Enhancing the visibility of the living conditions and status of the Roma in the Nordic countries

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 15.6.2016 11.14
News item

A Nordic seminar on the policy on Roma will bring together around 60 Nordic experts on Roma on Thursday 16th June. The theme of the seminar held in Helsinki is the inclusion of the Roma population in decision-making that affects their lives.

The seminar aims to enhance the visibility of the living conditions and status of the Roma in the Nordic countries and to improve cooperation between authorities and the Roma population. The seminar also provides an opportunity to exchange experiences on discrimination against the Roma and effective measures in pursuing a policy on the Roma among different Nordic countries.

The Roma are the largest minority in Europe. There are about 11,000 Roma people living in Finland while Sweden has 50,000 and Norway 500-700 Roma people. In the Nordic countries, the Roma are treated equally and the same systems in society concern them as well as the majority of the population.

The Roma population often have, however, a weaker position in society than the rest of the population. Their living conditions should be improved through an existing service system. To improve the living conditions, it is necessary both to recognize and enhance the visibility of the Roma in different life situations: as children, young people, senior citizens and disabled people. Long-term experience shows that for example their educational level has improved only after they themselves have been involved in developing and promoting matters.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is currently preparing the second National Policy on Roma for 2018-2020. Matters are prepared in close cooperation with the Roma population.

The status of mobile EU citizens will also be addressed during the Roma seminar. There is a great need to exchange experiences in the best practices which concern both those who arrive in Nordic countries on a temporary basis and those who wish to stay permanently. There is still relatively little experience from the latter group in Finland.

The Nordic seminar on the policy on Roma is one of the events under Finland's Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2016. The seminar is arranged by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in cooperation with the Advisory Board on Romani Affairs in Finland.

The Advisory Board which functions under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health was set up already 60 years ago.  One of its tasks is to promote the Roma's opportunities for participation in society and equality as well as to prevent discrimination. It also functions as a cooperation and expert body for the Roma population and authorities.

Corrected on 20th June the amount of roma people in Norway.

Inquiries:
Sarita Friman-Korpela, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 63349;
Viveca Arrhenius, Ministerial Counsellor for Social Affairs, +358 295 63286.      

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health website:
Roma policy

Advisory Board on Romani Affairs