Human resources minister surprised by EC infringement procedure over school segregation of Roma children
Budapest (MTI) – The human resources minister said in a letter to European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans that he was surprised that the EC had launched an infringement procedure against Hungary over the segregation of Roma schoolchildren.
Zoltán Balog said in the letter that over the past year-and-a-half Hungary has demonstrated on multiple occasions that it is committed to addressing the commission’s concerns.
The minister said he had earlier briefed both Timmermans and EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova about the government’s planned amendments to a 2003 law on equal treatment and the promotion of equal opportunities, in order to avoid any misinterpretation of the bill on the EU’s part.
Balog said that at an earlier meeting with Timmermans, he and the state secretary for education personally gave the vice-president a detailed presentation about the bill and reassured him that they would be open to further expert consultations on the matter. They also presented planned anti-segregation measures designed to provide Roma children access to quality education.
The minister said Hungary would look into the EC’s concerns and send an official reply within 60 days, in line with EU rules. He expressed hope that the government’s reply would dispel the EC’s doubts about Hungary’s commitment to Roma integration.
The EC announced the launch of the infringement procedure on Thursday.