Kósáné Kovács Magda - Pető Andrea (szerk.): Balance Sheet. Disadvantaged Social Groups in Hungary in 2007 (Budapest, 2007)

Balance Sheet DISADVANTAGED SOCIAL GROUPS IN HUNGARY IN 2OO7 Edited by Magda Kosa Kovács and Andrea Pető The European Union creates countless new oppor­tunities for its citizens. Even so, we should acknow­ledge that European integration provides greater number of new opportunities to those people who already have more opportunities. We are pleased that we can travel more easily and we can work in an in­creasing number of member states, but the most disadvantaged people don’t speak a foreign language and therefore they are unable to work abroad. We are pleased that a growing number of Hungarian students can study at foreign universities, but the Hungarian education system still not only repro­duces but also reinforces social differences. Thus, disadvantaged young people do not have the same opportunity to attend university, still less to take part in costly study programmes abroad. By means of higher economic growth, the benefits of integration will also help disadvantaged social groups in the long term. But this will not be enough to create equal opportunities. We know that 16 percent of Europe’s citizens are at risk of poverty and marginalisation. In light of this, we should work to ensure that the European Union becomes a Europe of opportunities for all. The European Year of Equal Opportunities for All is clearly not a panacea, but it does focus attention on the problems we are facing. There is a great need for a heightened public awareness. For this reason, I welcome Magda Kosa Kovács’s book, which draws attention to the issues and tasks we are facing. The book not only presents the various dis­advantaged social groups, but also makes their voices heard. This both enhances the authenticity of the ac­count and brings us closer to the roots of the problem. Zita Gurmai MEP, Vice-President of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality President of PES Women 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All