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Denmark failing at Roma integration, says EU

Lack of acceptance leads to lives of indolence, unemployment and crime


Mina Andreeva says Denmark needs to step up its Roma game (Photo: European Commission)

August 18, 2014
15:50

by Ray Weaver


The EU has criticised Denmark for doing a poor job integrating the estimated 10,000 Roma people who live in the country, according to Ekstra Bladet.

Two Roma families living in Helsingør were cited as examples of how failing to integrate into society created a criminal culture that permeates entire families and neighbourhoods.

Crime families
The two familes – Nika and Stallone – number in the hundreds, and many of them have been sent to prison for crimes committed throughout Denmark.

Laza Stallone, who last year slammed Helsingør’s efforts to support the Roma community, has been convicted of crimes several times, including a case in February in which he and two of his sons were found guilty of extortion and making death threats to a former employer.

The Nika family are also no stranger to northern courtrooms. Last year, Petar Nika was sentenced to 18 years in prison for 14 cases of theft, mostly by fraudulent means targeting the elderly and infirm. Other family members have been convicted of crimes ranging from theft and fraud to receiving stolen property.

Not enough money or numbers
In 2011, the European Commission ruled that all member states should develop a national strategy for Roma integration, noting that the group often fails to integrate. Denmark presented a revised Roma integration plan in April, but the EU said that it was weak. Some of the problem areas mentioned were: a lack of funds allocated for Roma integration, too few campaigns to tackle prejudices against Roma residents, and the inability of Danish authorities to measure the effectiveness of its integration efforts.

Denmark does not register Roma residents, so there is no overview of the number of Roma people living in the country, or where they live or their social situation.

“The lack of precise knowledge of the situation of Roma people makes it difficult to assess the social and economic impacts of the Danish initiatives,” Mina Andreeva, the EU justice spokesperson, told Ekstra Bladet.

“We need Denmark to submit documentation on how these measures work in practice.”



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