Three officially recognized ethnic minorities live in the country: Roma (estimated at 7,000 to 12,000), Hungarians (approximately 8,000), and Italians (population approximately 4,000).
Discrimination against socially marginalized Roma persisted in some parts of the country. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community noted that Roma continued to face difficulties securing adequate housing in traditional housing markets. Many Roma lived apart from other communities in illegal settlements lacking basic utilities, such as electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation. Government officials emphasized that the illegality of settlements remained the biggest obstacle to providing Roma access to adequate housing, water, and sanitation. Under the law only owners or persons with another legal claim to land, such as legal tenants, may obtain public services and infrastructure, such as water, electricity, and sanitation.
Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community and officials employed in schools with large Romani student populations unofficially reported high illiteracy rates among Roma remained a problem. While education for children is compulsory through grade nine, school attendance and completion rates by Romani children remained low.
Although segregated classrooms are illegal, a number of Roma reported to NGOs that their children attended segregated classes and that school authorities selected them disproportionately to attend classes for students with special needs.
NGOs and community group representatives reported some prejudice, ignorance, and false stereotypes of Roma persisted within society, propagated largely through public discourse.
The government continued to implement a project to provide drinking water (via cisterns) to three Romani settlements, providing a temporary solution to a systemic problem. A government-established commission to safeguard Roma continued to function. The commission included representatives from the Romani community, municipalities, and the government.
In June the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities announced a public tender of 1.68 million euros (two million dollars) to establish multipurpose Roma Centers to strengthen the socioeconomic status of Romani community members.
Representatives of the Romani community participated in a program, which improved communication between police and individual Roma.
The government supported a project that trained 12 Romani health coordinators and undertook to cofinance health-care programs for Romani women, children, and youth.
The government supported a financial literacy project, funding 26 Romani educators to work with teachers and parents. According to the ministry, these educators had a positive effect on helping Romani children stay in school.