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Invisible Edges of Citizenship: Re-addressing the position of Romani Minorities in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - InviCitRom (Invisible Edges of Citizenship: Re-addressing the position of Romani Minorities in Europe)

Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-08-31

The InviCitRom MSCA research project (“Invisible Edges of Citizenship: Readdressing the Position of Roma in Europe”) addressed the position of Roma as citizens in Europe. While EU and its Member States developed comprehensive fundamental rights instruments (such as the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights), Roma remained Europe’s most ethnically discriminated and socio-economically disadvantaged minority. The question, therefore remained, why is it Roma who are predominantly citizens, remain on the margins of their states? I argued that to get a different perspective on Romani minorities in Europe, their position should be investigated as the position of citizens. The project employed interdisciplinary qualitative approaches from international and European studies, sociology and law (in particular socio-legal studies) and combined them with theoretical conceptualization from citizenship studies (in particular global citizenship studies). The project developed two news theoretical concepts in order to scrutinise the underlying question: ‘invisible edges of citizenship’ and the ‘fringes of citizenship’. The overall objective of the project was to develop an approach based on citizenship studies to understand the civic marginalization of Roma in Europe.
"The Researcher (with the support of the Supervisor and the KU Leuven team) conducted research on how civic marginalization affects Roma in Europe. This research included several different components from socio-legal analysis of relevant documents (such as minority and citizenship legislation as well as EU's soft law such as Framework Programme of National Roma Integration Strategies) and conducted fieldwork in several EU member states (Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, France) where she cooperated with Romani and pro-Roma NGO Representatives to get a better understanding on how citizenship policies and legislation affect the position of Roma but with it also the citizenship itself as a whole. The project also included researcher's training activities for further inclusion in the international academic sphere and dissemination strategies with the policymakers and NGOs. The research was presented in top world universities on three continents (Europe, North America and Australia). The researcher became a member of the European Network on Statelessness and external collaborator of the Global Citizenship Observatory (European University Institute). She also became a Program Committee Member of the Association of Nationalities Studies Convention (Harriman Institute, Columbia University).
In the frame of the project a journal article entitled ""Roma in Times of Territorial Rescaling: An Inquiry into the Margins of European Citizenship"" in the Ethnopolitics Journal (2019, Vol. 18, Is. 4)."
"The project offered a novel perspective on the position of Romani minorities: instead of primarily focusing on Roma as an ethnic minority or as a socio-economically disadvantaged group. As stipulated in the original research proposal: “The main objective of the research is to introduce and examine a new theoretical concept of invisible edges of citizenship to explain how the marginalized position of Roma is being perpetuated, both in their own states as well as in those places where they migrate; their migrant status is primarily dependent on their citizenship status. Going beyond the study of Roma marginalisation as a product of macro-societal transformations, I will investigate how this practice is structurally embedded within different state systems and their mechanism to position their own citizens according to their perceived ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, etc. through seemingly neutral regulations. Therefore, these invisible edges do not present themselves as direct discrimination of Roma. But these are usually different institutional mechanisms that indirectly position Roma in-between in a liminal space, where the boundary between inclusion and exclusion based on citizenship is blurred"".

The project has a potential impact on the EU policies in regards to Romani minorities as its main scientific results were (will be) published that could affect the policies that will be drafted after the conclusion of the EU Framework on the National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. The project also has potential on affecting broader citizenship policies and policies around statelessness (which is on the agenda of UN 2014-2024 Global Action Plan to End Statelessness)."
Julija Sardelic research presentation at the ASN Convention in New York