A confirmation that Slovak Roma only receive a small part of the country’s social welfare

By • on May 22, 2013

The World Bank and the Slovak Social Insurance have issued a 2013 report on the demographics of state aid beneficiaries. Although most people would point out the Roma as most likely social group to receive welfare, the analysis proved that 25-year-old people are actually the most numerous of this kind .

Many of them are university graduates receiving social scholarships. Another sizable group consists of retired people, which is logical given that the population is getting older. Sadly enough, the study also shows that the retirees outnumber the people who are economically productive.

What is the percentage of Roma on welfare then? The World Bank and the Social Insurance Company talk about an insignificant 3 percent. Even more, only 18.25 percent of the entire national budget is assigned for social benefits.

For a better picture, let’s convert this percentage into actual money. In 2010, the state paid 280 millions of Euro on welfare and only 7 millions for Roma settlements.

The current study officially proves that only a fraction of the budget goes to Roma settlements and communities. As you can see, the biggest group of beneficiaries are not not Roma. After all, 7 millions Euro per year is a laughable sum.

But who should we point at now? Who should we blame for gold-digging in the state coffers? Pensioners? Absolutely not! They worked hard all their lives. Students? Of course not! They study and end without jobs. Roma? The above mentioned numbers convince us that they are blameless. Furthermore, a majority of them live in settlements, on the brink of poverty. Almost nobody is willing to give them work, which makes them unable to embetter their situation. There is so little work out there that only a few non-Roma normally get it. Roma rarely get work offers, and if they do, it is often for short-term, black market job paid in cash. Some leave the country, although not many have this possibility.

Let’s imagine that there is a limited number of jobs. If we talk about unemployment only in the context of the Roma community, the rate is undoubtedly high. For example, if out of 100 Roma, 90 are unemployed, they are still not the major beneficiary group. Let’s say there are 300 non-Roma inhabitants living in Slovakia, and 150 of them are unemployed. It is clear that the number of unemployed constitutes the majority.

Slovakia is Slovakia because its majority population is Slovak. It is not the “Roma” state inhabited by Roma. The Roma minority cannot become a majority, this is an irreversible fact. Roma could be the unemployed majority only if a fraction of non-Roma was jobless, but the reality is different. Today, when even the European Union is in crisis, it is nonsense to blame the unemployed Roma for Slovakia’s economic difficulties. As the survey clearly stated, there is not enough work for the educated, so definitely not enough for the Roma.

I recently came across a Facebook statement coming from a non-Roma woman. She proclaimed that, from her point of a view, Roma who are educated or work do not exist. The notion was sci-fi for her. She was born into a white, working class family, and Roma never did anything except receive social benefits according to her. No argument from the discussion that followed managed to influence her statement.

In fact, how can you explain or convince a prejudiced and brainwashed person? I fear that not even this study, which is backed-up by numbers, will convince people that Roma are not gold diggers living on welfare. People who are part of the majority will keep criticizing, abusing and swearing. We can ignore them, but their hatred towards Roma cannot be halted. However, I do rely on the support of open-minded people, hoping they will outnumber those thinking that the darker colored skin should be blamed for everything happening around us.