Restoring trust between Roma and non-Roma people is a goal of Hungary’s nation strategy, and culture and the arts play an essential role in this, the Minister of State for Social Affairs and Social Inclusion stressed on Wednesday in Koroncó in Győr-Moson-Sopron County.

At the opening event of the Czinka Panna Roma Cultural Association’s series of events implemented from EU funding worth HUF 50 million Károly Czibere said Roma and non-Roma people may have a genuine chance of living side by side and together if “they can lay down” the foundations of a common path which is based on dialogue, trust, inclusion and cooperation.

In order to promote this process the government has launched calls for proposals from local and EU funding. The initial allocation of HUF 1 billion has more than doubled to HUF 2.2 billion in the case of EU calls for proposals due to the interest shown by stakeholders. Thirty-three applications have been awarded funding to date, each applicant receiving grants worth HUF 30 to 50 million.

The government has a “special responsibility” for exploring and making accessible the treasures of Roma culture, and is making every effort to integrate these resources into the knowledge and future of young people, the Minister of State stressed. He added this guarantees that a Hungary is being built which serves as “a cohesive force” for both Roma and non-Roma people from the respect of Hungary’s nation strategy.

László Jakus, President of the Czinka Panna Roma Cultural Association told the Hungarian news agency MTI that from the HUF 50 million which the Association had been awarded in the call for proposals entitled Our Common Values they will showcase Roma cultural values, inter alia, in clubs whose mission it is to preserve traditions, thereby promoting the social integration of Roma in Hungary.

As part of the project, they will hold weekly workshops with a view to the preservation of traditions, arrange exhibitions and organise a history conference on the occasion of the Memorial Day of the Roma Holocaust. They will organise annual workshops for experts dealing with Roma people.

The programme will cover nine settlements. In the Koroncó community service centre an exhibition featuring the paintings of Roma painter József Ferkovics was opened and a fine arts workshop was organised for children.