Changing human mobility of the East-Central European poor strata with special regard to the Roma

Room K
Monday, 31 August 2015
13.00 – 14.45
East-Central European poor strata, migration, minority issues, poverty

In the post-communist countries of East-Central Europe the regime change and the transition to post-industrial societies occurred virtually at the same time. The combined effects of the two processes resulted in numerous negative social and economic effects. The regime change, together with privatization, quickly revealed the problem of the hidden “inside-gate unemployment” of the former communist era. However, the fight against unemployment proved to be especially hard in the midst of altered circumstances. This can primarily be due to the fact that the low qualified masses, who were formerly employed as semi-skilled workers, were unable to integrate into the system of post-industrial production, which was based on the IT revolution (robotics, automation). As a result, the reintegration of the unemployed masses into the business sector became especially hard, and led to the creation of the “new poverty”. These problems occurred even more pronouncedly among the East-Central European Roma who are still undergoing a demographic boom, generally characterized by lower level of education and a distinct culture and subject to racial prejudice. As a consequence, following the European integration of transition countries (2004, 2007), the volume of migration from these countries to more prosperous Western-European countries increased significantly. This process as well as with the recent economic crisis (2008-2009) generated socio-economic tensions in Western Europe, and met with strong resistance from national governments (deportations of Roma migrants, attempts to restrict the free movement of labour within the EU), while the European Union has been unable to find an effective response to these problems. 

István Süli-Zakar
University of Debrecen, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development Planning
suli-zakar.istvan [at]
Mihály Tömöri
Institute of Tourism and Geography, College of Nyíregyháza
tomori.mihaly [at]

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