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Eurobarometer: 77% of Europeans think that being a Roma is a disadvantage in society

Brussels, 31.1.2007 19:03, (ERIO)

On 7 June – 12 July 2006 TNS Opinion & Social on behalf of the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, carried out a survey wave 65.4 of the EUROBAROMETER about discrimination and inequality in Europe. The SPECIAL EUROBAROMETER N°263 is part of wave 65.4 and covers the population aged 15 years and over in the twenty-five Member States of the European Union and in the two acceding countries. The methodology used is that of the Standard Eurobarometer surveys of the Directorate General Communication (“Public Opinion and Media Monitoring” Unit). In the report findings the six legally prohibited forms of discrimination in the EU are examined: discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, age, disability and sexual orientation.

The survey highlights that a large proportion of Europeans are of the opinion that discrimination is widespread in their country. Discrimination based on ethnic origin is felt to be the most widespread. A broad majority of European citizens believe that being disabled (79%), being over 50 (69%) or having a different ethnic origin (62%) is a disadvantage in their society.

With regard to the Roma, who collectively form the largest ethnic minority in the enlarged EU, 77% of Europeans think that being a Roma is a disadvantage in society. These proportions vary quite significantly among the countries surveyed. Nine out of ten Swedish respondents hold the view that being a Roma is a disadvantage in their society, compared to around 6 out of 10 respondents in the two acceding countries, namely Bulgaria and Romania. Secondly, at the socio-demographic level the data shows that the age at which people completed their full-time education slightly influences how they judge the position of Roma in their society. The longer people stayed in full-time education, the more likely they are to feel that being a Roma tends to be a disadvantage. However, regardless of how long people stayed in school, very few


believe that being a Roma is an advantage in their society (5.3. The position of Roma, pages 42-43).

Finally, the survey highlights that awareness of the existence of anti-discrimination laws remains quite low in the European Union. Disability is the only type of discrimination which more than half of the European public knows is prohibited by law when hiring employees. And only one third of European Union citizens (32%) know their rights should they become a victim of discrimination or harassment.

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