Barriers to (Re)integration: The Roma Return to the Western Balkans.

    Research output: Book/ReportProject report


    The focus of this paper is the migration from and return of the Roma to the Western
    Balkan. This minority is distinctly marginalised and discriminated against across the
    region, and its return and (re)integration pose critical questions for migration and ethnic
    diversity scholars and policy makers. At the same time, Roma returns to the Western
    Balkans are part of a historical moment in the EU, characterised by high immigration and
    political pressure to respond to intense refugee flows. In this context, the problem with
    the ‘economic asylum’ of the Roma in different EU member states appears to be the
    access to the welfare system, not migration per se. The findings of this paper further
    suggest that the expectation towards the Roma to (re)integrate while they have a high
    tendency to be mobile and experience discrimination is linked to a hegemonic view of
    societies on minorities’ integration as the end-result of their movements. While the recent
    focus on vulnerability of returnees is a positive development, the data also indicate
    within-group differences that call for a needs-based approach to be adopted in policy and
    service provision. Nonetheless, across the board, transnational comparison is the lens
    through which (re)integration is seen, especially in the initial stages post-return. A crucial
    challenge for the Roma is adaptation after having experienced different lifestyles and a
    sense of dignity in the host countries in the EU, and reconciling their expectations with
    the standards they re-experience upon return to the Western Balkans. Time appears as a
    qualitative construct as it is the experience abroad rather than chronological time that
    impacts returnees’ attitudes towards (re)integration. In the context of a scarce state and
    fragmented non-governmental service provision at local, national and transnational
    levels, the idea of social entrepreneurship is an emerging one, with high potential to
    address (re)integration in a more holistic manner.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages32
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

    Publication series

    NameSCMR working paper series
    PublisherUniversity of Sussex


    • Roma
    • western Balkans
    • Return Migration
    • integration


    Dive into the research topics of 'Barriers to (Re)integration: The Roma Return to the Western Balkans.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this