Memorandum: Violations of EU Law and Fundamental Rights by Bulgaria’s Discriminatory Treatment of Roma in the Area of Housing

Memorandum: Violations of EU Law and Fundamental Rights by Bulgaria’s Discriminatory Treatment of Roma in the Area of Housing

In this memorandum to the European Commission, the Equal Opportunities Initiative Association (EOIA) sets out evidence that Bulgarian government bodies discriminate on grounds of Roma ethnicity in the area of housing rights and that Bulgaria has failed to transpose and implement the European Union’s Race Equality Directive 2000/43/EC. The memorandum: 

  1. shows the practice of Bulgarian government bodies to target Roma for eviction and demolition of their only homes;
  2. shows evictions and demolitions that result from explicitly anti-Roma campaigns;
  3. sets out the legal arguments that the Bulgarian government practice constitutes direct discrimination, violating the race equality directive;
  4. shows that, even if the discrimination is indirect, such discrimination cannot be justified because, in particular, of the failure of Bulgarian legislation to ensure individual consideration by government bodies and courts of the necessity for and proportionality of forced demolitions and evictions, thereby violating the directive;
  5. shows that the Bulgarian government has failed to ensure that objections to eviction and demolition on grounds of racial and ethnic discrimination are admitted by courts, which is a failure to transpose Article 7 of the directive.

In light of the new evidence set out in this memorandum and that of the other national and international monitoring bodies, and the lack of adequate and effective response by the Bulgarian authorities, EOIA, Open Society Justice Initiative and the Open Society European Policy Institute consider the time has come for the European Commission to begin infringement proceedings against the Bulgarian government under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.