Roma in Estonia:
In Estonia, the Roma population is relatively small – according to the National Population Register, there are 649 people living in Estonia who self-identify as Roma. Unofficial data and international organisations suggest that the numbers are higher in reality and there are approximately 1,000-1,500 people of Roma origin in Estonia.
The Roma living in Estonia do not travel inside the country and are mostly sedentary. The current Estonian Roma population has been formed through immigration after the Second World War from the Soviet Union, mainly from Russia and Latvia. The Roma in Estonia have family ties in Latvia and also in Russia, so the community is not bound to state borders, and they largely communicate with Roma communities outside the country; yet self-identification as Estonian Roma (Estonska Roma) exists. Some 40% of the Roma in Estonia hold Estonian citizenship, 38% Latvian citizenship, 14% hold Russian citizenship, and 7% are stateless.
As the Roma population in Estonia is very small compared to other EU Member States, Roma are not seen as a separate target group in national integration policies. The main focus of integration policies is on the Russian-speaking Estonian permanent residents, most of whom are citizens of the Russian Federation or persons with undetermined citizenship. Integration of the Roma is an area that does not receive much attention in Estonia and there is not dedicated strategy for Rma equality, inclusion and participation. Roma integration is included a national policy document developed by the Ministry of Culture “COHESIVE ESTONIA: INTEGRATION, INCL. ADAPTATION 2022-2025” aimed at wider integration of people of various linguistic and cultural background.
Roma in Estonia face high level of unemployment that is caused by widespread prejudices against Roma and lack of education among the Roma. There are no official reports of incidents of work-related discrimination and there are no specific measures to fight antigypsyism in employment. Young Roma are aware of state services and trainings offered to jobseekers, but they do not believe that participating in trainings would guarantee employment.
There are no Roma settlements in Estonia, the Roma in Estonia are stationary and live in regular housing – sometimes in social housing, due to difficulties in finding suitable and affordable rental apartments. Those difficulties can be contributed to the overall state of the rental market as well as prejudice against the Roma.
The main problem in education is related to school attendance of Roma children. Roma children are no longer placed in special schools, but they often study on either individual or simplified curriculum because they have fallen behind due to poor school attendance.
RCM 2 (2021-2025) reports:
Roma Civil Monitor (2022) Civil society monitoring report on the quality of the national strategic framework for Roma equality, inclusion, and participation in Estonia. ENGLISH – ESTONIAN
Poster presenting main findings of the report (2022)
RCM 1 (2017-2020) reports:
Roma Civil Monitor (2017) Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategies in Estonia: Focusing on structural and horizontal preconditions for successful implementation of the strategy. ENGLISH – ESTONIAN
Roma Civil Monitor (2018) Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategy in Estonia: Assessing the progress in four key policy areas of the strategy ENGLISH– ESTONIAN