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The European Commission launches new procedures against Hungary

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Hungary – The European Commission launched new infringement procedures against Hungary, the first one for the restrictions on farmland land and the second about the segregation of Roma children at school.

According to the Commission, “Hungary has a very restrictive system which imposes a complete ban on the acquisition of land by legal entities and an obligation on the buyer to farm the land himself”. The regulations as regards the purchase of farmland “must be proportionate and cannot be discriminatory towards other EU citizens”. The Commission formally asked Hungary to amend legislation, with an infringement procedure launched a little more than a year ago. Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia also received reasoned opinions about their regulations on farmlands.

Hungary also received a warning because she is accused of “segregation of the Roma children at school”. The government is called to apply the directives of the European Union about racial equality, declared the spokesman of the Commission Christian Wigand. In a statement, the EC said that Roma children are placed in disproportionate numbers in the classes for children with special needs. Always in this statement, the CE specifies that the purpose of the procedure is to make sure that Roma children take part in highquality education in the same way as the others, what will be determining for their future and is necessary for the social integration of the Roma population.

János Lázár, the Minister heading Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Office said that the government was ready to discuss with the European Commission on how to give children the best chance to integrate. About this he added that Brussels must first familiarise itself with the current programmes in Hungary, that have been declared exemplary in the European Union. Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog made efforts to clarify the situation in person in Brussels last week. “At this point in time, we do not understand what the European Commission’s specific problem is”, Lázár said, after announcing that the procedure was absurd because the Hungarian State does not keep records of any child’s origin. “I have no idea how the European Commission knows which child is Roma and which child is not” as it is forbidden to keep such records under the laws of Hungary, he said.