Roma exclusion not to be treated as an ethnic issue, says govt official

Budapest, November 12 (MTI) – Roma exclusion in Hungary will not be treated as an ethnic issue but as a social and socio-economic one, Zoltan Balog, the state secretary for social inclusion, told a conference in Budapest on Friday.

Balog said the government would insist that the issue should not be dealt with exclusively as an ethnic issue, and a key element in improving the prospects of the Roma would be its workforce-market programmes, which ensure that training is provided alongside work. The training given will underpin “smart and values-driven” work, he added.    

    He said a close relationship would be forged between teachers, employers and schools attended by Roma children, and this would serve as a basis for further development.

    Balog said Roma with regular jobs mainly worked in the building industry (70 percent) and the rest worked in the hotel and entertainment sector (30 percent). He noted that in 1985, 85 percent of Roma residents had regular work and ten years later this ratio had dropped to 15 percent.

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