Friday, December 26, 2008


The following was published in the newsletter of the European Roma Information Office.

Far-right groups across Europe could be gaining support as the financial meltdown continues

23/12/2008 - The warning comes at a time of increased racist violence and attacks on gypsy communities across Europe.

A far-right group called the Hungarian Guard, which has been accused of persecuting gypsies, says it will defy attempts to ban it, as governments become increasingly concerned at the rise of the right. It is feared that extremist parties could make significant gains in European elections next June, particularly in eastern European countries.

In an interview with Sky News, a senior member of Hungary's right-wing Jobbik party said the financial crisis was making people look to parties they might once have called extremist. Zsolt Varkonyi said: "They realise that they have been lied to by our leaders, our politicians, our economic experts, so perhaps it is time for them to listen to us.

Jobbik also defends its official links with Hungarian Guard. "It was formed because there is no security in Hungary for people in villages; they are robbed and they are killed. "Talking about the image is just scratching the surface. What they wear, how they look, it's not really important."

Hungary has been among the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis. The government was forced to turn to the international community for an emergency bail-out. Hungary has established its first national police force to deal specifically with crimes against the Roma gypsy community. Political analyst Krisztian Szabados told Sky News: "We expect that public support for right wing extremists, which has been around 1%, will rise to at least 7%. We expect violent clashes between right-wing extremists and the gypsy population."

There have also been significant increases in violent racist attacks reported in the Czech Republic and Italy

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