Affaires sociales

The Greek approach to slum clearance

The DIHAL continues its series of articles covering the current slum clearance situation in Europe, as well as their integration of Roma inhabitants in accordance with the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. Following a first publication regarding Austria, this brief overview covers the situation in Greece.

Overview and general approach: given the inappropriate living conditions and difficulties faced by Roma inhabitants, the Greek state intervenes in order to improve their material and economic situation as well as to promote their social inclusion. A Special Secretariat for Roma Social Inclusion is in charge of coordinating policies concerning the Roma population. It should be noted that Roma people are not recognized as a minority in Greece.


Roma population: 110 007 inhabitants in 371 settlements, as estimated by the spatial mapping done by the Special Secretariat (175.000 Roma people per the Council of Europe estimates).


Living conditions: identified settlements are classified based on material living conditions. As such, 74 settlements are considered highly degraded camps (type 1), 181 settlements are mixed camps (type 2) and 116 are degraded and socially excluded neighbourhoods (type 3).


The National Roma Inclusion Strategy: the strategy’s main goal is "to end social exclusion and to create the necessary conditions for the social inclusion of Roma residing lawfully in the country". The Special Secretariat’s action plan pursues three specific goals:

1. Improvement of living conditions and access to basic public utilities

2. Provision of integrated social services (employment, education, health)

3. Development of social dialogue through active participation of the Roma people


Housing: the Special Secretariat’s actions include transitory relocation and improvement of living conditions (including basic infrastructure and rent subsidy). Although the initial emphasis is put on improving living conditions, the Strategy embraces a holistic approach to social inclusion recognizing that its different pillars are interlinked.


Funding: national funding is determined on a case-by-case basis and according to the local needs (25 million euros). Specific interventions in highly degraded areas are also funded by European Structural and Investment Funds (approximately 11 million euros).


Dialogue with civil society: a board of experts has been established to provide reliable data and draft recommendations, bringing together representatives of the relevant ministries and members of the Roma community.  In addition, the Special Secretariat is in charge of implementing the EU co-funded programme « RomPlat » which promotes active participation of the Roma population.


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