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Ministry rejects speculation on Roma exodus

THE SLOVAK Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family resolutely rejected speculation circulating in the Czech media suggesting that ongoing social reforms in Slovakia might be the reason behind the Slovak Roma’s "exodus" to the Czech Republic.

The Czech Hospodářske noviny daily reported on July 19 that while last year 129 Roma from Slovakia requested asylum in the Czech Republic, in the first half of this year that number had risen to 150, while 64 arrived last month, the SITA news wire reported.

Czech Interior Minister František Bublan commented that Roma migrants are coming from Slovakia due to social reforms in Slovakia.

Spokesman for the Slovak Labour Ministry Martin Danko denied a link between the Slovak Roma community's poor social situation and social reforms. He said that the problems of the Roma community have persisted for years and it is impossible to solve them in a year or two.

The ministry claims that the current government is the first in the last decade to implement a social policy towards the Roma and activate them instead of paying them high social benefits that only serve to worsen their situation. Currently over 120,000 people are involved in a project of activation work.

Moreover, the ministry has introduced school meals’ subsidies for Roma children and bought them school aids as well, with these subsidies going to over 80,000 pupils, Danko said.

The Hospodářske noviny cited Czech Interior Ministry and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) sources in writing that the major portion of
asylum applicants in the Czech Republic are from Slovakia.

IOM's Roman Krištof said that Slovakia is attempting to solve its problems at the expense of its neighbours.

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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