Serena D’Agostino authors Belgium Country Report of FRA’s Roma and Travellers Survey 2019

In September 2020, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published its Roma and Travellers Survey 2019, covering six countries: Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. The survey includes interviews with almost 4,700 Roma and Travellers, collecting information on more than 8,200 individuals living in their households. IES Postdoctoral Researcher Serena D’Agostino is the author of the Country Report on Belgium, in which she outlines that the access to both justice and education is particularly problematic for Roma and Travellers. Travellers children are, for instance, highly affected by the existing Dutch and French speaking education systems, where the lack of inclusive education based on case-by-case assessments contributes to their marginalisation. She also highlights that in the reported period the evictions of Travellers have repeatedly occurred in the three Belgian regions - such as in July 2019, when the commune of Anderlecht (Brussels) sent in police to clear out a site where some 30 people, including ten children and babies, resided. 

The survey corroborates the findings of reports by international organisations and civil society. Policymakers can use the survey data to formulate and monitor responses at EU and national levels and to shape an EU policy framework on Roma inclusion. Roma and Travellers have a long history of experiencing discrimination, persecution and exclusion in Europe. “Roma are still being deprived of their basic human rights in Europe”, as the European Parliament underlined in its 2019 resolution on the post-2020 Strategic EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies and the fight against anti-Gypsyism. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) conducts regular surveys on the fundamental rights situation of Roma in the EU. It provides evidence to EU institutions and Member States to help fight discrimination and promote equal access to fundamental rights in the EU policy framework on Roma inclusion.

This report adds to this body of evidence by providing data on Roma and Travellers’ experiences of fundamental rights in practice in six Western European countries that, to date, comparable survey research has not extensively covered. As FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty states “The survey results show the urgent need for the post-2020 Strategic EU Framework for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation to accelerate Roma inclusion efforts that can break the vicious cycle of social exclusion, discrimination and poverty that contributes to such disturbing results.”. 

Roma and Travellers Survey 2019.

Country Report - Belgium