Some would say that the system recently conjured up by the Ministry of Labour that grants special points payment cards to poor Roma and other families instead of cash social allowances was always fated to cause trouble.
Roma communities that were to be affected made their dissatisfaction known as soon as the system was announced, and now the Roma Union Party (SRU) claims that the cards will provoke a rise in criminality among the Roma. Speaking to TASR newswire, head of the SRU Frantisek Tonko says the government is going about Roma issues the wrong way.
Tonko believes the hardline steps adopted by the government are degrading for the Roma minority, and that they also would like to be of benefit to society instead of just being shunned to the sidelines. He thinks the government is making the social exclusion of the Roma even more exaggerated by handing out the so-called E-pay cards.
Tonko therefore believes that the cards will just cause more criminality among the Roma as they become even more desperate, saying “a hungry person is a dangerous person”. In his opinion, the whole system has not been properly thought out and will have dire consequences.
The system will mostly affect Roma families because they make up a high percentage of the 180,000 or so people living under the poverty line who are completely dependent on state welfare. The e-pay cards, which can be used to buy food, clothes and other essentials, should replace the social benefits system starting this summer.