The mayor of a small village in Southwest Hungary with a majority Roma population expressed the opinion that no Roma self-governments were needed in Hungary due to their inclining towards corruption. László Bogdán told Hungarian journalists in Brussels at a forum that the self-governments “mired in favouritism” only hurt the reputation of the Roma community.
The village of Cserdi has a population of 426 and the mayor’s employment-boosting scheme has been seen as something of a “miracle” in Hungary. The jobless rate in the village was reduced from 98% to 5-6% thanks to the mayor’s crime-fighting projects which involved unusual methods. Bogdán visited families, talked to local Roma youth about crime and organised an organic farm where locals could engage in fostered work.
The miracle of Cserdi is no miracle. Please do not be amazed that we can work with a shovel and a hoe,” he said at a briefing of officials of the European Commission’s social affairs and employment commission. Bogdán said people should not be afraid of issues concerning the Roma, but see it is as a set of tasks rather than a problem. He spoke out against positive discrimination, which, in his view, only raises negative feelings towards its beneficiaries.
István Ujhelyi, an MEP for the Socialists who had invited Bogdán to speak in Brussels, said he would employ the mayor as a consultant for creating a European Roma framework strategy.