Dear President Juncker,
Since 2010, the Hungarian Government has introduced measures in the field of education which contradict previous legislation and initiatives aimed at fighting discrimination and promoting equal opportunity. The groups that are negatively affected by these measures are children from disadvantageous backgrounds mainly Roma. Court cases, statistical data, studies from various sources and feedback from parents prove direct or indirect discrimination is occurring in Hungary today on a daily basis.
Every year the Hungarian Government on an annual basis continues to decrease the ratio of GDP spent on education. Moreover even the money that is allocated for education is spent in a way which increases disadvantages instead of reducing them as correlated by PISA results. The majority of academic research also clearly points to the failure of the Hungarian educational system and inequality for poor educational results of Roma children. In the last years, legislation (amongst others reducing the compulsory school age from 18 to 16, changing the regulations on the definition of disadvantaged children and introducing so called Bridge-classes that allow youth leaving compulsory education without formal education) as well as many court cases prove clearly that the Hungarian Government, despite their official statements, has no intention to fight and eliminate segregation.
Although the European Commission has been monitoring the segregation of Roma children in education for a long time within the framework of an EU pilot, it has failed, as of now, to send a clear signal to the Hungarian government to change direction and practices in its educational system.
Therefore we urge the European Commission to consider our request to take action and open an infringement procedure against Hungary on educational segregation. Facts are on the table that clearly motivates such action. Failure to act and continued provision of structural funds to Hungary, which have been misused to discriminate and segregate Roma children, could otherwise lead to allegations that the European Commission indirectly supports Hungarian education policy. We also believe that the failure to act on this issue or other forms of discrimination against the 10-12million Roma living in Europe sends the wrong signal and hinders the fight against discrimination in general and anti-Gypsyism, the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies, the Council Recommendation and European Union 2020 targets.
Given the length it takes to go through the infringement procedure, we ask you to take action immediately to prevent more Roma children leaving school without receiving a formal education. We would also like the European Commission to give an urgent explanation for the limited action to date on this issue.
We look forward to receiving your reply.
Benedek Jávor MEP
Member of ARDI
Soraya Post MEP
Co-President of ARDI
Barbara Spinelli MEP
Member of ARDI
Fredrick Federley MEP
Laura Ferrara MEP