ORÖ goes belly-up, Farkas incorporates new Roma integration organization

June 29, 2017

A brotherhood of thieves?  János Lázár, Viktor Orbán, Florián Farkas, Zoltán Balog

The Countrywide Roma Self-Government (ORÖ) is declaring bankruptcy, reports Romnet, a news outlet covering Roma issues, citing several representatives within the organization.

According to Romnet, an independent audit of the organization’s 2016 financials found improprieties so great that the ORÖ is now unable to continue operating.

The debts accumulated by the organization can be largely attributed to the failed “Bridge to Employment” program, in which roughly HUF 1.6 billion (USD 5.7 million) in public funds were expended without the project accomplishing anything.

In 2016, the government forgave HUF 1.3 billion (USD 4.6 million) of this debt, on grounds that the remainder debt was repaid by the end of 2017.

According to Romnet, ORÖ has debts totalling about HUF 930 million (USD 3.4 million).

The organization will host a press conference this week to announce the bankruptcy.

ORÖ had been led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Commissioner for Roma-issues, Flórián Farkas (above center), during this tumultuous period, until forced out by the organization.

Last week, it was reported that Farkas has founded a new countrywide Roma organization, the Countrywide Roma Integration Association, a move that would once again put him in a position to distribute public funds designated for Roma integration.

Despite Farkas’ leadership in the scandal-ridden ORÖ, he continues to enjoy the full support of Orbán, both as a Fidesz MP and Government Commissioner for Roma Affairs.