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World Bank official visits Romany community

The head of the World Bank's Department of Grants for Central and East Europe, Rosso Pavisa, paid a three-day visit to the eastern Košice region from November 15 to 17 to find ways in which the World Bank could help solve the Romany community's problems and provide support for development programmes.

After meeting Košice regional government head Štefan Vranovský, the World Bank representative praised some activities already running in Košice city, where, at the High School of Art, 70% of students are of Romany origin.

Pavis also met representatives of Romany NGO's and visited Letanovce, a Romany village in the Spišská Nová Ves district that has started to solve Romany problems by involving the Romanies themselves. He also visited the Košice suburb Lunik IX, which is the largest Romany settlement in Slovakia.

In late October, the European Union announced that it would be willing to offer five million euros ($4.8 million) next year for projects to help the Romany community in Slovakia. In 1999, the Slovak government allocated 15 million Slovak crowns ($400,000) for 64 projects for the Romany community, and it has supported another 46 projects aimed at education and self-help.

Over the past two years, the Romany community in Slovakia has attracted the attention of the international community after three major waves of Slovak Romanies arrived in European countries seeking asylum.

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