New plenipotentiary for Roma communities appointed

THE CABINET has approved Ľudovít Galbavý, nominated to by Deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič, as new government plenipotentiary for Slovakia's Roma communities on August 19.

THE CABINET has approved Ľudovít Galbavý, nominated to by Deputy Prime Minister Dušan Čaplovič, as new government plenipotentiary for Slovakia's Roma communities on August 19.

According to Čaplovič the appointment of the new government plenipotentiary is to increase effectiveness and coordination of the government's activities aimed at Roma-related issues and of its systemic measures taken to improve the position of Roma inhabitants and their integration in the society, the SITA newswire reported.

Galbavy, as former police director in Nitra, has experience in working with the Roma. Presently he works at the social sciences and healthcare department of the Nitra-based University of Constantine the Philosopher and lectures at the Institute of Romologic Studies, SITA wrote.

Čaplovič said he decided for Galbavý mainly because of his years-long experiences with the Roma communities as well as professional predispositions.

“He’s got experience also from managerial positions, he is a good manager and I asked about him also at the faculty, to the dean,” the TASR newswire quoted Čaplovič.

The Roma organisations in Slovakia claim they are willing to cooperate with Galbavý even though they do not know his very much. The head of the Roma Initiative of Slovakia Alexander Patkoló recommended the new plenipotentiary to organise a roundtable of the Roma leaders and organisations as soon as possible to decide how to solve the Roma issues, SITA reported.

Ladislav Richter from the Council of Roma communities NGOs believes Galbavý will be unbiased and just, as he is not connected to any Roma group.

Stano Daniel from the Institute of Roma Public Policy said it doesn’t matter who takes this post at the moment.

“The office is set in such way that the plenipotentiary has no power for any significant interventions, changes or systemic issues,” he told SITA.

The plenipotentiary’s office was established by the Mikuláš Dzurinda government and the first plenipotentiary Vincent Danihel was appointed in 1999 by the then-deputy-PM Pál Csáky, who also later recalled Danihel for alleged conflicts. He was replaced by Klára Orgovánová, who was recalled by the present government in June 2007 for differing opinions about solving the Roma problems. Anina Botošová, who succeeded Orgovánová in the post, resigned from the post in June 2009 after the NGOs of the Roma minority in Slovakia, the Union of the Roma in Slovakia (URS), accused her of assigning two grants for a civic association whose registered office is identical with her home address. She said she received a phone-call from the deputy PM Dusan Čaplovič after the accusations asking her to resign, and so she did. Čaplovič denied this.

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