Although there are no detailed figures available, the group of Roma, whose estimated number is around 10 million, forms the biggest ethnic minority in the EU since its enlargement. Currently, such topics as fighting exclusion and discrimination of Roma as w ell as promoting their integration and participation have been given high priority on the EU agenda. There has not, however, been much research on the political will of minorities undertaken yet, particularly pertaining to the needs of Roma communities. Like wise, the fact that Roma representatives have been increasingly incorporated into national and European decision-making structures has also not yet surfaced in research. The subject of the proposed research to be undertaken in the framework of a Marie Curie Excellence Grant will significantly serve to fill this gap. The subjects of investigation in the study include: how the structures of political participation of Roma communities are incorporated in the political system of the majority societies; what pattern s of self-organisation among Roma communities exist; which factors have contributed to both a wider political participation among Roma communities and to national and European political networking. Access to European decision-making processes for Roma representatives will also be analysed. The research will focus on identifying the existing channels of involvement available to Roma elites in European policymaking agencies. Important points of consideration in the study include how Roma elites were incorporated into European organisations; what steps were taken to involve Roma elites in the drafting and implementing of European Roma policies; and what role mediation by Roma elites has played in the implementation of European programmes directed toward Roma communities.
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