Some 10-15 million members of the Roma minority live in Europe; an estimated 6 million are citizens of the European Union. It was not until the 1990s that European Union institutions began treating Roma as an ethnic minority deserving of human rights protections. Concerns about mass migration of Roma from Eastern European countries where they face severe discrimination was one of the reasons the EU included protections for Roma among the conditions that candidate countries had to meet to qualify for consideration in its most recent rounds of enlargement. Those EU efforts have overlooked similar discrimination and neglect in western member states.

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