Valeriu Nicolae is founder and president of the Policy Centre for Roma and Minorities in Bucharest, an NGO that works directly with young Roma. At a conference in Berlin in November, he talked about the discrepancy between European rhetoric and institutional reality.

Cover for: On France, Gobineau, colonialism and the Roma

Attempts by successive French governments to deal with Roma migrants smacks of colonial racism, argues Valeriu Nicolae. Deportation will not solve anything; the problems that exist in Roma settlements is the result of decades of neglect, indifference and underfunding.

The enemy within

Roma, the media and hate speech

Despite European Union legislation on the subject, Europe’s Roma remain the victim of discrimination and abuse, as much in the media as in society at large. In Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, not to mention Italy, it is the media that more often than not instigate the witch hunts.

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