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Slovak President Kiska visits anti-extremist event and Romani settlement on the same day

28.5.2017 12:12
Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic (PHOTO:  Katarzyna Czerwińska, Wikimedia Commons)
Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic (PHOTO: Katarzyna Czerwińska, Wikimedia Commons)

"The failure to resolve Romani issues means it's smooth sailing for extremism, and that is the worst thing that can happen," Slovak President Andrej Kiska said according to news server aktuálně during a visit to Spišské Podhradí on 22 May where, besides meeting with the town leadership, he also met with staffers of the education center Nano Nagle, which aids Romani children, and visited a Romani settlement in Roškovce. "Modern Slovakia is almost 25 years old and during that time we have not done enough about Romani issues."

"After 25 years, we still see makeshift dwellings without electricity and running water and people living in undignified conditions," Kiska said. "Very often we have heard of aims and plans, but no actual results can be seen."

Kiska praised the work of the volunteers, the third sector, the church, and the mayors of municipal departments and whole cities who have managed to resolve Romani people's issues in their towns. "We see many successful projects that manage to aid Romani people, but despite that, we as a society are incapable of setting ourselves clear aims, of finding examples that work, and applying them to all of Slovakia," he said.

The Slovak President also recalled that Slovakia has been given EUR 450 million to resolve Romani people's issues by 2020. He said he believes roughly 400 000 Romani people currently live in the country.

"If the Roma are not doing well, then neither is Slovakia," Kiska said during his visit to the settlement of Roškovce, pointing out that 10 years ago as many as 60 % of such children attended the "special schools" because they were automatically sent to them by administrators. "That is no longer the rule."

"The proportion [of Roma in special education] is currently lower today," Kiska said. Ten years ago there was 100 % unemployment in the Romani settlements of Slovakia, but that is also no longer the case.

"The failure to resolve Romani issues means it's smooth sailing for extremism and that is the worst thing that can happen," Kiska emphasized, who also attended an assembly convened by opponents of extremism in the town of Banská Bystrica. Those attending the event, which was organized by the civic association Forgotten Slovakia (Zabudnuté Slovensko), chose to assemble beneath the windows of the Office of the Regional Governor there, who is also the leader of the fascist People's Party-Our Slovakia (LSNS).

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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