In January 2014, European Union restrictions on Romania and Bulgaria were lifted, meaning citizens of those countries were free to travel and work throughout the EU. This inspired anger in wealthier countries like the UK, where people anticipated a flood of migrants looking to take advantage of relatively generous welfare systems. This anger was directed most fiercely at the Roma.
Europe’s largest ethnic minority — also known as gypsies — has long endured bigotry and abuse. This year, they’ve been a boon to rightwing politicians who’ve used them to garner support for anti-immigration policies and achieve significant electoral victories.
VICE News examines the so-called “Roma influx” by visiting a Roma community in northern England, then traveling to Romania to meet a group of Roma who have just been evicted from their homes and don’t have the money to leave the country to seek out better lives.