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EU to allocate millions for Roma in Slovakia, Sme reports

The European Union will allocate money to help Roma living in Slovakia. The country will receive €300 million from the 2014-20 budgetary period, which is 50 percent more than it has already provided to solve the Roma problems. Yet, nobody can say how the money will help improve the status of Roma in Slovak society or how much the country has already spent dealing with Roma issues, the Sme daily reported on July 1.

The European Union will allocate money to help Roma living in Slovakia. The country will receive €300 million from the 2014-20 budgetary period, which is 50 percent more than it has already provided to solve the Roma problems. Yet, nobody can say how the money will help improve the status of Roma in Slovak society or how much the country has already spent dealing with Roma issues, the Sme daily reported on July 1.

While politicians say they have already spent about €200 million, expert on Roma issues Daniel Škobla from the UNESCO development programme said that he considers this to be nonsense.

“The legend of €200 million was created in 2006 when the so-called complex attitude programme was prepared,” Škobla told Sme, explaining that it should have focused on allocating certain sums for projects for Roma. Yet, it has never been realised, but it “gradually started to live its own life”.

According to Škobla, the projects aimed at training appear to be inefficient, as their graduates have qualifications but no jobs. Some projects were misused by speculators and had nothing to do with the Roma. Labour Ministry spokesperson Michal Stuška confirmed to Sme that the ministry has registered several lawsuits and criminal motions in connection with these projects.

Also government plenipotentiary for Roma communities Peter Pollák said mistakes were made when allocating money from EU coffers. Rules on drawing subsidies are to be tougher, Sme reported.

Meanwhile, Pollák introduced his plan to increase the number of Roma in the police corps, and to make video recordings of police operations, the SITA newswire reported on June 28. According to him, this will make it possible to avoid situations similar to the police raid that was recently conducted in Moldava nad Bodvou, where police allegedly injured 30 Roma, including children. Fifteen people were detained.

After media reports of the raid emerged, several NGOs, including Amnesty International, the European Roma Rights Centre and the Slovak ombudswoman, asked for an immediate investigation of the incident, SITA wrote.

Source: Sme, SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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