20.09.2016 Roma are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in accessing their free movement and residence rights in some Member States

by John Trajer, ERIO on September 20th, 2016

The European Parliament (EP) has published a study “Obstacles to the right of free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families: Comparative analysis” assessing compliance with selected provisions of Directive 2004/38/EC (pertaining to the right of free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families) in nine EU Member States (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK).

This document, commissioned by the EP’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs (at the request of the LIBE and PETI Committees), synthesises nine in-depth studies conducted by national experts in each of the selected Member States. It covers both the transposition and practical implementation of selected provisions of the Free Movement Directive, building on the 2008 European Commission report and the 2009 Study commissioned by the European Parliament. It also offers a number of recommendations for the European Parliament, the European Commission, and EU Member States.

The stated aim of the study is to identify “the main persisting barriers to free movement” for EU citizens and their family members. Its key findings state that Article 14 (on the retention of the right to residence) and Article 27 (on restrictions to entry and residence on grounds of public policy, security and health) are the most problematic provisions of the Directive in the nine Member States.

Under “legal or practical instances of discrimination” in accessing the rights guaranteed by the Directive, the Roma are identified as a “particularly vulnerable” ethnic group in some Member States. Discrimination is reported in access to employment, education, financial services, housing and social protection. Roma have also been prevented from registering in other Member States, or from living in caravans, and this has resulted in evictions, expulsions and deportations.

The study provides numerous examples of Roma discrimination in these areas across the sample of national studies. It also highlights how these discriminatory obstacles directly contravene a number of provisions of EU legislation, namely Article 24 of the Directive (pertaining to equal treatment of non-nationals), Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (pertaining to non-discrimination), and Article 10 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.