Slovakia's Schengen entry does not trigger Romany migration wave
Slovakia's Schengen entry last December has not triggered a wave of Romany migration to European Union countries and Romanies are not even leaving for Canada that recently abolished visas for Slovaks, mayors of east Slovak municipalities have told CTK.
Many EU countries feared immigration of Romanies from eastern Europe in the past.
"Many Romanies left several years ago, now there is no palpable movement," Jozef Kocan, mayor of Pavlovce nad Uhom, told CTK.
He said about 2500 of them have a permanent residence in the municipality and about 1000 work abroad.
Kocan said the Romanies left in the past mainly for England. Romanies were leaving for EU countries mainly after Slovakia entered the European Union in 2004.
Jozef Tomkovic, mayor of Sady nad Torysou, said he did not notice any outflow of Romanies either.
He said a part of Romanies left a few years ago, mainly for Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. About 10 percent of Romanies left the municipality then.
"Neither Canada, nor European Union countries. Those who wanted to leave have already left," Ladislav Sana, mayor of the Lunik IX neighbourhood in Kosice, said.
Some 5700 Romanies officially live in the largest Romany housing estate in Slovakia, but Sana said about 7000 people stay there in winter.
He said Romanies from Lunik IX left to work in Germany, Britain and Belgium, some of them with families. A part of them regularly return to Slovakia after a few months spent abroad, he said.
In the past year some EU countries registered waves of Romany immigrants from Slovakia who applied for asylum abroad.
They travelled to Britain, Finland, Belgium, the Czech Republic and other countries.
The number of Romanies living in Slovakia is estimated at several hundred thousand. Their living conditions are often very bad. A majority of Romanies are jobless for long periods.
In some settlements in east Slovakia they live in shanties that are not heated and that do not have water.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) some 6.2 million Romanies live in Europe, 4.6 million of them in the central and eastern parts of the continent.
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