Slovakia's prime minister said on Monday children of the European Union member's large Roma minority "must be taken" from their impoverished settlements and put into boarding schools to hasten integration.
Robert Fico's comments follow last week's criticism from U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who rapped the Slovaks and their Czech neighbours for a worsening situation in the treatment of their Roma, sometimes known as gypsies.
With his SMER party leading opinion polls ahead of a June general election, the leftist prime minister said the schools were the only way to break a cycle of exclusion in which most Roma grow up without any hope of joining mainstream society.
"The (next) government's agenda must include a programme designed to gradually put as many Roma children as possible into boarding schools and gradually separate them from the life they live in their settlements," Fico said.
"It seems that there is no other system. Many things have been tried... If we don't do it, we will raise another generation of Roma which will not be able to integrate."
Slovak deputy Prime Minister for minority issues Dusan Caplovic said the plan had received preliminary approval from top Roma officials and children would only attend boarding schools if their parents agree.
The financial crisis has raised concern over a potential rise in intolerance and discrimination across Europe as economic hardship increases social tension and could embolden radical groups such as Hungary's anti-Roma, far-right Jobbik party.
Up to around 10 percent of Slovakia's 5.4 million people are Roma. Most live on the margins of society in squalid settlements with limited access to education, electricity and running water. In many communities, unemployment runs at well over 50 percent.
Violence is also a problem. Last year, Slovakia faced criticism after a video showed police abusing a group of Roma boys, while in 2008 a court sentenced two officers for beating a Roma man to death at a police station in 2001.
Fico said he expected the proposal to draw criticism from human rights groups and Ivan Ivanov, Executive Director of the European Roma Information Office in Brussels reacted cautiously to the plan.
But Ivanov said if it meant Roma children would attend Roma-exclusive boarding schools, and not regular Slovak schools, it went against the principles of the European Union.
"If this is what they say, this is a very bad development," Ivanov said. "This is against all principles of the European Union because we are talking about desegregation, about the integration of this Roma community."
European Commission nominated to represent EU in Brexit talks; negotiations expected to begin after UK election on June 8
Before his election on May 7, Macron had spoken in favour of cancelling part of Greece's debt mountain, equivalent to 180 percent of annual output, to give the country a chance to recover from its economic depression.
Young Tunisians continue to stage demonstrations near country’s southern oilfields to demand more job opportunities
Turkey is strategic partner of Georgia, Defense Minister Levan Izoria says ahead of trilateral summit in Batumi city
Street protests called by leftist groups around the country also appeared to have had only a modest impact, further easing the sense of intense crisis for the center-right president.
A crowd estimated at 10,000 people by local media waved European Union flags and chanted "Democracy! Freedom for Hungary!" as they made their way toward the parliament building, escorted by police cars.
"I hope first of all that asylum seekers and refugees can be taken out of detention centres," UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said after visiting one centre in the Libyan capital.
In a highly anticipated speech to dozens of leaders of Muslim countries in Saudi Arabia, Trump lashed out at Iran and softened his tone on Islam by rejecting the idea of a battle between religions.
Barnier will lock horns with Britain's Brexit minister David Davis who has predicted "the talks will be tough and at times even confrontational," despite a mutual desire for good future ties.
Trump's visit is part of his first trip abroad as president and follows an initial stop in Saudi Arabia, where he urged Islamic leaders to take a stand against violence committed in the name of religion.
The bus was carrying members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church returning from a retreat in the Pacific coast town of Pijijiapan, local police said.
Ministers from the 19-member single currency bloc must confront the sensitive topic at talks in Brussels after Greek lawmakers fulfilled the eurozone's latest demands for painful reforms in a vote last Thursday.
Disasters displaced three times more people than conflicts, with most of the 24 million people affected hit by sudden-onset weather hazards such as floods, storms, wildfires and severe winter conditions.
Soldiers from Angola who were hired by the South African government during the apartheid-era to fight communism across southern Africa, including in Namibia and Zambia now face ebilitating conditions
Pedro Sanchez to helm divided PSOE, threatening conservative minority government