The governing Fidesz party’s parliamentary group said setting up “ghettos” is not the answer to the problems raised by Jobbik, after the main opposition Socialists charged Fidesz with showing indifference to what they called Jobbik’s “anti-democratic” views.
Csanad Szegedi, an MEP for Jobbik, told a press conference on Wednesday that the first “public order zone”, a cordoned off area where residents would be registered and kept under surveillance by a local gendarmerie, should be set up in the northeastern city of Miskolc. The proposal aims at “sealing off criminal elements” while forcing them to “integrate”, Szegedi said. Jobbik also called for the establishment of self-sustaining prisons, where the inmates would have to pay for their own sustenance costs.
Jobbik leader Gabor Vona told the same press conference that the integration of Hungary’s Roma population had failed over the past twenty years and Jobbik proposes sending Roma children to boarding schools where “segregation would be a more productive educational tool.”
The number of Roma, the largest minority, in Hungary is estimated to be around 640,000. Roma pupils, the most part from poor families, still face discrimination in the country’s schools and are often segregated, in spite of the programmes of successive governments to reverse the situation.
Szegedi said that Roma families living illegally in Lyukovolgy, a northwestern suburb of Miskolc, should be the first to be interned on vandalism charges, while Roma residents of the Avas, another Miskolc suburb, were also mentioned as potential targets to be displaced. Szegedi said the move could be ordered by local councils as part of forced evacuation procedures.
He added that residents could return to the city upon approval of a council set up by the authorities, if they educate their children regularly and participate in public works programmes.
Vona said that Hungary’s biggest domestic problem was the co-existence of “Roma and Hungarians” and that this was an issue no political force was ready to face in earnest.
”We need new solutions if we are to avoid civil war,” Vona said, adding that a parliamentary committee should be set up to oversee the problems of Roma integration and that Hungary should take up this issue during its presidency of the European Union next year.
Laszlo Teleki, a member of the Socialist party presidium, said Viktor Orban’s Fidesz government had not distanced itself from Jobbik’s xenophobic remarks despite repeated calls from the Socialists to do so. He said if Fidesz will not take a stand, they would complain to the European Union about the government’s “cynical silence regarding issues causing major threats to democracy”.
Fidesz in a statement called on Jobbik to “examine Hungary’s constitution” before making such “outrageous propositions”. It added that the solution is “not to set up ghettos, but to have strict laws and a strong police force.