The study will add a crucial dimension to the understanding not only of so-called objective push and pull factors that prompt and attract Roma to migrate, but also of the internal social and economic organisation of the migrating community itself and the development of transnational networks that support it. At the same time we wish to examine and analyse social and political reactions to the settlement of Roma migrants at the level of the local community and local residents, local and national media, public services such as schools, police, and social workers, and local and national policy-makers. We focus on Roma migrants from Romania, which have been the most conspicuous group of Roma migrants and the one that is surrounded by most public controversy. We examine Roma migrant communities in the UK, Spain, Italy, and France, which have been the principal target countries of Roma migrants from Romania since 2007. We extend our comparative survey of Roma migrant communities to their origin communities in Romania, in order to investigate the causes of migration and its effect on family and relations left behind. We also consider the formation of transnational networks of Roma migrants that cover two or more of these countries.
The study will be combined with a pilot engagement scheme run by a local authority – Manchester City Council. The scheme will introduce measures for capacity-building within the community, provisions for advice and support services and the creation of a consultation forum that will allow Roma migrants to take part in planning and decision-making processes affecting their community. These measures will be monitored by a team that combines Roma assistants in the role of outreach workers and academic partners. Measures will be assessed for their degree of success in offering both Roma and local services and authorities an opportunity to remove tensions and to support community cohesion. Their impact will be compared with the situation in those communities where no targeted measures are offered. The project will thus be in a position to offer a comparative assessment of the situation of Romanian Roma migrants in a European perspective, to make policy recommendations based on proven examples of good practice, and to forward assessment criteria for good practice.