The German government is planning to pass new legal provisions for asylum seekers. This would also facilitate the deportation of Roma people to their Eastern European countries of origin even though they face severe discrimination and persecution in these countries, as human rights organizations have shown. IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann therefore demands greater efforts to improve the social and economic integration of Roma in Europe.
IZA research provides evidence that working and living conditions are particularly dire for the Roma in countries like Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina which Germany intends to include in the “safe countries of origin” list. An article published in the IZA World of Labor examines the causes of the discrimination of Europe’s largest ethnic minority, particularly with regard to their labor market prospects and upward mobility. The findings illustrate that the Roma have faced enormous economic and social disadvantages in these countries for many years. They lack equal opportunity, for instance, in education, hiring, and pay.
Therefore, IZA Director Zimmermann calls on the German government to take this deplorable situation into account: “Rather than passing legislation that worsens the situation of Roma living in our country, Germany should promote an improved economic and social integration of this ethnic minority all across Europe.”
In early 2014, Zimmermann had discussed problems and possible solutions with Roma people and various stakeholders in Duisburg, one of the hot spots of Roma immigration to Germany. Over the past years IZA has also done substantial work for the European Commission including analyses and concepts aimed at improving the integration of ethnic minorities, especially the Roma, in Europe. “Greater integration efforts are not just a matter of moral and ethical concerns – they are also a must from a socio-economic perspective,” said Zimmermann.
Kahanec and Zimmermann have also edited the book “Ethnic Diversity In European Labor Markets: Challenges and Solutions” (Edward Elgar, 2011) with additional studies on the topic, including three IZA papers: