Information on the Roma in the case of Greece

Greece only recognises the Muslim minority residing in Western Thrace, which consists of small numbers of Roma alongside other ethnicities. Religion being the common ground, in other words, non-Muslim Roma groups are not recognised in Greece. As an outcome of this non-recognition on an ethnic basis, the number of Greek Roma is reported in contradictory ways. While the European Commission estimates that the number of Roma in Greece is approximately 265,000,2 the previous Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stated in 2019 that there are 371 communities of 110,000 Roma in Greece. The population of Roma in Greece is scattered and consists of heterogeneous, mostly
contrasting groups with different levels of integration.4 Among the Roma communities in Greece, there are Roma who participate in the political, economic and social development of local communities.

On the other hand, most of the rest of the Roma are excluded, concentrated in substandard settlements, and rarely participate in the political system. Politically active Greek Roma, based on a Pan-Hellenic, unanimous decision made in the spring of 2001in Thessaloniki, have self-identified as “just Greeks”.

Key problems

Formally, Roma, as equal citizens, have rights and obligations as defined by the Greek Constitution and laws. However, this does not go beyond formal equality. The majority of
Greek Roma live in higher degrees of poverty and of social exclusion than non-Roma. Currently, most Greek Roma suffer from inequalities in the fields of housing, education, health care and employment due to their ethnic background, and they face discriminatory behaviour from state officials and the public.

Discrimination against Roma is prevalent in Greece and yet, the Greek state has not ratified Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights
and Fundamental Freedoms. The laws currently in place are not implemented satisfactorily and police and judges frequently fail to take racist motivation into consideration when investigating hate crimes. Discrimination also manifests itself through the educational and residential segregation of Greek Roma as well as through the increased rates of racist attacks against them. Also, socially vulnerable groups such as Roma have been targeted and scapegoated in a climate of heightened public tension over unemployment and austerity.

Roma Civil Monitor Coordinators:

NGO coalition members:

RCM 1 (2017-2020) Greece Reports:

Roma Civil Monitor (2017) Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategies in Greece: Focusing on structural and horizontal preconditions for successful implementation of the strategyENGLISH 

Roma Civil Monitor (2018) Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategy in Greece: Assessing the progress in four key policy areas of the strategy ENGLISH – GREEK

Roma Civil Monitor 2017-2020 country fiche: Greece