Dr. Iulius Rostas publishes "Why Europe's Roma Policies Fail"

March 5, 2020

Despite the increasing number of policy measures and initiatives targeting the Roma in Europe, their position has continued to worsen. This condition embodies a policy paradox that requires answers from policymakers, activists and academics, writes Dr. Iulius Rostas in his new book, "Why Europe's Roma Policies Fail".

The book reveals a prime cause of the limited impact of these policies on the Roma’s situation, which is the lack of ethnic relevance of these policies, that is, their failure to take into consideration adequately the crucial importance of Romani ethnic identity as a causal factor. "My work locates collective identity, specifically that of Roma in Europe, key to understanding power relations within European Union with regard to policymaking," says Rostas.

By using critical theories - Critical Race Theory, policy design theory, and classical democratic theory - across different disciplines and fields of studies – racial and ethnic studies, policy studies, and Romani studies - he develops a new theoretical framework for analyzing policymaking toward Roma by bringing new perspectives on ethnic identity, policy studies and Romani studies alike. In providing answers to the big question - why policies towards Roma are failing - he focuses on the policy making process, the social construction and categorization of Roma by different actors within this process, he analyses the policy concepts employed by policy makers over the last twenty five years, the policy instruments used and the institutional arrangements that govern the Roma related issues. For a comprehensive approach to policy formulation and identity, he defined antigypsyism – a key concept in analyzing the current situation of Roma - its intellectual roots and different forms of its expression. Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania are serving as case studies for my interdisciplinary analysis. As a way forward, he stresses the need to re-conceptualize Roma as a politically insular minority in need of special protection and use deliberative methods to make sure their voice is heard during the policy processes.

Dr. Iulius Rostas is a Visiting Professor at the Central European University (Hungary) and the National School of Political Science and Administration (Romania). Between 2016 and 2019 he served as Chair of Romani Studies and Assistant Professor at Central European University. Previously, he was an Affiliated Fellow with the Institute for Advanced Studies at CEU, Senior Fellow with the Open Society Foundations Roma Initiatives Office and Visiting Lecturer at Corvinus University of Budapest. He has worked for the Open Society Foundations, the European Roma Rights Center and the Government of Romania and consulted the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the World Bank, the European Commission, USAID, the Council of Europe and the Roma Education Fund. Dr Rostas is the editor of “Ten Years After: A History of Roma School Desegregation in Central and Eastern Europe” (CEU Press, 2012) and in 2011 he published “Social Inclusion or Exclusion: the Rights of Persons Living with HIV in Moldova” (Cartier Publishing, 2011). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Critical Romani Studies journal (crs.ceu.edu). His latest book “A Task for Sisyphus: Why Policies towards Roma in Europe Are Failing” was published by CEU Press in 2019.