EP Vice President Lívia Járóka for ROMEA TV: There are more Romani MEPs than people realize
"Our biggest challenge is to keep our children in the best education," said Lívia Járóka, first-ever Roma Vice President of the European Parliament (EP), in an interview for the Roma internet television station ROMEA TV. Speaking in Brussels during EU Roma Week, the EP Vice President said that her biggest success to date has been the adoption of the European Union's Roma Strategy.
"I was working for [the EU Roma Strategy] as a civil rights activist for 15 years, then as a politician since 2014, and it happened in 2011 under the Hungarian Presidency when the Council endorsed the European Roma Strategy," she said, adding that she works closely with pro-Roma MEPs and does her best to advocate for improvements to the lives of Roma people in the EU. Járóka was elected MEP for the FIDESZ party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has become a controversial figure lately.
"In my party, yes, they support me, but I have to get the support of even the far right in the [European] Parliament if I want to get a report supported by almost 100 % of the 756 MEPs," she described to ROMEA TV, saying that this was why she has now been appointed Vice President. "They wanted to get the Roma voice heard even more, so it's a good position to be in that [EPP] group, much better than to belong to any weaker parties which are not so strong to put it on the agenda."
"All the [EP] groups can be persuaded with one or other ideas and my job is to make them like each other and make a coalition for the Roma so that there is so many people supporting it in the Parliament that the Commission dares to put a document in front of the Council," she said, adding that there are more Romani MEPs than are publicly known. "Many Roma MEPs came up to me saying that they are Roma, this is how I learned that there are much more Roma MEPs in the Parliament than myself."
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