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EC has no comment on van der Linden's Roma statements

THE EUROPEAN Commission has still not issued any comments on statements by Eric van der Linden, its ambassador to Slovakia, who allegedly proposed that children from poor and uneducated Roma communities be taken from their parents and placed in boarding schools to enhance their education.

According to the European Roma Information Office (ERIO), based in Brussels, van der Linden said this in an interview on Dutch television on May 1.

Although van der Linden admitted that it sounded over-simplified, he said that by staying of in boarding schools from Monday morning to Friday afternoon Roma children would learn to identify with the European system of values.

According to ERIO, van der Linden went so far as to suggest financial encouragement for parents reluctant to go along with the scheme.

Van der Linden said that, as a result, a new generation of Roma children would grow up more tightly knit into society.

ERIO sent an open letter to the EC, urging the commission to recall van der Linden from his mission in Bratislava.

The EC declined to comment, saying they would wait for an exact translation. "Without knowing exactly what the ambassador said in that interview... we want to stress the importance of education. But we in no way intend to force anyone to do something what they don't want to do," an EC spokesman told the news wire TASR, adding that the integration of the Roma community was a long-term process requiring great effort.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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