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Main opposition party urges measures to help Roma integration

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 27th of April 2011   Source: MTI


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The main opposition Socialists have prepared a set of measures intended to ease the tension between Roma communities and the rest of the population in several Hungarian towns and villages, the party's leader Attila Mesterhazy told a press conference on Wednesday.

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Mesterhazy said a bill containing such measures would be put to parliament as soon as possible. The measures include releasing 35 billion forints (EUR 132m) in funds earlier frozen at the Interior Ministry, withdrawing cuts in police budgets, restoring public works schemes, reverting to the earlier mandatory schooling age of 18 and starting Roma integration programmes in the country's most disadvantaged regions.

 

The proposal comes in wake of a clash between radical nationalists and the local Roma population of Gyongyospata, north Hungary, in which four people were injured late on Tuesday. The town was the site of a paramilitary training camp organised near the Roma neighbourhood over the Easter holidays. Nearly 300 Roma women and children were helped to leave town for the duration of the training last weekend. Authorities reinforced police protection in the town to keep order.

 

Mesterhazy said "it is the government that is primarily responsible for the crisis that has developed in Gyongyospata, since keeping law and order is the duty of the state." He said that since law enforcement had not been efficient enough the Socialists urge the adoption of a comprehensive set of measures for responding to the problems.

 

The Socialists also propose setting up a roundtable for negotiating Roma-related issues and helping integration, Mesterhazy said. He added that programmes should be geared for the 33 most disadvantaged small regions in the country.

 

He declined to comment on the one-million-forint donation (EUR 3,800) former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany had made earlier in the day to the Roma community in Gyongyospata.



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