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Controversy over comments about Roma by Hungarian far-Right leader

Budapest, 25.2.2011 16:29, (ROMEA)

Gábor Vona, chairman of the radical nationalist party Jobbik, has recently come under fire for comments made about Roma in Hungary.

During a parliament session on the 14th February, he said that a major problem in Hungary was the fast reproductive rate of the gypsy community.

The Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly László Kövér made no objection to this remark. When the Socialist chairman Attila Mesterházy later advised Kövér to take action against similar behaviour in the future, he was told by the Speaker to not commentate on how the session was being led or else he would not be allowed to speak.

Vona also spoke about the way in which gypsy crime, especially in the Borsod county, was causing people to live in a state of fear.

Whilst in parliament, the Jobbik leader was wearing the banned uniform of the Hungarian Guard, a paramilitary-style organisation he formed in 2007 but which was disbanded by the Metropolitan Court of Budapest in 2009 for activities that were deemed in contravention of the human rights of minorities.

This is not the first time that Vona has made such comments. At a speech at the end of January outlining the future strategies of his party, he expressed his view that it was essential to ‘slow the reproduction’ of Roma, promoting the idea of food stamps instead of financial benefits as a means to do so. This forms part of Jobbik’s intention to increase the number of Hungarian families and avoid Roma becoming ‘a majority in Hungary,’ even though the Romani community currently make up around 2% of the country’s total population.

In addition, he said that gypsy children should be educated in special boarding schools to break the cycle of crime that is passed on through generations in the gypsy community.

There have been strong reactions to Vona’s statements on the birth rate of Roma, with the current Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declaring that ‘unnecessary life has never been born.’ Green party Politics Can Be Different added that such comments against Roma or other groups like Jews cannot be tolerated in today’s Hungary.

At present, Jobbik is Hungary’s third largest party, with 3 seats in the European Parliament.It describes its aim as defending the interests of Hungary, with support for Hungarians living in bordering countries to achieve self-determination. Jobbik has faced allegations of being fascist and anti-Semitic but these have been denied by the party.

Minesh Patel, HungarianAmbiance.com, Politics.hu, indexmundi
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