Hungary has done much for the integration of the Roma and the poor, Vice-President of the European Parliament Lívia Járóka said in an interview with daily Magyar Nemzet. Referring to a recent court verdict that awarded damages in connection with the segregation of Roma students in the locality of Gyöngyöspata, dating back to 2003, she criticised NGOs that travelled there “just to make a show”. She said the same NGOs had been silent on the matter under the previous left-wing government. An NGO should only interfere in Roma interest representation if it can effectively contribute, she added.
Járóka, the first Roma vice-president of the EP, said Hungary’s Fidesz-led government had recognised the problems linked to segregation and had been “successfully seeking answers since 2010”. “Over ten years we have built something that they now want to destroy,” Járóka said, adding that it is “unethical” to paint the situation in dark colours on the basis of affairs like the one in Gyöngyöspata. Insisting that she had always represented all Roma, not only those who support Fidesz, she said that even if the situation were imperfect, the Fidesz government had made major progress in reintegrating Roma children.
Járóka said she saw the potential in Gyöngyöspata and its region to set up a pilot project, possibly with EU help. She added that she had invited several EU commissioners to visit the Roma slums there and work has started in parliament to review national Roma strategies. There are significant delays in Hungary’s neighbouring countries and the Western Balkans, too, which need to be addressed, she said.