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Roma inclusion is an economic necessity, says state secretary

Resolving the Roma issue in Hungary is not simply a “humanitarian task” but an economic necessity as well, reports quoting state secretary in charge of social inclusion Zoltan Balog. The remarks were made at a youth camp event of Fidelitas, the youth chapter of governing Fidesz, in Siofok on Friday.

Challenged by Fidelitas vice-president Gergely Balogh about the Justice Ministry’s programme goals of giving jobs to 100,000 Roma and new trade qualifications to another 20,000, as well as ensuring to 10,000 Roma final exams and to another 5,000 a university degree, and providing for 150,000 healthcare screenings as being too ambitious Balog said he agreed.

But he said that “it was the prime minister himself who asked for making corrections and putting down these final figures.” Moreover, according to Balog, in Europe Hungary has the highest rate of Roma finishing primary school, but 70% of them find afterwards no employment and end up living on social benefits and family allowances.

He called it imperative to turn around the situation by helping the Roma become “tax paying citizens” or including them in public work schemes.