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Roma Union Party comments on government’s first year in office

The government's first year in office has been marked by stagnation and literal degradation of the Roma ethnic minority, František Tonko, the head of the Roma Union Party (SRÚ) told the TASR newswire on July 18, saying the status of Roma has deteriorated and poverty and hunger are commonplace among many families. "The government is about to clamp down on Roma, which I disagree with, because Roma also want to be a benefit to society. You can't do this by distributing E-pay cards to socially-excluded fellow citizens," said Tonko.

The government's first year in office has been marked by stagnation and literal degradation of the Roma ethnic minority, František Tonko, the head of the Roma Union Party (SRÚ) told the TASR newswire on July 18, saying the status of Roma has deteriorated and poverty and hunger are commonplace among many families.

"The government is about to clamp down on Roma, which I disagree with, because Roma also want to be a benefit to society. You can't do this by distributing E-pay cards to socially-excluded fellow citizens," said Tonko.

Tonko predicted that the introduction of the E-pay cards will lead to an increased crime rate among Roma.

"A hungry person is a very dangerous person. The government hasn't considered the introduction of E-pay cards properly. This is a ruinous move against the Roma," said Tonko.

The E-pay cards will be issued to socially-disadvantaged people in eastern Slovakia this summer. The socially-disadvantaged, mostly of Roma ethnicity, will be able to use the cards to pay for food, clothing, and other goods from their basic needs allowance, child benefits, contributions on the birth of a child and other social benefits.

The government said the introduction of the E-pay cards is designed to fight against usury in the Roma communities and ease problems in managing financial resources. There are about 180,000 Slovaks receiving the basic needs allowance at this time, TASR wrote.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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