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Roma leaders agree with boarding schools

SEVERAL LEADERS of Slovak Roma political parties have said they agree with a proposal by EU ambassador to Slovakia Eric van der Linden, who recently received a rebuke from the European Commission for suggesting that Roma should be educated in boarding schools.

An NGO called European Roma Information Office even demanded that van der Linden leave his diplomatic post, accusing him of promoting the violent separation of Roma children from their parents. Van der Linden denied those allegations but the EU banned him from commenting on Roma issues.

In Slovakia, however, van der Linden's words have echoed positively among the Roma leaders, who think that the statements "have come at the right time and they are great", the head of the Slovak Roma Initiative, Alexander Patkoló, said.

Ladislav Fízik of an unofficial Roma body called the Roma Parliament also welcomed the idea, the Slovak daily SME wrote.

"[Van der Linden] named one possible form of solving the Roma issue. I don't see any problem with that. His statement may be a bit unfortunate because he did not specify which children it would include. I believe he did not mean small children, but teenagers," said Fízik.

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

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