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Some Slovak Romanies will never leave poor settlements - minister

Bratislava, 13.7.2008 21:32, (ROMEA)

Some inhabitants of the deprived Romany settlements in Slovakia will probably never move to better housing and will spend the whole life "without running water and water closet," Slovak Deputy Prime Minister for ethnic minorities Dusan Caplovic told CTK.

About 400,000 Romanies live in the five-million Slovakia, two-thirds of whom in the east.

About one-third of Slovak Romanies live in dilapidated cabins on the outskirts of towns and villages without electricity, sewerage and water pipeline.

"We are sometimes trying to move them to the environment where they are not able to live. There are Romanies who quickly destroy a house or a flat," Caplovic said.

"They must spend the rest of their life [in their poor settlements]," Caplovic said, commenting on the Romanies who are not able to adapt to modern living conditions of the majority population.

The construction of housing for all inhabitants of poor Romany settlements in Slovakia would cost some 11 billion Slovak crowns, according to previous estimates.

Caplovic did not say how much the current Slovak government would earmark for these purposes.

The highest subsidies for Romany flats of some 217 million crowns were allocated in 2005.

Caplovic also cited positive examples of cooperation between municipal authorities and Romanies from settlements who received municipal housing.

A study on housing for Romanies, worked out by the Milan Simecka Foundation, also refers to positive experience with Romanies who have managed to care of their new flats, which refutes the general prejudices, saying Romanies will damage the allocated housing.

The EU might also help solve the situation of Romanies in Slovakia.

Caplovic said previously Slovakia could draw some 6.5 billion Slovak crowns from EU funds for Romany projects by 2013. However, it is not sure what share can be spent on the construction of flats and houses for Romanies.

Experts point out that in spite of high costs, it is advantageous for the state to provide better housing for Romanies. Unsuitable living conditions namely considerably complicate the education of children who without qualification become unemployed and dependent on state welfare.

CTK
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