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The Hungarian government’s decision to provide job opportunities instead of welfare to the Roma community has significantly reduced Roma unemployment over the past decade, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said. Government programmes aimed at helping the Roma between 1990 and 2010 proved unsuccessful, but 2010 marked the start of a new era in Roma policy, Gergely Gulyás told an event marking International Romani Day.

One of the lessons to be learned from the past decade, he said, was that the principle of subsidiarity was especially important in Roma communities. In order for a scheme to be successful, it had to have “local legs”, Gulyás said. The government is looking for partners who can identify the opportunities of government spending on helping the Roma community, he said. Gulyás said there was still much to be done to close the opportunity gap between Roma and non-Roma Hungarians. But, he added, there was reason to hope that after another decade like the past one, the Roma community could also benefit from Hungary’s economic progress.