Antigypsyism in Europe

Antigypsyism is defined by the Council of Europe as a specific form of racism based on a belief in racial superiority over the gypsy people, expressed through violence, hate speech, stigmatisation and gross discrimination. It is characterised in that when it occurs: 1) it is systematic (accepted by much of the community); and 2) it is historically and geographically persistent (it remains constant over time).

This persistence is recorded in the report Roma in 10 European Countries published last October by the FRA (the EU Fundamental Rights Agency). The report quantifies how racism against the gypsy population has not only not fallen in Europe since 2016, but has in fact increased. In some countries the rise has been alarming, such as in Portugal and the Czech Republic. In others, the increase has been more moderate, but similarly concerning, such as in Greece and in Spain, where 1 gypsy in 3 feels discriminated against when looking for work, housing or education.

The figures behind this discrimination indicate that antigypsyism is structural in our society. It is not confined solely to neo-Nazi parties and groups (in Europe there are 248; in Spain, 35); nor even to parties of the far right. The rejection of gypsies is systemic, including in the Basque Country. According to the report Neurtu 2022 by the Ikuspegi Observatory, in a survey of the Basque population, when asked whether they would rent their home to a gypsy, 4 in 10 people would not.

The Spanish Penal Code has since July 2020 included antigypsyism as a hate crime.