Hungarian and European Organisations Protest Against the Use of EU Structural Funds in Hungary

Friday, October 9, 2009. An Open Letter, signed by Hungarian and European human rights and disability organisations, was today sent to Hungary's Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai and the Minister of Social Affairs László Herczog. The letter protests against the Hungarian Government's proposals - Measures 3.4.1 and 3.4.2 of the Social Infrastructure Operational Programme - that will permit the building and refurbishment of institutions for people with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems using EU Structural Funds.

Currently about 16,000 people with intellectual disabilities and 8,000 people with mental health problems are segregated in large institutions in Hungary. The letter urges the Hungarian Government to reconsider its plans to invest in institutions and commit the available funding to the development of community-based services and de-institutionalisation.

Copies of the Open Letter were sent to the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Vladimir Spidla, the relevant officials at the Directorate General Regional Policy and the Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, and a number of MEPs. The European Commission was asked to revise the rules on the use of the Structural Funds and to fully support community living of people with disabilities.