The European Commission has withdrawn more than 1.7 billion Ft. (US $5.39 million) in EU aid because a social urban rehabilitation project proposed by the City of Nyíregyháza wanted to deal with its segregation problems by moving people from one Roma-majority settlement to another, writes 444.
The municipality of the northeastern Hungarian city won the grant in 2017, moving more than 200 families living in poor housing conditions from a segregated area called Eastern Settlement to another segregated area called Huszár Settlement. Apartments in Huszár were renovated for this purpose, allowing around 40-60 families to move there.
László Glonczi, vice-president of the local Roma self-government and president of the National Association of Disadvantaged Families, lodged a complaint with the EU body, which found after a review that the grant money was used to maintain a segregated situation at both residential and educational levels, and so was contrary to fundamental EU values and the intended use of the money.
The Huszár Settlement is also home to a parochial school that caused the European Commission to launch an infringement procedure against Hungary in 2016 due to its segregated nature. According to László Glonczi, this was important because many children who had attended integrated public schools before the move were unenrolled and had to attend a school in Huszár where Roma were a majority of the students.
The European Commission has asked the Hungarian authorities and the local municipality to remedy the problem. László Glonczi believes that the body’s current decision may set a precedent for similar cases.
[Telex][Photo: Nyíregyházi Televízió]