Most Roma unemployed in Serbia

A huge majority of Serbia’s Roma families do not have a single member in permanent employment, a Roma organization head said on Thursday.

A Roma woman holds her child while she waits to be evacuated from a slum in Belgrade April 26, 2012. The Serbian authorities have started evicting Roma families from a slum in Belgrade’s Novi Beograd neighborhood to a new container settlement outside the capital. Since 2009, at least seven forced evictions of informal Roma settlements have taken place in the capital. REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic

Roma World President Turkijan Redzepi said some 27,000 of the country’s estimated 150,000 Roma are unemployed at present, adding that the number is probably much higher because many Roma do not register with the National Employment Service while others do not register as Roma.

“There are affirmative measures for Roma employment but there are no concrete results. Employers are not too interested in employing Roma and the Roma do not choose to start their own businesses,” he told around table debate on employment measures for Roma.

Redzepi said that the government set aside 1.2 billion Dinars last year to stimulate entrepreneurship with 14.4 million earmarked for the Roma community. Less than 150 Roma men and women applied for the funds, he said.