European Commission targets school segregation of Roma children in Hungary with launch of infringement procedure
The European Commission announced today that it will be launching an infringement procedure against Hungary for on-going discrimination against Roma children in schools. The aim of the Commission’s decision to launch an infringement procedure is to ensure that Hungary will implement a solution to rectify the suspected violation of EU law.
The focus of the Commission on school segregation in Hungary comes after reports by civil society organisations detailing cases of segregation of Roma children in schools. The segregation of Roma children in schools is a clear violation of Hungarian and EU law on non-discrimination as well as of national and European Court of Human Rights judgements which have previously ruled segregations to be unlawful.
The infringement procedure itself comes after the informal structured dialogue where Hungary failed to convince the Commission with factual or legal information of compliance with EU law. Under the infringement procedure, the Commission can undertake a number of steps if Hungary fails to address segregation, including referring Hungary to the European Court of Justice.
Soraya Post, Co-President of ARDI and Chair of ARDI’ Anti-Gypsyism Working Group, said: “The right to education and non-discrimination are human rights. I am therefore pleased that the European Commission has decided to take action against Hungary on the issue of school segregation of Roma children. Whilst I am pleased that the Commission is restating the principles that all persons have equal rights and shall be treated equally with the launch of the infringement procedure, I find it deplorable and completely unacceptable that a Member State of the European Union still fails to uphold these principles in 2016.”
Benedek Javor, ARDI member and coordinator of the Greens/EFA Roma Working Group commented: “This is an extremely timely decision given the deep crisis in the Hungarian education system and that Roma continue to be victims of anti-Gypsyism and still face discrimination not only in the field of education but employment, housing, health care and democratic participation in Hungary and other Member States. I believe that the Commission must take urgent action in all cases and launch infringement procedures in all those cases if the there is no action from the national partners to fight discrimination.“