Increasing activity of extremist political parties and politicians
5 May 2011
Extremist political parties and politicians have sharpened their anti-Romani rhetoric and actions in many EU countries. In Hungary, the Magyar Garda (banned in 2009), Szebb Jövőért Polgárőr Egyesület and related organisations engaging in paramilitary activities with an explicit racist agenda continue to operate openly. In Gyöngyöspata the groups patrolled a Romani neighbourhood for 16 days in March 2011, intimidating and harassing Romani residents. Jobbik, an extremist party with an explicit anti-Romani platform, won four seats in European Parliament elections in 2009 and 47 seats (17% of the vote) in national elections in 2010. In Italy, the Government has continued to use anti-Romani rhetoric to harden public opinion against Roma and Sinti and has moved aggressively to evict Roma from their homes and herd them into controlled camps. In Slovakia in 2010, the far-right Ludova Strana Nase Slovensko has been increasingly active with rhetoric specifically referring to "Gypsy criminality." In the Czech Republic, the far right Workers Party and its successor the Workers Party of Social Justice have organised high profile rallies which have attracted neo-Nazis and sparked violent clashes. The Czech National Party ran advertisements for the European Parliament election in 2009 calling for a “final solution to the Gypsy problem”. In February 2010 the Romanian Foreign Minister made public statements suggesting that Roma are genetically predisposed to criminality and media reported that the President defended the Minister. Romanian MPs also attempted to officially change the name of Roma to “Gypsies” to avoid confusion with “Romanians”. During the media frenzy surrounding the expulsion of Roma from France, the Bulgarian Prime Minister and the Romanian President erroneously referred to the Roma as nomads.