As a group of experts in ethnic issues prepares next week to descend on the city of Kosice, the European Capital of Culture 2013, to discuss Roma issues, the timing could not be more ripe after a British tabloid newspaper published an article about the living conditions at the infamous Linuk IX ghetto estate in the city.
The representatives of some 13 countries are meeting as part of the conference entitled European Citizenship and Ethnic Minorities: The Integration of the Roma into Society, with the city of Kosice a prime location for the subject matter. The conference was set up by the religious charity organisation SKCH and funded by the European Union, TASR newswire reports, with the aim being for the experts in Roma issues to interchange their experiences and ideas.
The conference will take place right after the regional elections set for this Saturday, with volunteers at the polls being instructed also to watch out for potential vote-buying, as it is a well-known fact that Roma votes can often be bought, either for money, food or future promises. Due to the extreme poverty that many Roma in the country suffer, these votes come cheap.
In the meantime, The DailyMail in Britain published an article showing the conditions at the neglected housing estate Linuk IX this week, painting a very unflattering picture of the city while grieving that the city had received some GBP 51 million in preparation as Capital of Culture. The photographs used in the article were older from some archives and nobody from Kosice City Hall or the housing estate were apparently approached about any of the details.