Researching the causes and impact of socio-economic inequalities on national minority groups, understanding the prospects and limits of policies promoting equality of opportunity, researching the effectiveness of inclusion policies in education, and examining the barriers to achieving social justice for national minorities groups are central themes in the activity of the Equality and Inclusion Cluster.
Oftentimes national minorities find themselves in a vulnerable position, be it as an effect of socio-economic underdevelopment, social or geographic peripherality, stereotyping, racism, or a combination of these and other factors. The policy relevance for research focusing on issues relating to equality and inclusion cannot be overstated. In the context of the retreat of the welfare state – especially pronounced in the former socialist states – there is a need to understand the socio-economic impact on national minority groups, whether in terms of their participation to public life, access to educational or healthcare services, or their loss of identity. The rise in the number of racially motivated incidents and hate speech targeting Roma populations, as well the sometimes-extreme marginalisation of this group, speak volumes to the need for research-based improvements of anti-discrimination policies and inclusion strategies.