Speaking to a group of students in Bratislava yesterday, Prime Minister Robert Fico made his intentions clear in respect of the problems of ethnic Roma in Slovakia, reiterating his earlier desire to get underprivileged Roma children into boarding schools.
Fico underlined the importance of education in changing the social situation of many Roma in the country, adding that the children should be taught a different way of life with school attendance and better awareness of hygiene. On the subject of putting deprived Roma children into boarding schools, Fico noted that this would require support from the international community, because that approach would be strongly attacked by human rights organisations.
The PM referred to the situation in Slovakia as “disastrous”, while criticising the simplicity with which certain human rights activists see the problem, adding that some basically “parasite” on it. The Roma population in Slovakia is estimated to be around 300,000- 400,000 but no reliable statistics are available. According to MP Igor Matovic from the OLaNO party, Slovakia has 450,000 Roma, which is approximately 1 in 10 citizens (compared to the likes of Poland, which Matovic claims has just 15,000 Roma, meaning 1 in 2,600 citizens).