Interior Minister Discusses Roma Issues in Međimurje

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 4, 2019 – Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Tuesday held a meeting with county and municipal heads and ethnic Roma representatives in Međimurje County following a recent rally at which about 1,000 people gathered to raise public awareness of what they labelled irresponsible, dangerous and criminal behaviour in their community, pointing the finger at state institutions which, they said, had failed with regard to the local Roma community.

“Only when we define the problem together with all its aspects, we can seek right solutions,” said Božinović today and insisted that education is the key to making efforts aimed at Roma integration successful.

If a mere four out of 318 secondary school students (of the Roma background) manage to finish school, then something is seriously wrong, he explained. By dropping out of the school young people are disadvantaged on the labour market and that needs to be solved, Božinović said. Occupations which Roma members traditionally pursue are not competitive in the 21st century, he said.

During his visit to Čakovec he said that additional staff would be added to the local law enforcement authorities, and also promised stepping up inter-departmental coordination and cooperation with the county and municipalities concerned. Thus, a higher number of community police officers is expected.

County Prefect Matija Posavec said he expected the local social welfare services to be sufficiently staffed so that they can check how welfare vouchers are spent. Posavec expects the education and justice ministries to be more engaged in solving the problems.

The deputy head of Pribislavec municipality from the Roma minority, Željko Balog, reiterated his criticism of the work of ethnic Roma parliamentary deputy, Veljko Kajtazi in the parliament. He said that Kajtazi cannot represent Međimurje Roma as he does not understand them.

The parliamentary deputy of the Roma ethnic minority, Veljko Kajtazi on Tuesday said that he was surprised that ministers were going to visit Međimurje and the Roma community in Pribislavec without being accompanied by him, as he represents the minority and when asked why he was supporting the government, Kajtazi said, “now we’ll see about that.”

“I’m surprised that all the ministers are going to Međimurje, to the Roma community without a Member of Parliament, we could say that was sad,” Kajtazi told reporters ahead of a meeting of ruling coalition partners when asked for his opinion of Interior Minister Davor Božinović’s visit to Međimurje just three days after a protest was held there.

He said that it was true that after President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović had relocated her office to Međimurje County, she sent a memorandum about the situation and the problems surrounding the minority however the government has still not responded.

“That’s correct, but I also know that 90% of the population in Međimurje voted for the president. I recall that; however, I cannot remember the president having invited the Member of Parliament to come to Međimurje,” Kajtazi said.

More news about the Roma in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.


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