Opposition Jobbik party has vowed to seek out “responsible” Roma leaders with whom it said it hoped to work on helping the community to catch up with the mainstream.
Jobbik lawmaker György Szilágyi told a news conference on Thursday that the “mafia government” was enabling Roma organisations to operate in “mafia ways”.
The opposition MP was reacting to news that the National Roma Self-Government (ÖRO) was beset by a debt of almost one billion forints (EUR 3.2m) and was seeking extra state aid.
Szilágyi accused the Roma political Lungo Drom party leader, Flórián Farkas, of being “a criminal”.
Jobbik, he added, would eschew the Roma policies of the ruling Fidesz party, which he branded as “racist” because Fidesz and Farkas merely connived on ways to buy Roma votes as cheaply as possible.
Lungo Drom representative Oszkár Lakatos told a press conference today that the current financial troubles of ORO result from the period when Farkas was the head of the organisation. ÖRO has debts of around 840 million forints, he said. Farkas “burdened” ORO with 2.5 billion forints of spending and the organisation is still being sent notices about repayment obligations for goods and services it had not even been aware of.
Lakatos said ÖRO’s current head, János Balogh, briefed the organisation’s representatives about its financial situation, saying he had asked for financial help from Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, government office chief János Lázár and Zoltán Balog, the human resources minister. In order to reduce the debts, ORO plans to sell its remaining properties left over from a scheme dubbed “Bridge to the World of Work”. Lakatos added that ÖRO has unpaid arrears of 73 million forints owed to a company that supplied tablets to the organisation, and if ÖRO’s accounts are frozen because of this, then it will become practically insolvent.
In response to a question, he confirmed that investigators on Tuesday seized documents for 2016 in ÖRO’s Budapest headquarters.