Premier: €50 million from EU Funds Will Support Roma Patrols in Villages

Premier: €50 million from EU Funds Will Support Roma Patrols in Villages
From left, Prime Minister Ludovit Odor, Government Proxy for Roma Communities Jan Hero and Investments Minister Peter Balik at a press conference in Bratislava on July 3, 2023 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 3 (TASR) - A total of €50 million from EU funds will be spent to support Roma patrols in villages, Prime Minister Ludovit Odor and Investments Minister Peter Balik told a press conference on Monday.
       According to Odor, Roma patrols effectively maintain public order and are respected in villages. "Prevention is always better than repression, and it is these civil patrols that can maintain order without violence and any more serious problems. They are a kind of extended arms of the police and rescue services," said the premier.
       The main goal of the Roma patrols is to improve the environment in municipalities with marginalised Roma communities, to support local development, to maintain public order and to protect life, health and property through information-preventive activities, stated Government Proxy for Roma Communities Jan Hero, adding that there has been a great deal of demand for the patrols to be continued.
       "Members of the patrols have an obligation to educate themselves in the areas in which they will operate. Within the community, members of the patrols act as role models, and that is why we consider this to be extremely important," said the proxy.
       The conditions of the call are based on previous projects and the requirements of local governments. Eligible to apply are all municipalities with Roma communities that are listed in the Roma Communities Atlas as of 2019 and have at least 80 Roma residents.
       The mayor of the notoriously poor Roma borough of Lunik IX in Kosice, Marcel Sana, called the project of Roma patrols a success. "After we started operating in Lunik, the security situation improved rapidly, the state police also confirmed it to us. We addressed the attendance of children to school, which was very bad. The whole situation was improving," pointed out Sana.
       In total, €900 million is to be allocated from EU funds for the integration of marginalised Roma communities, said Balik. In this context, according to him, it's important that they set up the functioning of the office of the proxy for Roma communities correctly and that it can distribute the funds.
       The Roma patrols operated in more than 250 municipalities and created over 1,400 jobs, 93 percent of which were occupied by the Roma.