Research report

Roma right to effective participation in public affairs – between soft and hard law


  • Fribourg : IFF, 2015
English This report inquires if a special Roma right to political participation exist, in which framework, and, if so, how the lack of legal binding force impacts on its effectiveness.
The research found that the Roma right to political participation may be qualified as European soft law. It entrenches European states’ political, soft law obligations. But the soft character of most documents guiding states’ duties may be circumstantiated because international hard and soft law seems difficult to separate neatly. Moreover, in the framework of the European governance, soft law seems to be hardening as the soft law voluntary implementation is fuelled through interlocked political bargaining.
Framework Convention States Parties have a duty to consult Roma on inclusion policies while the procedures to ensure Roma influence in decision-making remain in the states margin of appreciation. Roma has the correlative right to be consulted on their own inclusion. For the Roma, the ‘public affairs affecting them’ covers all social fields of inclusion – a broader notion than the affairs affecting cultural identity which is usually associated with national minorities’ participation. Besides advancing Roma interests, the coordination of Roma inclusion policies fosters cooperation in the European governance framework. That is why, the European Roma inclusion policy seems as much a goal in itself as a mean for European integration.
Faculté de droit
Institut du Fédéralisme
  • English
Law, jurisprudence
Series statement
  • IFF Working Paper Online ; 3
Open access status
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