Budapest Sun
Funds aim to integrate Roma minority

Apr. 27, 2000

Approximately $17 million in State funds have been set aside in hopes of better assimilating the Gypsy community into Hungarian society.

The Government sees poverty and other problems prevalent among the Roma as one of Hungary's most pressing problems, said Gábor Horváth, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We have been facing a great problem with the situation of Roma in Hungary and we want to help pursue their development," Horváth said.

The EU has stressed that while it supports the integration of Roma into Hungarian society, their desperate situation will not hamper Hungary's EU accession.

The Roma funding will be distributed through various departments. The Ministry of Justice, for example, will spend Ft100 million ($366,000) in the form of grants to Gypsy youths.

The Interior Ministry will provide Ft300 million ($1,098,000) to finance nurseries and schools involved in minority education.

Justice Minister Ibolya Dávid said the nation's laws will be reviewed to see if they contain clauses that may discriminate against Roma.

The Cabinet, however, does not intend to make a separate law against Roma discrimination.

Foreign Minister János Martonyi recently unveiled a French and English translation of a publication entitled State Measures in the Interest of Gypsies.

It intends to provide a statistically accurate, realistic overview of the situation of the Roma in Hungary, as well as details of all the efforts made by the State to promote their social integration.

With international attention focussing on the situation of Roma in Hungary, addressing this issue is critical, Martonyi said at the book launch.

"The situation of the Roma communities, the largest minority living in Hungary, differs in many respects from that of the other minorities in our country," Martonyi said.

"In the case of the Roma, social, employment, vocational training and educational problems are apparent to a greater extent. The social integration of the Roma is a question of both minority policy and social policy."

Original article