Friday, September 17, 2010

Roma, on Move, Test Europe’s ‘Open Borders’

New York Times
September 16, 2010

This city is full of stark, Soviet-era housing blocks, and the grimmest among them — gray towers of one-room apartments with communal bathrooms and no hot water — are given over to the Roma population.

Roma like Maria Murariu, 62, who tends to her dying husband in a foul-smelling room no bigger than a jail cell. She has not found work in five years.

“There is not much for us in Romania,” she said recently, watching her husband sleep. “And now that we are in the European Union, we have the right to go to other countries. It is better there.”

Thousands of Romania’s Roma, also known as Gypsies, have come to a similar conclusion in recent years, heading for the relative wealth of Western Europe, and setting off a clash within the European Union over just how open its “open borders” are.