Social inclusion policies are never merely ‘transplanted’ or ‘transferred’ from one context to another; rather, they are always ‘translated’, transforming meanings and power relations. Understanding the European Union’s (EU’s) ‘social inclusion policies’ as a governmental device, seeking to create a ‘techno-managerial order’ of strategies, targets, indicators, and projects, we explore the on-the-ground practices deriving from policies designed to promote the social inclusion of Roma in contemporary Serbia. Through analysis of EU-funded projects implemented by groups in ‘civil society’, the so-called black box of policy implementation, we explore how abstract policy ‘fictions’ both constitute, and are constituted by, social relations, diverse actors, and complex power relations in different locales. Rather than seeing the gap between policies and practices as a result of ‘unintended consequences’, the focus is on the active, and often instrumentalized and pragmatic, reshaping of projects in the context of neo-liberal austerity and ‘permanent reforms’. Only through greater attention to that which is often missed in formalistic accounts of policy implementation can a potential ‘policy otherwise’ be articulated, expanding the range of possible meanings of policies, revealing power relations more clearly, and ensuring that voices that are marginalized or distorted can be truly heard.